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Old 03-25-2011, 08:35 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness
The Sports Xchange
March 25, 2011
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/r...ggest-weakness

The Steelers haven't had a Pro-Bowl cornerback since Rod Woodson made it for the seventh time after the 1996 season. The only other cornerback to consistently make the Pro Bowl since the NFL merger in 1970 was Mel Blount, who made it for the fifth time after the 1981 season. J.T. Thomas made it once, after the 1976 season and that's it for Steelers Pro-Bowl cornerbacks.

They believe Ike Taylor is of that quality, but he's now 30 and he's an unrestricted free agent. Taylor wants to return and they want him to return but that remains to be seen. He has the size they prefer in their corners and he's also their best coverage man. He has good ball awareness but has no hands as his 11 interceptions in eight seasons will attest.

Even if Taylor does return, they need a cornerback badly. Bryant McFadden returned to start on the left side for them last season but he has severe shortcomings and was picked on aplenty, especially in the Super Bowl. William Gay lost his starting job from 2009 to play nickel last season and is below average. After that they have Keenan Lewis, a third-round draft pick in 2009 who has done little in two seasons. Crezdon Butler has some promise after playing sparingly as a rookie.

If Taylor signs elsewhere, the Steelers would be in dire straits at the position. Their whole defensive scheme relies on them getting pressure on the quarterback and they are among the best at it. It's why they succeed. But a quarterback with a quick release can kill them, as Tom Brady and Drew Brees did last season. An injury to Taylor would also be devastating.

So they need to draft a cornerback and that likely will be done in the first round this year. But who? Director of football operations Kevin Colbert says this draft is deep at the position and a good one should fall to them at No. 31.

The best might be Jimmy Smith of Colorado but the Steelers may already have taken him off their draft board because of character issues and what is seen as a poor attitude.

Patrick Peterson of LSU and Prince Amukamara of Nebraska will be long gone, probably in the top 10 for both.

That leaves Brandon Harris of Miami and Aaron Williams of Texas. Both have the qualities the Steelers covet in cornerbacks - good in coverage, good against the run. One may be drafted before the Steelers' turn at No. 31 but they're not both likely to go.

So, which one? Harris is the more physical of the two but they are both aggressive. Harris is a couple inches shorter at 5-10 but stockier and with excellent speed. The Steelers won't have to move up in the round to take one or the other and then they can get their offensive lineman in the second round and still have a third-rounder to perhaps go for another cornerback.

You can't have too many corners and the Steelers right now don't have enough.

Strategy And Personnel
The Sports Xchange
March 25, 2011

OTHER TEAM NEEDS

Offensive line: Pittsburgh will welcome back their two starting tackles they lost last season, Max Starks and Willie Colon. And Flozell Adams also will return. But they need a tackle, either on the right or the left, to prep for the 2012 season at the very least. Starks had neck surgery, Colon's Achilles was torn and Adams will be 36.

Defensive line: Even though they added DE Ziggy Hood on the first round in 2009, the Steelers need to keep stocking their line. End Brett Keisel will be 33 at the start of the season, end Aaron Smith is 35 and NT Casey Hampton turns 34 with backup NT Chris Hoke 35.

Wide receiver: Not really a need because they have Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and two promising rookies from last season in Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. But another first-class wide receiver would always be welcome and they would find room for him.

MEDICAL WATCH
No updates.

FRANCHISE PLAYER

--LB LaMarr Woodley (re-signed).

TRANSITION PLAYER
None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--LB LaMarr Woodley: FFA: 1 yr, terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED
None.

PLAYERS LOST
None.

Notes, Quotes
The Sports Xchange
March 25, 2011

--WR Hines Ward made his debut on "Dancing With the Stars" March 21, and TV ratings went through the roof in Pittsburgh.

The show was the most-watched program that evening in Pittsburgh, and the 29.2 (338,000 people) rating was more than double what viewership normally is.

At the league meeting the morning after Ward's debut, coach Mike Tomlin, said he didn't see the show but probably will. "If I'm home," he said. "I'm not a big television watcher. I don't even know what time it comes on. I got a few texts last night and that's the only reason that I knew it was on. I think everybody was pretty encouraging about his performance. They said he did a nice job but that doesn't surprise me.

"I'm a supporter of Hines. This guy's a competitor. Obviously he's got some free time. It's going to be entertaining if nothing else."

Asked if he would have a problem with Ward winning it all, which would keep him on the show until late May, Tomlin said, "Sure, as long as it doesn't conflict with what I've got going on. At this point it doesn't look like it's going to conflict with what I've got going on."

Can he win? "Man, I wouldn't count Hines out of any competition," Tomlin said. "If there was a brain surgery competition I'm sure he'd educate himself and compete."

When Tomlin was asked about the health of S Troy Polamalu, Tomlin said, "I haven't talked to Troy that much and that's not out of the ordinary this time of year. He might be in a monastery."

Told Poalmalu was tweeting about Ward, Tomlin reiterated, "He might be tweeting from a monastery."

--Burt Lauten, the team's No. 2 PR man, will serve as interim communications coordinator after Dave Lockett left the team after 13 seasons. Lauten is expected to get the job permanently.

--The Steelers plan no layoffs, no furloughs and no cuts in pay. Team president Art Rooney said the Steelers have instituted a "salary freeze" in the organization.

"We're going to take it a week at a time," Rooney said. "We're not planning any large-scale layoffs or furloughs. Hopefully, we won't get to that situation."

--Dan Rooney, Ambassador to Ireland, voiced his opposition to the proposed 18-game schedule last fall. In its last proposal, management took it off the table.

"On our side, that was a fairly major concession," Art Rooney said. "There were people on our side not happy about putting that offer off the table."

--Sharing a complex that works more like a duplex with Pitt can be advantageous for the Steelers at times like these. Each NFL team is permitted to have 30 draft prospects in for a visit but a rule allows teams to have players visit if they are in the same city and not count against that number.

On Tuesday, seven Pitt Panthers walked next door and met with Steelers coaches and scouts: Wide receiver Jon Baldwin, defensive ends Jabaal Sheard and Greg Romeus, fullback Henry Hynoski, running back Dion Lewis, offensive tackle Jason Pinkston and safety Dom DiCicco.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"I think defensively it generally starts with the men up front. I think you look at how players are drafted, it bears that out. Big people go first. If you're applying pressure to the quarterback, you don't have to cover. If you're stopping the run, you don't have to cover." - Coach Mike Tomlin on why cornerbacks rarely are selected with the first five picks in the draft.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

I'm on Brandon Harris's bandwagon, he may be short but most of the league's great corners to emerge in recent years have been (Revis, Brandon Flowers, Tramon Williams, Brent Grimes are all sub-6', and Revis is the only one above 5'10 at 5'11) so I wouldn't be too worried about that, I think while size helps it is not as important to the cornerback position as some tend to think. Harris is better in coverage than Aaron Williams and is better against the run and more physical too. Not to mention he lit it up in combine drills and apparently looked like "the best out there" to some people.
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

Cornerback Steelers weakness? Really? Water is wet too....
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

Any chance Donovan Warren provides the Steelers a pleasant surprise? I know he went undrafted last year and was cut by the Jets, but let's face it, the Jets are pretty good shape at the corner position. I know, living in lala land, but one can hope, right?
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhantomJB93 View Post
I'm on Brandon Harris's bandwagon, he may be short but most of the league's great corners to emerge in recent years have been (Revis, Brandon Flowers, Tramon Williams, Brent Grimes are all sub-6', and Revis is the only one above 5'10 at 5'11) so I wouldn't be too worried about that, I think while size helps it is not as important to the cornerback position as some tend to think. Harris is better in coverage than Aaron Williams and is better against the run and more physical too. Not to mention he lit it up in combine drills and apparently looked like "the best out there" to some people.
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

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Originally Posted by Navy86 View Post
Any chance Donovan Warren provides the Steelers a pleasant surprise? I know he went undrafted last year and was cut by the Jets, but let's face it, the Jets are pretty good shape at the corner position. I know, living in lala land, but one can hope, right?
He might turn out as a good free safety or nickel corner, but I wouldn't expect him to come out and provide us with starting cornerback talent.

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Old 03-26-2011, 03:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

This isn't news?

Has been our weakness for decades!
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

The Steelers need to rebuild......We need youth......Sorry geezers, its true....
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

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Cornerback Steelers weakness? Really? Water is wet too....
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Cornerback Steelers' biggest weakness

I like Davon House, Rashad Carmichael and Chykie Brown. I don't like any of the late 1st round guys. They are all reaches IMO.
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