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Author Topic: It's so hard, to say goodbye, to Dook & Nate  (Read 1993 times)
Preacherman0
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« on: Apr 28, 2008 at 09:26 »

I have to believe that, considering our draft picks and FA pickups, we're seriously on the edge of showing the door to several guys.  

1.  Nate Washington:  In spite of his inconsistency, I don't think he's a bad player.  Just not what we really need at #3.  Sweed provides a lot of the size, speed, and experience (4-year starter at Texas) that we want there.  If he can be consistent in training camp, why keep Nate?

2.  Davenport:  He had his moments, but the way he blocked for Ben in the Jax playoff game made me want to throw up.  He wasn't a good short-yardage guy, he was average out of the backfield on pass routes, and he wasn't good in pass protection.  What's the argument for keeping him?  We got FWP and a hard-working, fresh, talented guy in Mendenhall.

3.  Mahan:  We have Stapleton, signed a FA center, drafted on OT (and I heard it mentioned that he MIGHT be a good guard?).  Again, no reason to think he is any better than what we have, or that he can make any dramatic improvements.

4.  Willie Reid:  What has he done to justify a roster spot over anyone we've drafted or signed?  He'd better have a helluva camp and hope someone else doesn't.

5.  Timmons:  Yes, I said it.  I believe that drafting two more linebackers could be an indication that Timmons is now viewed as an official bust.  I believe he'll be given every opportunity (do we have another choice?) but any sign that he can't cut it, and we will cut him.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 28, 2008 at 10:37 »

Timmons isn't going anywhere, so scratch that.

Nate won't likely get extended now, with Sweed here.  I think we have him play out his tender to fill that all-important Ced spot, #4.  If you recall, Ced actually got pressed into play due to injuries last year.  Here's the camp battle:  Washington should win the 4, Reid and Baker should battle for 5.  But if Baker is that improved, and Reid can even be a 5, why not trade Washington to a team like Dallas?  See what you can get.

Davenport's the odd man.  We have Moore as 3rd down and PR, and GR might stick again as a #4 grinder.  Cap hit kills Dookie here, IMO.  Again, get on the horn and see if anyone needs a decent COP/#3, get what you can.

Mahan should get a chance to compete at guard, but IMO cutting him sends a message and saves cap.  Of the presumptive guards -- Simmons, Kemo, Mahan, and Colon (if they switch him) -- Mahan would appear to be sharkbait.  The key here is, do they switch Colon?  Or do they keep him at RT and play Starks LT?  And what about Marvel?  Too many OT starters for that too play out well, but then again, who knows.  
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give'emthaboot
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 28, 2008 at 11:15 »

I was clamoring for themto move Dookie yesterday to add a Rd 4 or 5 pick, not sure if it was something they pursued or not, but he's definitely gone one way or another before training camp.

Nate can stay on, he's only got the one year tender and then he's gone, not sure if I would want to trade him just because depth would be such an issue.

IMO, because Timmons projects as an ILB, his true value can't be determined until Farrior is gone in '09, but they certainly aren't going to cut the #15 overall pick from last year already.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 28, 2008 at 13:33 »

I'm pretty confident Sweed will come in and eclipse Washington early on.  Baker's been making the kinds of strides, if off-season reports be trusted, that could see him cracking the lineup.  Reid has underachieved, badly, and IMO needs to break out now, or yesterday really.  All this adds up to Washington being the crunch man.

We probably will start him as #3, drop him to #4, let him go next year.  But IMO we'd get some return on investment, rather than none, if we traded him to a team like the Bucs, Cowboys, or Seahags, who really missed on taking a receiver in the draft.

That means we'd start a little green in our depth, but:

1. Ward.  Saw him referred to as "flanker-Z," whatever that means.  Could see him getting more and more of the Z routes, as Sweed grows into the SE or flanker.
2. Holmes.  SE who is still growing into his role.  
3. Sweed.  Might adjust OK to being a third wideout with Ward and Holmes in the picture.  Get him reps early and often.
4. Baker.  The Ced Wilson role.  Could be utilized situationally, RZ stuff.
5. Reid (or Trannon, or UDFA).  Not going to see much PT anyway, but seems like some depth bubbling up here.

I guess part of the upside of having a green #3 is that you season him faster, rather than have a possible R1 talent languish as the #4 receiver.  Hell, some folks had him as the #1 WR in the whole draft.  Bumping him ahead of Washington makes the ROI on keeping Washington even less.  Why not get value now?  He's among the better #3 WRs in the league, maybe we can get a R4 in 2009, or a DL player?
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KeystoneKC
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 28, 2008 at 14:00 »

Quote
I have to believe that, considering our draft picks and FA pickups, we're seriously on the edge of showing the door to several guys.
« Last Edit: Apr 28, 2008 at 14:06 by KeystoneKC » Logged

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jpbucco
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 28, 2008 at 14:56 »

We shoulda cut Troy after his rookie year also....you my good man are a moron.
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Preacherman0
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« Reply #6 on: Apr 28, 2008 at 15:05 »

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I was looking over the roster at the Steeler site this morning. Before UDFA's, they show (9) wide-outs:

Flanker
H. Ward
N. Washington
W. Reid
J. Bloom
M. Trannon
G. Walker


Split End
S. Holmes
L. Sweed
D. Baker

I figure that (6) will make the roster, & another slides to the Practice Squad. Figuring Ward, Holmes, & Sweed as locks (I doubt they'd cut a #2 draft pick), I don't see three others that I'd like more than Nate or Willie. How would you rate 'em Preach?

In all honesty, this is how I would list our wideouts on the UN-official depth chart:

Flanker
Ward
J. Bloom
M. Trannon
G. Walker

Split End
S. Holmes
L. Sweed

Slot
Holmes
Heath Miller
Dixon

Fourth
N. Washington
D. Baker
W. Reid

Now, the exciting thing to me about this is that not all of these guys are officially WRs.  I believe that Dixon will become Slash II, and Miller will be flexed out much more, a la the Jags playoff game where he really made a dent.  With that in mind, we might be able to save a roster spot on WR.

I see us keeping in priority order:

Ward
Holmes
Sweed
Washington
Baker
Bloom

I list Bloom here, but really believe that his only chance to make the cut is if his return/STs skills prove valuable to us.  If he proves that he can catch, we may show Washington and/or Baker the door.

As for RB:

Parker
Mendenhall
Moore
Russell (I hope)

FB:
Davis (most likely)

I'm not a big fan of Davis, but Kreider (who is about my favorite player) is probably too old and too big of a cap hit for what he offers.  My hope is that perhaps Schmitt or Felton will be released and we can pick them up to challenge Davis.  If that is the case, Russell will be the odd man out.

 
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #7 on: Apr 28, 2008 at 15:46 »

Great post, Preach.  Really solid.  I don't agree with all, but excellent analysis.

I don't think I can set a receiver as flanker-only, slot-only, or split end-only.  There's some degree of flexibility in the starters' roles, and I expect the backups to be able to sub all spots as needed.  That said, Matt Trannon isn't going to be any great slot receiver, so there are certain skill set matchups.  

Ward can play flanker, but can also play slot.  Not a burner, so split end isn't his spot.  So let's say he's the starting flanker with Z flexibility.

Holmes is a guy who can play all three positions.  I think he could really excel playing primarily out of the slot.  Part of Ben's missing the big receiver may be that while Holmes has the speed, he gets a little small downfield: covering DBs close the window, which may have more to do with Ben than Holmes.  If you can just put it up there, the window's bigger.  Still, Holmes has the versatility and toughness to line up anywhere.  In a Welker kind of role, he could  be killer.

Washington looks like a flanker or split end.  Not sneaky enough to play slot, but has good speed.  

Sweed also looks like he could play flanker or split end.  Apparently a pretty smart kid, but physically thicker than Washington.  Is going to need to learn some ball skills technique and route running refinement, he's going to have some great mentors.  

I can see the mid-season 3-wide set as Ward at flanker, Holmes in the slot, and Sweed at split end, but with variations possible.  Miller makes four, and Washington is your Cedrick Wilson.

Others:
  • Dallas Baker.  I think Baker can fill in for Washington if we were ever to pursue a trade for Washington.  Would be a short-time fill-in until Sweed could take over, and frankly Sweed might be ready day 1 to be the #3.  
  • Willie Reid.  Do or die.  If he plays to potential, a guy who could be a nice little sparkplug slot guy.
  • Jeremy Bloom.  Will be locked in a battle with Reid and FA Dorien Bryant, as all three are smallish return men with slot skills.  
  • Dorien Bryant.  See above.  If I were handicapping, I'd rate the sparkplug guys as 1. Reid, 2. Bryant, 3. Bloom.  IMO, only one makes the cut.
  • Matt Trannon.  Could be a wild card.  I don't think he makes the cut, but he could make things interesting.
  • Walker.  Camp body.
I agree that Miller can operate out of the slot, and should be used that way more often.  At the very least, he needs to get more looks.  I don't know if I have him as a primary slot receiver, though.

Dixon might make a nice Randle-El type, but IMO he was worked out to compete at QB.  That's not to say they wouldn't use him for some trickeration from time to time.

Let's say we did trade Nate.  Here's a depth/alternates chart.

Flanker

Ward
Holmes
Sweed
Baker

Split End

Sweed
Holmes

Slot

Holmes
Reid/Bryant/Bloom

That's 5 WRs.  We could add Trannon or a second sparkplug for 6.  Working Dixon or Miller into some WR play as well.
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pensodyssey
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« Reply #8 on: Apr 28, 2008 at 20:04 »

Also, I don't buy the talk of Dixon being Slash 2.0.  What possible indication do we have that he can run a route, take a hit to the chops, or seal the corner?  Sure, pre-injury, he had great straightahead numbers.  So did Troy Edwards.  So did Skeets Nehemiah.  So do a thousand guys.  From what I saw of Dixon last year, dude's a damn good quarterback.  I think we drafted him with a view to those abilities; obviously not to replace Ben (who I think is going to be the best in the league in no more than four years), but to trade for picks, preferably high ones.  Think Matt Schaub, minus the rape stand.

Will we run a gimmick or two with him?  Sure.  But he's not the credible receiver Randle El was out of college, and therefore the deception will be more evident to the defense.  Also, and someone correct me if I'm wrong here (like that's nothing that doesn't need to be said on this board), I'm not recalling many trick plays from Tomlin, especially as compared to Cowher.  Or Cowhenhunt, maybe.

Alternately, come round four, Colbert realized he better have a guy can step in after his starting QB's been sacked eight times in the first half.  
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« Reply #9 on: Apr 28, 2008 at 21:32 »

I know many despise Nate, but the odds of a rookie WR coming in and displacing anyone other than other rookies is usually pretty unlikely.  Sweed would have to be the smartest cat ever, start studying now, and he would suddenly have to start running routes like a 30 year old Jerry Rice.

This is not to say that he won't make the roster and by season's end have a significant role, but there is about a 1% chance that is happening in training camp.
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