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 Post subject: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Gentlemen (and ladies),

Let's ditch talk about "rebuilding" or "declining." You can argue about those two words, but in my view, neither is particularly apt. The front office is definitely not rebuilding this team. And half of one season and one game of another season is too small of a sample size to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers are declining. I'll stamp a different word on it -- this is a team in transition. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin are working to squeeze the last ounce of glory from the aging stars while incorporating talented young players. That's a tightrope, but it can be walked (see, e.g., the 2012 Baltimore Ravens). I'm not going to get into a protracted discussion (at least in this thread) about the coaching of one Todd Haley. I don't like him much, either, but he can be fired or he can improve. I'm more focused on the actual talent this team boasts.

What do the Steelers have? Well, let's see. Going by Mike Lombardi's blue chip/red chip metric (blue chip player = top 5-8 in league; red chip player = top 15-18 in league) and young guys that I think have blue or red chip ceilings, I believe the Steelers boast the following:

Blue Chips

QB -- Ben Roethlisberger (obviously)
C -- Maukice Pouncey (obviously)
TE -- Heath Miller (taking blocking & receiving into consideration, Heath's a no-doubt blue chipper)
ILB -- Lawrence Timmons (obviously)
OLB -- LaMarr Woodley (when in shape, as he appears to be this season)
SS -- Troy Polamalu (when healthy, I see 2013 and 2014 as his last two blue chip seasons)

Red Chips

RG -- David DeCastro (he has a blue chip ceiling)
WR -- Antonio Brown (quick, runs good routes, reliable hands)
DT -- Steve McLendon (some may argue, but his penetration ability is special)
DE -- Brett Keisel (still getting it done)
DE -- Ziggy Hood (getting better with reps, and now a red chip 3-4 defensive end)
FS -- Ryan Clark (reliable)
CB -- Ike Taylor (ditto)
CB -- Cortez Allen (another guy with a blue chip ceiling)

Young Players With Blue Chip Ceilings

LT -- Mike Adams (he has the talent, but can he master the technique?)
WR -- Markus Wheaton (with his speed and hands, he could be better than Wallace)
OLB -- Jarvis Jones (he could be blue chip by the end of this season)
DE -- Cameron Heyward (his talent is immense, though he's more likely to end up a red chipper)
SS -- Shamarko Thomas (speed, aggression, and a chance to be the next Bob Sanders)

Young Players With Red Chip Ceilings

RB -- Le'Veon Bell (good all-around back)
RT -- Marcus Gilbert (we need to see more from him)
WR -- Emmanuel Sanders (tough Week 1, but he has the talent)
ILB -- Vince Williams (I like what I've seen; he could end up being solid)
OLB -- Jason Worilds (he can rush, but he needs to anchor better)

That is not a team bereft of talented football players. It boasts experience and upside. Including David DeCastro and Cortez Allen (both already red chippers in my view), the Steelers have 7 young players with blue chip ceilings to go along with their 6 current blue chip players. This is not a team that needs to tear down the foundation. For 2013 and 2014, I believe the key positions where we need to see growth are offensive tackle (Adams and Gilbert need to reach their potential) and outside linebacker (getting a consistent pass rush will drastically improve the defense). If we see that, I believe the Steelers can reach the playoffs this year and next. And if you get in, well, you know, a "chip and a chair."


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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:28 pm 
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I like their upside as well.

What is not being discussed at all is how hard it is to transition to a new blocking scheme with new players. Couple that with the new "workplace" rules around practices and you have to be realistic that it is going to take about 1/2 a season to get comfortable with the techniques.

Interestingly, the Steelers' have replaced Pouncy with a center that rated ahead of him last year. One could argue they got better in simple performance terms.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:40 am 
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Well, just watching last night, JC, it seems to me that you get the optimism award for the board if you view this Steelers team as one in transition. They looked old and a step slow and I think the scoreline flattered to deceive. I notice that of all your blue chip and red chip players, only one was on the offensive line and he's gone. The did a little better, apparently, in the 4th quarter, but it never seemed to me like they were in control. I'm a UVa grad, so it'll be good to see Heath Miller back for you guys, but hoping for LaVeon Bell and Wheaton to save this team seems, well, hopeful.

Hey, I'm a Cowboys fan, and we're going to go nowhere this year, too. Only in my case, I get the perverse pleasure of seeing Jerry Jones squirm when we lose.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:34 pm 
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The offensive coaching is some of the worst I've ever seen. After the third-and-13 bubble screen last week and the end-around to Cotchery this week, I'm convinced that Todd Haley is betting on the opposing team...


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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:50 pm 
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This team is bad and I knew they would be bad. They just have not drafted well to replace the core that got them to three Super Bowls the past decade. The offensive line is four 1st or 2nd round draft picks and they all stink (except Pouncey who is always hurt). They have also made bad decisions like keeping Emanuel Sanders (who will be gone next year) and used that money to bring in a veteran linebacker. They also would have netted a third round pick.

The secondary had three players who have 10+ year in the league. They don't have a Jason Gildon or Greg Lloyd or James Harrison on this team and the pass rush has suffered.

It's going to take a massive rebuilding project, but guess what? If the Steelers don't start getting some draft picks right, we might be out of the playoffs for a long time.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:11 pm 
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On offense especially, they just don't have the talent. It's Ben and a bunch of mediocre guys in key positions.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:18 pm 
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Even the defense is bad...The numbers look good, but they are not getting pressure on the quarterback and are not getting turnovers. LeBeau is playing a bend, don't break defense because of the lack of talent and aging veterans on the field.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:24 pm 
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Yep, pass rush is the key to turnovers and therefore the key to defense.

What was that, 2011 when Harrison and Woodley both rang up a bunch of sacks? Seems like a long time ago now. Hopefully Jarvis Jones can make an impact.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:53 pm 
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Defense can't force turnovers. Offense can't stop making them.

DL doesn't open gaps for LBs to create pass rush.

OL doesn't hold blocks to keep pressure of BR7 or open running lanes.

The Steelers are losing the battle in the trenches and it's all downhill from there.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:02 pm 
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Let's see, lots of 1st and 2nd round picks on offensive and defensive lines since 2008, and (1) terrible OL this season and (2) poor DL, with the best player a 7th round pick from way-back-when.

Colbert and Tomlin have overseen the decline of talent on this roster. A serious decline. The Steelers are 0-3 for a reason, and I don't think it gets better until a better HC is hired.

Mike Tomlin will not kill a good team, but apart from rare occasions (Patsy game in 2011) has shown zero ability to get the most out of his talent.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:18 pm 
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The defense is fine. The offense, though, is not. I didn't think anyone could do worse than Arians, but I think Haley is proving me wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:38 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Let's see, lots of 1st and 2nd round picks on offensive and defensive lines since 2008, and (1) terrible OL this season and (2) poor DL, with the best player a 7th round pick from way-back-when.

Colbert and Tomlin have overseen the decline of talent on this roster. A serious decline. The Steelers are 0-3 for a reason, and I don't think it gets better until a better HC is hired.

Mike Tomlin will not kill a good team, but apart from rare occasions (Patsy game in 2011) has shown zero ability to get the most out of his talent.


I'm torn on Tomlin. He's a good coach, but you're right about him (questionable drafting and/or getting ability out of players).

Maybe this is his lull like Cowher had before 2003, but... not getting that warm and fuzzy.

He deserves one more year, because only poorly run franchises panic and fire a good coach after one bad season.

However, if he has lost the player's respect and/or confidence, he's done for. No use bringing him back.

This is no-man's land and it's where you never want a team to be.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:53 am 
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NSMaster56 wrote:
Bucfan wrote:
Let's see, lots of 1st and 2nd round picks on offensive and defensive lines since 2008, and (1) terrible OL this season and (2) poor DL, with the best player a 7th round pick from way-back-when.

Colbert and Tomlin have overseen the decline of talent on this roster. A serious decline. The Steelers are 0-3 for a reason, and I don't think it gets better until a better HC is hired.

Mike Tomlin will not kill a good team, but apart from rare occasions (Patsy game in 2011) has shown zero ability to get the most out of his talent.


I'm torn on Tomlin. He's a good coach, but you're right about him (questionable drafting and/or getting ability out of players).

Maybe this is his lull like Cowher had before 2003, but... not getting that warm and fuzzy.

He deserves one more year, because only poorly run franchises panic and fire a good coach after one bad season.

However, if he has lost the player's respect and/or confidence, he's done for. No use bringing him back.

This is no-man's land and it's where you never want a team to be.


Someone has to take the blame. Either Colbert or Tomlin. I like both of them, but they both have failed over the past couple seasons. Tomlin is in over his head with the Xs and Os. Colbert and his staff have drafted poorly over the past three seasons. Face it. They haven't replaced an extraordinary bunch that went to three Super Bowls. It's hard.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:56 am 
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RTJR wrote:
The defense is fine. The offense, though, is not. I didn't think anyone could do worse than Arians, but I think Haley is proving me wrong.


The defense is not fine. There is no pass rush. Woodley is turning out to be a bad signing. Jarvis Jones is TBD. They have no Gildon, Harrison or even Haggans. Their secondary is on the downside. Troy, Ryan and Ike have 10+ years in the league. Clark has missed more tackles this season than he did the previous nine. No 'splash' plays from this defense. They don't force turnovers. The defense has gone from one of the better ones to average at best. It's going to be a long season.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:12 pm 
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bucco boy wrote:
Someone has to take the blame. Either Colbert or Tomlin. I like both of them, but they both have failed over the past couple seasons. Tomlin is in over his head with the Xs and Os. Colbert and his staff have drafted poorly over the past three seasons. Face it. They haven't replaced an extraordinary bunch that went to three Super Bowls. It's hard.


Absolutely.

Haley would be the quickest and most apt firing.

After that though...?

Like I said, Tomlin shouldn't be fired unless he's 'lost' this team. Good coaches are hard to find and even Cowher had some bad years.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:18 pm 
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bucco boy wrote:
RTJR wrote:
The defense is fine. The offense, though, is not. I didn't think anyone could do worse than Arians, but I think Haley is proving me wrong.


The defense is not fine. There is no pass rush. Woodley is turning out to be a bad signing. Jarvis Jones is TBD. They have no Gildon, Harrison or even Haggans. Their secondary is on the downside. Troy, Ryan and Ike have 10+ years in the league. Clark has missed more tackles this season than he did the previous nine. No 'splash' plays from this defense. They don't force turnovers. The defense has gone from one of the better ones to average at best. It's going to be a long season.



They're #5 in total defense.

Woodley has 2 sacks in 3 games. He had 4 all last season. I think you need to give him some credit, he's in better shape this year and healthy.

The D is young-to-prime-aged in the front 7, aside from Keisel, who's rotated with Heyward and Hood anyway.

Troy, Clark, and Ike are on the older side, but Troy looks like he's 6 years younger so far this season. Whether he stays healthy is the big question, but until that's a concern, it's not a concern.

The one move this off-season that bothered me was letting go of Lewis. He was only signed for $1 million and the Steelers I don't think even offered.

At the end of the day, it's hard to say there's anything wrong with the pass defense when they're currently #3 in the league.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:14 pm 
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RTJR wrote:
bucco boy wrote:
RTJR wrote:
The defense is fine. The offense, though, is not. I didn't think anyone could do worse than Arians, but I think Haley is proving me wrong.


The defense is not fine. There is no pass rush. Woodley is turning out to be a bad signing. Jarvis Jones is TBD. They have no Gildon, Harrison or even Haggans. Their secondary is on the downside. Troy, Ryan and Ike have 10+ years in the league. Clark has missed more tackles this season than he did the previous nine. No 'splash' plays from this defense. They don't force turnovers. The defense has gone from one of the better ones to average at best. It's going to be a long season.



They're #5 in total defense.

Woodley has 2 sacks in 3 games. He had 4 all last season. I think you need to give him some credit, he's in better shape this year and healthy.

The D is young-to-prime-aged in the front 7, aside from Keisel, who's rotated with Heyward and Hood anyway.

Troy, Clark, and Ike are on the older side, but Troy looks like he's 6 years younger so far this season. Whether he stays healthy is the big question, but until that's a concern, it's not a concern.

The one move this off-season that bothered me was letting go of Lewis. He was only signed for $1 million and the Steelers I don't think even offered.

At the end of the day, it's hard to say there's anything wrong with the pass defense when they're currently #3 in the league.


That third in the league is in yardage which is not a great way to rate a defense. That #3 ratings comes against Jake Locker, Andy Dalton and Jay Cutler. What happens when they play against a Manning or Brees or Brady or any of the top 10 QBs in the league.

And I am judging this more on what I see on the field. Woodley might have two sacks, but that might be the only two times he has been near the QB all season. They have forced zero turnovers. Zero. That is ridiculous.

I will say this. Kiesel and Troy are playing lights out. The rest though have been garbage.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:46 pm 
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Their yardage numbers are covering up the fact they aren't getting turnovers. They are playing a bend don't break defense. It looks good on paper but it will catch up with them when your secondary is starting to shop around for NLF Old Folks Homes...

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:27 pm 
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nad69dan wrote:
Their yardage numbers are covering up the fact they aren't getting turnovers. They are playing a bend don't break defense.


All too true, but it would be acceptable if the O didn't make so many turnovers.

The Steelers would have at least one win if they weren't so dang sloppy.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pittsburgh Steelers
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:40 pm 
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The 2013 Steelers are the 1993 Pirates.

A franchise coming off a long span of success, but with aging or departing veteran talent being replaced by really questionable young talent.

James Harrison leaves, Jarvis Jones comes in. Massive decline.
Mike Wallace leaves, Emmanuel Sanders comes in. Massive decline.
Keenan Lewis leaves, Cortez Allen and William Gay come in. Massive decline.
Max Starks leaves, Mike Adams comes in. Massive decline.

Troy is getting near the end, as is Kiesel. When they go, this team is the 2010 Pirates, including the overmatched, unqualified coach ... but WITHOUT McCutchen, Alvarez, Marte, Walker, and Cole on the way and a wealth of young talent in the system to keep the talent level high.

I knew last year, watching a good team lose game after game to garbage, that the string had run out and that the franchise was in for a very bad and very long rebuild process.


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