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Author Topic: The Line Of Scrimmage  (Read 903 times)
DoctorJohnnyFever
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« on: Dec 16, 2007 at 20:51 »

If you believe that football games are won and lost on the offensive and defensive lines - and personally, I do - then this team is probably kind of maddening. Of all the linemen the Steelers have on the team - offensive and defensive - how many players, at this stage in their career, would rate as really good NFL players?

I'm thinking three (the regular starters on the D-line), maybe four depending on what type of day Alan Faneca is having. Agree? Disagree? If you agree, then it's not hard to understand why we've lost the games we have in the manner we have, and have had to watch Ben run wild on every snap.

If you disagree...what the hell are you watching?


 
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 16, 2007 at 21:12 »

DE Smith, Snack and Fannyca are your three?
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 16, 2007 at 21:28 »

None of the current OL are top tier.  Faneca was but I don't see him there right now.  

To me, it seems that Simmons or Colon would be starters elsewhere.

Mahan was in TB, at guard, but he's flat awful at OC.  

Marvel Smith was never a top LT, despite what some of the local writers think.  Was never in the same breath as Pace, Jones, and Ogden.  

Starks seems like the guy with the most upside.  Whether he ever reaches that is unknown but he was the guy to extend for 4/$23M, not Simmons.  I realize the money is right for Simmons, but it's a poor investment IMO.  Maybe done due to 2009 issues with Faneca.

But the Steelers have put themselves in this position, passing on Day One OL almost since 2002.

The Steelers have a great starting 3 at DL but little behind that.  Hoke is okay at NT, which is what a backup should be.  But they've got nothing at DE.  And nothing in the pipeline IMO.  

They'll probably shuffle Rodney Bailey back over from the desert.  But there is little else available.  KVO will be a FA but he'll be closing in on 40.  

I saw some mock draft with us taking some DE from LSU.  
 
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 06:47 »

Smith, Snack, Keisel, Faneca.  That's it.

Marvel Smith is a mystery to me.  Looked like a monster in 2004, and pretty good in 2005.  Looks like a joke the last two years.  One thing that I recall is that he had a terrible 2003 when he was trying to play hurt, and he seems to be trying to play hurt this year.  Perhaps he needs to sit and GET HEALTHY rather than trying to go?  I love the heart of guys that try to play through the pain, but you have to recognize when you're ultimately not helping anyone by being out there.

I think we need to live with what we have, for the most part, at other positions, assuming that there is some oline/dline depth in this draft.  I know this is dreaming big, but we also need to look for some FA along the offensive line.  May be time for us to work some trades or pay some money to someone from out of town.
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 07:22 »

Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton.  Those are the only elite linemen.  Keisel is good, but is more a proto 4-3 DE, IMO, and doesn't get the push at the LOS that Smith does, although he does get slightly better penetration on passing downs.  

We need to wake up and smell the motherfucking coffee with Marvel Smith.  He was once more than adequate, and made the Pro Bowl.  And while he wasn't elite, he was good.  That was a few years ago, and the back problems that he alleghedly had during yesterday's game, well, he's just wearing down and won't ever be back.  Maybe he can do spot duty, but that makes him a backup, by definition.

Faneca is moot.  He's nowhere near what he was, and he's gone, so who cares.  

Mahan is, at very best, a backup.  The basic sequence yesterday: Smith would get beaten, then either Colon or Mahan would get beaten, pocket is toast, Ben is sacked.  I don't care whether centers can be had late in the draft, early in the draft, or whatever, just get someone who can do the motherfucking job.

Simmons got his fat deal and got fat.  I don't get him at all.  He should be much better than he is.  I'd be willing to see how he does at LG next year, but as a last chance.

Colon is not a tackle.  Repeat after me.  He's good against strength, bad in space.  He's a natural RG.  He's who Simmons should be.  He's a keeper, who needs to play his position.

So, by draft or by FA, I see needs at:

LT, top priority.
C, a successor to Hartings and Dirt, not to even mention Webby.
LG, to push the oafish duo of Kemo and Simmons.
DE, to give depth to Smith in the 30 base possibly switch to a 40 base with Keisel at RDE, Snack and Smith in the middle.
NT/DT for depth.
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 07:29 »

I think Keisel is an average player -- at least in our scheme. I agree that he may fit better as a 4-3 DE. But I wonder about that too -- he gets pressure when there's a stunt or some motion to the play that gets him in space. When he's squared up against an O-lineman, he seems to go nowhere.

Aaron Smith and Hampton are very good. That, to me, is the end of the list of good linemen we have.

Marvel Smith plays like he's 45 fucking years old. He is done.

On pass plays, seriously, I think Ben is planning his escape move as soon as he drops to his depth. You notice that? He's so ready to take that step up, or step outside. Imagine how fucking good he'd be if he could spend the first couple of moments, you know, actually reading the coverage?
« Last Edit: Dec 17, 2007 at 07:31 by Hercules50. » Logged
BleedGreen710
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 08:06 »

Quote
On pass plays, seriously, I think Ben is planning his escape move as soon as he drops to his depth. You notice that? He's so ready to take that step up, or step outside. Imagine how fucking good he'd be if he could spend the first couple of moments, you know, actually reading the coverage?
I totally agree with you here.  Brady gets the snap, and from the get go, begins to read the coverage.  Scrambling to safety is not typically something that Brady thinks about when he passes.  

I can't imagine how good Ben would be with an extra second or so to read the defense.  Hopefully we'll find out sometime soon...
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 08:30 »

In a lot of ways, I think Keisel is more a prototype 3-4 OLB than Timmons, who looks like an ILB to me.  Keisel is OK in space, and can get a hand up in the passing lanes most of the time.  He has decent speed, but he just lacks that 3-4 bulk and strength, IMO.  If we go to a 4-3, he'd be a good DE.  If we stay in 3-4, I'd rather see him take an OLB spot opposite Silver or Wood.


3-4:  

LOLB - Woodley/Haggans  LDE - Smith  NT - Hamp  RDE - ?  ROLB - Keisel/Harrison
LILB - Farrior  RILB - Timmons/Foote

4-3:

LDE - Kirschke/McBean  DT - Smith  NT - Hamp  RDE - ?  
LOLB - Woodley/Haggans  MLB - Timmons/Foote  ROLB - Keisel/Harrison
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 08:57 »

For THIS season, I'd rather play Hoke at DE than Eason and Kirschke.  At least Hoke will scrap and fight.
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 09:02 »

Everyone seems to be in basic agreement. We need to rebuild both the offensive and defensive lines.  

One problem, though. We only have so many draft picks, and BOTH of these positions are a premium. Which leads to second wrinkle of said problem -- it will be hard to aquire talent like that at FA, as most good players will be retained, and the ones that aren't will demand a king's ransom (see FANECA, ELLEN).

I'm of the opinion, which I first mulled in another thread, that we should pursue a trade with Miami for Jason Taylor. I know he is at the end of his career, but, I think he would be excited to play for a (potential) contender, he's a hometown boy, and I think that Miami would be willing to listen to a reasonable trade.

Considering that the Dolphins pretty much gave away Welker and Chambers, I don't see why they wouldn't part with Taylor for a reasonable offer. He certainly isn't young enough to survive their unavoidable rebuild.  I would be shocked if he didn't announce his retirement, if Miami asks him to return. He almost retired LAST year.

Getting Taylor would cement our DL for the next year or two, and the FO could go heavy OL in the draft this year, then draft at DL the year after that. Further, we could play Taylor as a 4-3 end, but have the flexibility of flipping to the 3-4. Actually, having that talent would allow Lebeau to do many things we can't now, such as actually rush 4 down linemen and maybe get pressure without blitzing -- something that I think is necessary against the Cheatriots.

Additionally, I think the FA aquisition of a decent WR with deep skills has merit. I also think that we are much more likely to find such a player for a reasonable price, as compared to the OL situation.

So basically, consider this my "SING JASEN TAYLER!!!1!!" thread.  
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