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Author Topic: Max Starks  (Read 2427 times)
Preacherman0
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« on: Nov 27, 2007 at 13:45 »

Thought that he did an above-average job vs. Taylor last night.  Above average for him, at least.

Was Marvel hurt?  Or just replaced?  It wouldn't fix it all, but I would like to see how we played with Marvel at R and Max at L.
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 27, 2007 at 13:46 »

And while we're at it, try Marvin P. at center and anyone else at RG.
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 27, 2007 at 13:47 »

I actually thought that Starks played really well.  I might be remembering incorrectly but I think his only gaffs came when he missed the corner fires.

 
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 27, 2007 at 14:20 »

Marvel was injured - Back.
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 27, 2007 at 15:51 »

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I actually thought that Starks played really well.  I might be remembering incorrectly but I think his only gaffs came when he missed the corner fires.
To use a Cowher term, I'm "catiously optimistic" about Starks. I mean, he did a great job on Taylor, but how much of that was due to the turf?

And yes, the only mistakes I recall were on the corner blitzes. Was there a blocking back in on those plays? I don't recall that part.  
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 27, 2007 at 16:20 »

I do not believe there was a back blocking on the play where the corner blitzed and caused a fumble...
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 27, 2007 at 17:34 »

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I think his only gaffs came when he missed the corner fires.

Yes, he did miss on the corner.  But honestly, he didn't have a chance to get there.  IIRC, we were in an empty set and they brought 6 or 7.  Plus, it looked to me like the corner was so far outside that he had no hope of beating him to the punch.

As for "optimism," I agree about the cautious part.  I'm just remembering a game earlier in the year where Starks came in for Smith and looked really good as well.  He just looks much more at ease on the left side than he ever did on the right.
 
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 28, 2007 at 07:31 »

Max looked ugly at LT in preseason, but that's not to say he can't step up.  If Marvel were healthy and we could survive a shuffle, what about everyone taking a step left?

LT - Max
LG - Faneca
C - Simmons
RG - Colon
RT - Marvel

Bad as Simmons has been at RG, he has to have more strength at the POA than Mahan.  Mahan looks like the new Chukky to me, career backup.  

And I've said it before, but if Kemo doesn't have the smarts for OL, why not try him at backup NT?  He's got the bulk and the meanness.  Rather than have him become the new Nkwenti.
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 28, 2007 at 10:10 »

i think his success with Taylor had more to do with the footing than it had to do with Starks' play, but i'll give him credit, he looked 10x better than Marvel has all season.

speaking of the corner blitzes, i was atleast happy to see Starks break off his block (i think he was on Taylor) and move out and atleast get a hand on the blitzing corner.  usually it seems that all of our O-linemen are lazy and dont bother to move around to try and pick up blitzes.  he didnt pick up that particular blitz, but atleast he acknowledged that there was a guy on the way to Ben and tried to do something about it.
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« Reply #9 on: Nov 28, 2007 at 13:24 »

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Max looked ugly at LT in preseason, but that's not to say he can't step up.  If Marvel were healthy and we could survive a shuffle, what about everyone taking a step left?

LT - Max
LG - Faneca
C - Simmons
RG - Colon
RT - Marvel

Bad as Simmons has been at RG, he has to have more strength at the POA than Mahan.  Mahan looks like the new Chukky to me, career backup.  

And I've said it before, but if Kemo doesn't have the smarts for OL, why not try him at backup NT?  He's got the bulk and the meanness.  Rather than have him become the new Nkwenti.

 I think Marvel's got some health issues this year.  When 100%, he's better than Starks.  Max's strong suit is his size and run blocking, which would seem to be better suited for RT.

Other than swapping Marvel and Max, though, the suggestion has a lot of appeal to it.  I've been also banging the drum about Colon being more physically suited for OG than OT.  But Finny's suggestion could be even better...

I guess the issue for me goes back to 2003, when Hartings was on one leg, and the PS were dealing with a reduced Simmons and an inglorious FordRoss right side.  The problem wasn't so much that one player was bad; it was that you couldn't compensate for two or more suckees in tandem.  

The P-G article quoted over at BSG alluded to Mahan having a problem with the NT lined straight up over OC, rather than in more typical 1-Tech position (usually the gap on Mahan's left).  The defense can simply threaten to send in the ILB on Simmons  and effectively leave Mahan in isolation.  As Dr. Phil would say, "And how's that workin' for ya?"

It's sort of a Catch 22 for Tomlin.  The PS can probably squeeze out wins against the Bungles and Rams (and/or Ravens) and likely win the division at 11-5 or 10-6, even if they tank games against the Pats and Jags to do it.  Fortunately, the Browns D is bad enough to be suspect against everyone on their schedule.  The prime goal is always to make the playoffs.  But status quo leaves them fatally flawed on the O-line with virtually no shot at a SB.

BTW, I'm admittedly not a hardcore X-and-O's guy, but geez, it's a real painful glassy-eyed experience to listen to some of the explanations of a two gap DT at the local fan club bar.  I wish that I could load up a DVD on the TV screen with something like this:

http://football.calsci.com/Positions8.html

 
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« Reply #10 on: Nov 28, 2007 at 14:30 »

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Max looked ugly at LT in preseason, but that's not to say he can't step up.  If Marvel were healthy and we could survive a shuffle, what about everyone taking a step left?

LT - Max
LG - Faneca
C - Simmons
RG - Colon
RT - Marvel
 
You know, the more I think about it, the more I believe the offensive line should look like this next year:

*Precursor - either extend Starks to a modest, backup type deal or restructure Smith.  Whoever's left standing gets to compete for the starting RT spot with Colon.  Loser of that one plays back up tackle.

LT - R1 Rook - Michael Oher
LG - FA - DeMulling?  Womack?  Whatever.
OC - R2 Rook - Steve Justice or Cody Wallace
LG - Simmons/Mahan slapfight to the death for starter
RT - Smith or Starks/Colon best 4 out of 7 Rochambo for starter

Yeah, it's all new from the middle left (with good reason), but an experienced vet in the middle of the two rooks will help to offset the learning curve.

Some big changes just need to be made.  Enough with the band-aid approach.
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« Reply #11 on: Nov 28, 2007 at 14:34 »

Forgot to mention, as to the line the rest of the year, I think they need to just pick a group and ride it out (injuries aside).  IMO, they can't really be juggling them in Week 13.  Hope that they gel akin to the '05 bunch down the stretch when it matters most.
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« Reply #12 on: Nov 28, 2007 at 16:18 »

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Some big changes just need to be made. Enough with the band-aid approach.

I think that we can all agree on that.  Any suggestions for this season are merely to help us make the playoffs, and perhaps keep from getting Ben and Willie absolutely killed back there.  Offseason is where something needs to happen.

I can barely abide the thought of Simmons as a starter again.  He got stood up on the first play from scrimmage Mon. night.  I know that you can't just blow people out every play, but my gosh, you shouldn't let yourself get pushed back into the play, either.
 
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« Reply #13 on: Nov 28, 2007 at 17:33 »

Still trying to figure out the why of Simmons.  He should be better than this.  Great frosh season; diabetes and the knee hampered him; has been up and down, wildly, ever since.  At 6'3", he's Mahan's height, plus 15#, looks massive where Mahan looks adequate, and so I surmise he could anchor the midde better... EXCEPT that if he's getting rocked by DTs at RG, he'll get stoned by bigger NTs in the 3-4.  I almost think it's a matter of technique, but I can't see what's going on close up.

Philip is smaller than Mahan by 2" but +5#, which is a positive weight distribution IMO: low and thick is better at OC.  Tall guys have the wrong leverage.  Stapleton may have nice technique, but at 285# he's not playing C for anyone in a PBS; maybe a job in a ZBS like Denver.  Hoping one of Philip or Stapleton pushes Mahan to OG, or better yet, OG/C backup.

Colon's 6'3" and 315#, a height-weight ringer for Simmons.  I think he's been adequate to above average at RT, but you can't tell me that he's not better suited to OG, and isn't better than Simmons.

Starks prolly won't be shit at LT once he plays on real turf.  He's proto RT.  I agree with a small exension for Max.

Faneca is neither as bad nor as good as people tend to think.  His best years are past, but he's still a player.  More importantly, he's a moot point, as in gone via FA.

Kemo is 6'3" and 344#; why not switch him to DT?  If we run a 4-3 front, slide him alongside Hamp.  Jesus almighty.

Draft:

AJ says Oher, I say Chris Williams.  I could deal with either, frankly.  Get some talent in the OC and OG spots, too.  Cut the deadwood.  If that means Tomlin has to fuck over Mahan, then fuck over ya boy Mahan, Mikey.  I think three OL draft spots is optimal, but I have a feeling we only go 2.  Not sure why, just do.
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« Reply #14 on: Nov 28, 2007 at 18:57 »

I don't have faith that Colbert will pick 3 straight OL, even if the value is there.

I see him picking either DL in round 2, or a WR/RB in round 2 or 3.

I don't care as long as whatever OLinemen drafted by Colbert work out.

Or we find some gem OL in FA. I just don't think that FA will bring us much options, what with the cap creeping up for all teams, and us needing to blow a wad to sing Ben.  
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« Reply #15 on: Nov 29, 2007 at 09:31 »

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I almost think it's a matter of technique

And there's the problem!  

At times, especially when he's pulling, Simmons looks like he could be a beast.  He just looks zoned in and ready to take it to someone.  At other times, especially with a man head-up, he looks slow of the ball and very sloppy, kind of flops around on the ground.  I think it's about a lack of focus and concentration, which causes lapses in technique.  That's pretty heavy analysis from guy sitting in front of the TV, but just my thoughts.

What bothers me about Colon is a lack of tenacity.  He seems to lose his block a lot, where staying with the guy could result in a big run or a big play.  Again, part of that is lack of focus/intensity.  You may be able to correct that with Colon, but Simmons has had time to get his crap straight, and it hasn't seemed to help.
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« Reply #16 on: Nov 29, 2007 at 11:00 »

Interesting thread!

I am no different in that I think our O-Line stinks, and there's not a star player in the bunch. However, I'm a little surprised that Simmons is getting so much of the ire.

I could totally be wrong, and far be it from me to analyze OL play from the couch. That said, I see Simmons do some pretty damn athletic stuff as often as I see him whiff -- and note that I'm not saying Simmons is a good player, just that he may be more in the average category.

I think the culprits on the line are Mahan, big time, and Colon. To a lesser extent Faneca, and then Simmons. Starks has played really well for stretches, but it seems like each December he has a habit of turning into a 40-year-old.

But I think I'm seeing Simmons outplay Faneca, but again, it's hard to know what the hell is going on because some plays are so busted you don't know which lineman is scrambling to cover up another's blown assignment.

I guess this is splitting hairs, because they're none of them great and as a unit, they stink. And I for one see no fixes here, this season. I was hoping we would have moved Simmons to C and Colon to RG with Starks at RT, but that had to happen from the start. Moving Simmons to C now, just to get that turd Mahan off the field, probably would be worse than status quo.
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« Reply #17 on: Nov 29, 2007 at 11:04 »

Don't be deceived.....it helped Starks thay Taylor had to play in shoes that weighed 10lbs each....

Max is used to playing with lead boots......
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Hercules50.
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« Reply #18 on: Nov 29, 2007 at 12:58 »

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Don't be deceived.....it helped Starks thay Taylor had to play in shoes that weighed 10lbs each....

Max is used to playing with lead boots......
I'm sorry, I meant to say that Smith has played well for stretches, etc., but wrote Starks.

With the collective suckitude, it's hard to tell the O-linemen apart, anyway!

Your point about Starks vs. Miami is completely right, I think.
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Preacherman0
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« Reply #19 on: Nov 29, 2007 at 13:08 »

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Your point about Starks vs. Miami is completely right, I think.

My encouragement about Starks stems from the fact that he played well Mon. night and in the earlier game where he entered at LT.

Quote
I see Simmons do some pretty damn athletic stuff as often as I see him whiff

Wouldn't disagree with that at all.  He can pull and does a great job out in space.  But that's what causes my frustration.  If he's that athletic, why can't he stay in front of his man on pass blocks?  Why is he falling down trying to protect the QB?  Why can't he get any movement at the POA--because he's weak and slow?  If he's that slow of the ball then I don't understand how he can pull so well.

And it may not be everyone's ire.  May just be me, as I tend to watch him a lot.

As for Mahan, at the beginning I thought maybe he was a pretty good, "scrappy" type of player.  Now I think they should put him on the scrap heap.
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Hercules50.
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« Reply #20 on: Nov 29, 2007 at 13:14 »

I hear you, Preach.

I did think Starks did play decently earlier in the year (certainly as well or better than Colon has, who is a big disappointment this year, seems to me). I think his Miami performance is harder to judge, but at least he seemed to make decent decisions (when to help a double-team, when to take on an edge blitzer).

And I agree with you on Simmons. Frustrating watching him, because at times he looks like Dermontti Dawsom (forgive the blasphemy) on the pull but then gets tossed aside easily other times.

And again, it wasn't that I was disagreeing with everyone about Simmons, just that since even though I try to watch the O-linemen, I don't get a good read on them on many plays, and it seems like Simmons isn't our biggest problem.

One more point, regarding the recent rash of sacks: Either our O-line really is terrible, or teams have figured out how to deal with Ben's tendency to hold the ball and wait for the wide-open guy down field. It could be a scheme thing. (Then again, the terrible run-blocking is as much a concern as the pass-blocking.)

 
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« Reply #21 on: Dec 03, 2007 at 10:19 »

Starks had another above average game last night.  I wish more and more than we hadn't thrown all that stupid coin at Simmons.  Starks may be a better investment... and guessing on two lineman may be more than we can take cap-wise.
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« Reply #22 on: Dec 03, 2007 at 10:38 »

At the least, Starks is proving to be a very important backup.
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« Reply #23 on: Dec 03, 2007 at 11:21 »

Starks becomes a really important option when the next guy in line is Trai Essex.

Certainly Simmons can pull way better than Kemo, and keeping him in helps the Steelers to use all of their running play options.  But he ends up being such a liability in pass-pro and straight line blocking that it's an overall liability.

It isn't that Simmons is worse than, say, Todd Fordham.  He does a few things well.  It's just that on more than a few plays, he looks just stunningly bad, and I can't quite figure out whether he is clueless, or whether the playcall is asking Simmons to do something that is beyond him.
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« Reply #24 on: Dec 03, 2007 at 12:07 »

Maybe the thing with Simmons is that he would be fine to have on an otherwise good line; but when he's flanked by mediocre players, his weaknesses stand out all the more?

Which isn't to say he'd be great in the right situation, just that he wouldn't bring a good line down.  
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« Reply #25 on: Dec 03, 2007 at 12:31 »

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At the least, Starks is proving to be a very important backup.


That's true, but the question will be can we keep him here for backup money.  Got to figure he's good enough to start for somebody, or at least somebody will think he's good enough to start for them.

 
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« Reply #26 on: Dec 03, 2007 at 12:39 »

And, the fact is the past two games were perfect for him weather-wise.  didn't have to worry about a speed rush and could use his size and power to his advantage.  We might not see the same success in a dome.
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« Reply #27 on: Dec 03, 2007 at 14:28 »

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And, the fact is the past two games were perfect for him weather-wise.  didn't have to worry about a speed rush and could use his size and power to his advantage.  We might not see the same success in a dome.
...or this week on FieldTurf.
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« Reply #28 on: Dec 03, 2007 at 17:24 »

Bingo on the conditions.  I have been very impressed with Starks the last two weeks, and I hope to god that it is him actually playing well.  However, I really do agree that field turf may exploit his weaknesses again.  The speed rush is Max Starks' nemesis.  He isn't a big fan of it.  He hates the speed rush.  On a scale of 1-10, 1 being him hating the speed rush, and 10 him loving it, he is definitely around a 1.9.  According to my calculations, so give or take a little.
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