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Author Topic: Faneca revisited  (Read 1220 times)
msdmnr2002
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« on: Oct 22, 2007 at 10:42 »

I realize this may be a done deal, he's leaving town, we can't/won't pay him what he wants, he will be overpaid by someone in the offseason, etc.

But what the hell will our Oline look like next year?  It's swiss cheese now on the pass rush, and say what you want about him, he's still our best overall lineman.

An organization gets in trouble by overpaying a player when they're desperate to fill a hole, so maybe it's best in the long run that he moves on.  However, unless they can find a big time FA to put on that line, or we get real lucky in the draft, we're going to have problems beyond '08.  And by lucky I mean picking up guys outside the first round that will far exceed expectations quickly.

The best answer may be tearing the whole thing down and rebuilding in the offseason, but that likely shuts the SB window for a couple years (assuming it's open now).  

Tomlin's job looks a lot harder than it did initially.
« Last Edit: Oct 22, 2007 at 10:42 by msdmnr2002 » Logged
SCacalaki
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 22, 2007 at 11:52 »

Faneca is the best OL we've got.  I saw vintage Faneca when he pulled to his right to spring Parker for a 25+ yard run in the 2nd half.  

Also saw Faneca (and Smith) whiff on a Broncos' DL in the 1st half.  I have no idea how two OL can whiff on one guy but that duo showed it is possible.  

Not extending Faneca possibly hurts in the short-term but is the better choice for 2009 and beyond.  

In the past, KeystoneKC put together spreadsheets that listed the position, the Rd. and year drafted for each starter for all NFL teams.

There are more variables, of course, to making a successful OL than Rd. and year drafted.  But it appeared, without doing some kind of regression line, that Rd. drafted correlated to the success of the OC, OG, and OT, as well as the success of the OL as a whole.  Especially in the running game.  

Last year, we have a R2 LT, R1 LG, R1 OC, R1 RG, and R3 RT.  

This year, R2 LT, R1 LG, R5 OC, R1 RG, and R4 RT.  

Next year it could be RT LT, R6 LG, R5 OC, R1 RG, and R4 RT, assuming Kemoeatu is the option.  

Since Simmons in 2002, we've gone for the "project" OL.  Caylor, Lacy, Philip, Stephenson, Essex, Colon, and arguably Starks.  

We've push OL out as a priority.  Of course, we drafted some great offensive players in the first round after 2002; Ben, Heat and Santonio.  

Would I swap out Troy for a OL?  Nope.

But it has to become a priority again.  Not to take the topic off-track, but both the OL and DL need new, Day One legs.  

Back to OL.....

It's not that a first or second round OL pick guarantees success, but remembering those spreadsheets, the Walt Jones, Alan Fanecas and Orlando Paces of the league have been Rd. 1 and Rd. 2 picks.  

Centers don't have quite the high selection status, but some of the better ones in recent history were selected early.  

I'm not trying to revisit previous drafts, as the 1st rounders have been very good players.  

But it's time to address OL early.  
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Hercules50
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 22, 2007 at 11:55 »

I think that Rd. 1 AND Rd. 2 Offensive linemen are a possibility.  
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aj_law
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 22, 2007 at 12:24 »

Frankly, I think the O-line has been an issue for as long as...well, awhile.  Drafting a lineman in R3 or R4 or bringing in a "second tier" FA (Mahan) isn't really addressing anything.  It's more like a band-aid approach.  I know a lot of us here have been clamouring for some moves in this area for awhile and we haven't seen much movement.  They bring in FA OL like Siragusa passes on buffets; both happen once or twice a millenium.

Remember though, that front five was built around the run.  Pass blocking isn't really their forte.  If they're going to migrate to a more balanced approach, they'll need to consider more versatile guys in the future.
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give'emthaboot
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 22, 2007 at 19:23 »

Quote
I think that Rd. 1 AND Rd. 2 Offensive linemen are a possibility.
i'll go a step beyond that and say that Rd 1 and 2 O-linemen is not only possible, but necessary.  

Marvel Smith was embarrassingly awful last night, on Ben's fumble in particular.  he was nothing more than a nuisance for Dumervil to run around, and he just stood there looking down at Ben after the ball came out.  what a worthless pile of crap that guy has become.
« Last Edit: Oct 22, 2007 at 19:24 by give'emthaboot » Logged

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Preacherman0
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 22, 2007 at 20:49 »

Quote
Frankly, I think the O-line has been an issue for as long as...well, awhile.

I would argue that it was becoming a serious problem in 2005.  We just managed to overcome it.

Once again, I will have to say that they looked vastly different in the second half.  I even saw Kendall Simmons blowing up a few guys on run plays.  And Ben surely had more time to set his feet and make plays.  Fortunately, he was also smart enough to take what he had rather than running around and getting sacked.
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Preacherman0
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 23, 2007 at 10:23 »

Sorry, that response wasn't really along the lines of the original question.  Here goes:

I like Faneca and still believe that he is a good (if not great) guard.  Fact is, he has us over Niagara Falls in a barrel and he knows it.  Can we afford to lose him when he is still obviously our best olineman?  

And, who could replace him?  Essex?  Starks?  Kemo?  I think that if any of those guys was a viable solution, they'd be playing on the right side right now, either G or T.  And who can we get in free agency that's any cheaper, or any better?

I don't begrudge Faneca trying to get every dollar that he can after this season.  Even if he's not top-notch, I suspect that someone will badly overpay him, as we've discussed.  And good for him!  He has a limited window to make as much as he can, and we all know that the Steelers (or any other team) will cut him loose as soon as he's served his purpose.  So while I love team loyalty in the NFL, I also understand why guys leave for more money.  I don't like it, and I get tired of all the, "Well I really wanted to stay, money is not what's important" talk because it's bull.  But I really don't blame the players.

That said, Faneca should learn to keep his mouth shut.  By popping off so much this offseason, he probably sealed his doom.  I don't think that he's going to be as marketable because of his age, current ability level, and whining.  Some team that is terrible will pay big bucks, he'll go there, make lots of money, and finish with a team that sucks.  Some way to wrap up a potentially HOF career.

Bottom line:  We need to begin looking at FA and draft for our oline.  I'd say that at least three of the current players, maybe four, will be elsewhere next year.  Hopefully, we can pick up some guys like Keydrick Vincent on the cheap, and hopefully they'll actually be able to play.
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aj_law
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« Reply #7 on: Oct 23, 2007 at 11:03 »

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And, who could replace him?  Essex?  Starks?  Kemo?  I think that if any of those guys was a viable solution, they'd be playing on the right side right now, either G or T.  And who can we get in free agency that's any cheaper, or any better?

...

Bottom line:  We need to begin looking at FA and draft for our oline.  I'd say that at least three of the current players, maybe four, will be elsewhere next year.  Hopefully, we can pick up some guys like Keydrick Vincent on the cheap, and hopefully they'll actually be able to play.
This is going to probably sound incredibly redundant for most regulars out there.  My apologies if it does.  Pass Go...Collect $200...and move on to the next thread.

I've been saying since around '03 that Pittsburgh needs to seriously address the O-line via FA.  Back then, the right side up to and including the center was very much in a state of flux.  Hartings looked like he was done; Simmons was beginning to have health issues; Ross was...meh, at tackle and Vincent was so-so in spot duty for Simmons when Kendall wasn't able to go.  To top it off, they had bench stalwarts like Todd Fordham and Barrett Brooks waiting in the wings.

This was four years ago.

Since then, they've done, what exactly to keep the most important part of any football team in top shape?  They drafted mostly Day Two projects with a single R3 prospect in Starks.  For FA activity, four years later, they sign a second tier FA to replace a multiple Pro Bowl center.  These moves did virtually nothing to improve the makeshift right side and in the interim, the left side has aged and is targeted for a major free agency defection this year.

Even in their Super Bowl year, do people remember how bad the front five looked in the first half of the season??  The discussions today sound eerily familiar.  Somehow, someway, they amazingly managed to pull it together for a great stretch and playoff run.  Now, I'm not saying that they're going to do the same this year.  Maybe this group will gel better as the season wears on...maybe it won't.  What I do know is that they NEED to finally, FINALLY make a big splash in FA along the front five.  IMO, they have no choice.  There simply aren't viable options on this roster and they can't count on having potential draftees step in and produce at a high level.

Faneca bolts?  Fine.  Buh-bye.  Go hard after guys like Floyd Womack or Rick DeMulling or Sean Locklear or Travelle Wharton or even vets like Reuben Brown or Todd Steussie.  Draft at least one lineman early; maybe two.  IMO, best bet is to buy a good OG like Womack and draft an OT and OC/OG.
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Hercules50
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 23, 2007 at 12:14 »

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Since then, they've done, what exactly to keep the most important part of any football team in top shape?
« Last Edit: Oct 23, 2007 at 12:16 by Hercules50 » Logged
Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #9 on: Oct 23, 2007 at 14:24 »

I'll take over day 2.  For $37 and a year's supply of Kashi.
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« Reply #10 on: Oct 23, 2007 at 14:42 »

What makes the Essex pick so miserable is that Colbert thought that he was at least second round talent while the rest of the league's scouts were crossing him off their Round 7 projects list.  

A second frustration is a preponderance of guard skills in the O-line.  Willie Colon is at OT, but really should be at OG replacing Simmons.  But apparently Starks has regressed at RT and there's apparently no other options.   Stapleton might end up being OK, but he's also a friggin' C/G.  This isn't something that is going to be cured next year.
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steelerfaninCO
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« Reply #11 on: Oct 23, 2007 at 16:10 »

I think the successful 15-1 '04 campaign  diverting attention away from the OL issues coupled with the coaching staff changes helped get the Steelers to where they are now. The bad '03 season should have signaled a major project built around Redbeady McGee, so out goes Ross(who stunk it up that year),  and Kendall goes down. In comes a 3rd rounder and bang, they go 15-1. I believe the same 5 guys started all 16 games.

  So Cowbert, think to themselves they actually have a good line. Clearly they believed Chukky "I'm a starter" Okobi was taking over for the breaking down Hartings. They thought enough of Max to put  up 1st rounder tender on his restricted FA offer. They problably thought they would get Alan re-signed. Smith went to the Pro Bowl. And they thought Simmons(Colbert's guy) would return to rookie form for the the departing Vincent.
 2005 happens and its like Jekyll and Hyde with the good run thankfully well documented. I don't think after a 15-1 season followed by a SB victory Cowher thought he had OL problems. By the collapse of '06, their fate was already sealed. Cowher was on his way out and the new guys had a different plan. So Mahan gets signed and Okobi gets sent packing. Tough to say who was actually better since we never saw Chukky really have to play.
 Then Tomlin goes D in the draft. LB was definately a need. But know OL starters.
 Now we got Grumpy in the last year of his contract, a manic depressive LT, an unproven center, Kendall "London Bridges Falling Down" Simmons, and a first year starter a RT. Doesn't sound that great to anybody, but in fairness to Cowbert, since '03 1st round picks

 '03- Polamalu
 '04- The Mighty Big Mutha Fucka Ben Rothelisberger
 '05- Heat Miller
 '06- The ever improving SH


...not too shabby....not to shabby at all
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KTBFFH
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« Reply #12 on: Oct 23, 2007 at 19:11 »

Compared to other teams' drafts, we don't do so badly.  Check how many starters from the '98-'03 drafts Miami has; I don't know if any of their picks even stuck at all.  It's easy to point out the Zo's and Cokes and 2nd day blunders, but if a team is solid, 2nd day talent isn't going to displace anyway.  In sum: assess and move forward.

Marvel Smith - Best days as a LT are behind him.  Might make an intriguing RT for another 2-4 years.  As such, can serve as a better "swing man" than, say, flat-footed Max Starks.

Alan Faneca - Despite some slippage from days of greatness, still a top guard in the league.  The nexus of age and salary make him a guy we won't consider.

Sean Mahan - Mahan's value as a stopgap center seems questionable.  At best, he looks like a serviceable OC/OG backup.  Don't see him as even an effective OG at either spot.

Kendall Simmons - The regression continues.  Like Mahan, his best value may be as a backup, or even better, as trade bait.

Willie Colon - Willie is playing some scrappy ball, but his natural position seems guard, and the rough and ready spot of RG at that.  

Max Starks - Does he have a place on this team?  At what price?  Is he worth more as a compensatory pick?  My feeling is Max walks.

Trai Essex - Utter shit.

Chris Kemoeatu - He's reached that Nkwenti moment.  Put up or shut up.  I'd try him at LG if we could trade Simmons and draft a guard to compete.

Darnell Stapleton - So what exactly did coaches see in this guy?  Is he another fluff project like Marvin Philip?

Needs:

We need a franchise LT, preferably round 1-2.
We need a center, either Stapleton or a rook.
We need a LG, either internally, or better yet, a rook.

Then:

LT - Rookie (R1-2), [M. Smith]
LG - Rookie (R3-4), Mahan
C - Stapleton, Rookie (R4-6)
RG - Colon, Kemo
RT - M. Smith, [Colon]

That's an awfully green left side, but if a high investment, perhaps having the success of, say, Ugoh in Indy?  That's 8 in the lineup; we can afford 9-10.  Keeping Starks then, or Simmons, makes sense.  Is 50% of our draft going to OL too much?  Nah.
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LambertsFrontTeeth
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« Reply #13 on: Oct 23, 2007 at 20:13 »

If drafting a potential franchise LT, we will HAVE to move up...probably into the top 5.  That means trading away several day 1 picks..probably our #1, #2 and #2 next year, or #1 this year and next -- if not more.

I would do that if we have a "can't miss" prospect up there, and the right trade partner. But make no mistake, it will hurt us later.

Then, we could move Marvel to RT, either Colon or Mahan to G. Find a Center (or guard if Mahan stays at C) in FA.

 
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