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Author Topic: Camp Position Battles  (Read 1913 times)
steelerfaninCO
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« on: Jul 27, 2008 at 09:21 »

So, with the start of camp today, there are some position battles shaping up. Most obvious is at LG. Kemo seems to have a foot in the door here, but will KS and Mahan also make a run? Marvel looks to be the LT, but other than that there will be competition for the remaing spots. The Center battle between Hartwig and Mahan is going to be fierce, but as long as Hartwig isn't a POS he should come out on top. Starks and Colon will be going at it for RG as well.

Then you have Sweed vs Washington. We all know where this will eventually wind up, but just when will Sweed move to #3? If Nate keeps improving, he makes an ok #3, and a very solid #4.

On the other side of the ball, Foote is supposedly hearing Timmons footsteps. We'll see about that. The FS battle should be interesting. How heathly is Clark? Will the bruised and embarrassed Anthony Smith be able to recover?

Most of the roster seems pretty set, but along with practically the entire OL, there are going to be some interesting battles in Latrobe.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 27, 2008 at 10:36 »

IMO the biggest battle outside of LG is Townshend v. McFadden.  Should be very hotly contested.

Don't know that FWP will be much in competition with Mendenhall, as it seems we have the luxury of easing the rookie in, so the competitions will be FWP v. FWP and RM v. RM...  

There are some interesting depth battles to be resolved, too.  IMO, the entire DL depth is up for grabs.  McBean needs to show NOW.  Kirschke's over and Eason never was; can Hokie hang on?  Can the trio of UDFA DL make a show?

The one competition, wide fucking open, that scares the bejesus outta me...  return men.  Moore looks to be a solid addition as PR, but will he also return kickoffs?  We have guys like Bloom, Reid, Marion, etc., who might be able to hang on the roster if they can just return kickoffs.  Hell, even Mendenhall may get some work there.

Should be an interesting camp.  No "new coach" drama, no unsigned picks, no contract controversies.  Just settle in and get to work.
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SCacalaki
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 27, 2008 at 12:40 »

RT will be interesting.  Colon received the nod over Starks last year, presumably because Tomlin/Coach Z felt Colon was better.

Starks filled in at LT for the last few games when Marvel Smith was out with an injury.  I thought Starks was okay at LT.  

In the off-season, Starks was given the transition tag at $7M for this year, though he's not guaranteed anything on the field.  

Talent v. $$$...and in Starks' case, a lot of $$$.  

My preference would be for Starks to play RT and Colon move to LG.  

Kemo has to be about as anti-Faneca as is possible.  Last listing I saw Kemo at was 344#...I assume that means at least 355#.  No way he can pull the way Faneca or any other smaller guard can.  I expect Colon would be a bit better equipped to pull and keep the same style run game in place.  

Colon and Starks on the field is better than Kemo and Colon/Starks IMO.  

I don't know if Hartwig will be any better than Mahan.  I thought Mahan would do a decent job.  Stapleton might be good but will have it rough, despite the talent he likely has, in his first year calling the shots along the OL.  

For Washington v. Sweed, my guess is Washington remains the #3 but that Sweed is used often inside the 20.  I recall how much difficulty Santonio Holmes had his rook year with the routes.  I would expect the same for any rook WR.  But I do expect, much like #89 was used heavily in the EZ early last year, Sweed will see plenty of looks inside the 20 yard line.  My guess is 5 TDs for Sweed in 08.  Moving forward, Washington walks and Sweed moves into the #3.  

Moore should be good on PR.  We haven't had a good KR since ARE.  Though, I would say the STs unit has been bad on both returns and coverage in the past two years.  

The advantage of Mendenhall will come if/when the postseason arrives.  If we can keep Parker between 13-18 carries a game, he'll be well rested.  

I hope Sepulveda continues to improve.  That could greatly help STs.  

Also hope that Reed keeps up his good work.  
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SCacalaki
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« Reply #3 on: Jul 27, 2008 at 18:24 »

From Wex's site, Hampton will start off on the PUP list due to reporting to camp out of shape.  

Others on the PUP are Polamalu and Kemoeatu, both due to recovering from minor injury/ailment.
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LambertsFrontTeeth
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« Reply #4 on: Jul 27, 2008 at 18:50 »

Quote
Also hope that Reed keeps up his good work.
Yes, Willie is all ready for another year of polishing wood with his ass.  
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« Reply #5 on: Jul 27, 2008 at 18:52 »

the way faneca moved around it is hard to imagine not much pulling, but from the few times i actually watched Kemo (granted it was against Balt and the preseason, and i don't know much about football) it looked like he was just blowing open holes on his side of the line..

He just seemed to be absolutely mauling anyone that came into, or around that lane..

Not the same style but, if he continues to do so, still effective in the run game..  
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steelerfaninCO
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« Reply #6 on: Jul 27, 2008 at 20:08 »

Seems like Kemo can run block, but the real question is can he help protect BR effectively.

Also to clarify, I meant Starks and Colon would battle for RT, not RG as I originally posted. What about an OL consisting of Smith, Simmons at LG, Hartwig, Starks at RG, and Colon at RT?
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #7 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 08:10 »

Quote
Quote
Also hope that Reed keeps up his good work.
Yes, Willie is all ready for another year of polishing wood with his ass.
Funnys as shit, but methinks Scac meant Jeffie.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #8 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 08:13 »

I think Kemo will blow up guys one-on-one, but may have trouble with picking up movement and stunts.  He'll be rgeat for 5 yards, but if you need him out on the perimeter chipping blocks you may need to wait a bit for him to get there.  Pros: big and strong; cons: slow and dim?
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steelerfaninCO
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« Reply #9 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 09:18 »

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I think Kemo will blow up guys one-on-one, but may have trouble with picking up movement and stunts.  He'll be rgeat for 5 yards, but if you need him out on the perimeter chipping blocks you may need to wait a bit for him to get there.  Pros: big and strong; cons: slow and dim?
Nice avatar Finny. " Hi, I'm McLovin and I'd like to buy some..(Pow!)"


I am really interested to see how the FWP/RM combo is used. I am sure we will see FWP in a single back set. And Davis will line up as FB sometimes. But the possibilities when both of them are in the BF are limitless( so to speak). RM could line up as FB and take a quick handoff. The guy can catch too. Imagine them both coming out of the backfield and running routes? Could be devastating. I'm not sure that BA is the right man to effectively work all these options, but he has got to be excited about it.
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LambertsFrontTeeth
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« Reply #10 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 09:19 »

Quote
Quote
Quote
Also hope that Reed keeps up his good work.
Yes, Willie is all ready for another year of polishing wood with his ass.
Funnys as shit, but methinks Scac meant Jeffie.
Yeah, I knew that, but I couldn't help myself.  

I still think that Willie REID should be utilized to return all kicks and punts...SO THERE.
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« Reply #11 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 10:39 »

Is anyone gonna be at camp this week? Me and a buddy are headin up wednesday and thursday. Might be good to drink a beer with some of ya! :beer:  
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #12 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 10:49 »

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Is anyone gonna be at camp this week? Me and a buddy are headin up wednesday and thursday. Might be good to drink a beer with some of ya! :beer:
Can't do the weekdays this year.  Looking more like the last Saturday for us...
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sage
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« Reply #13 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 12:57 »

Quote
Quote
Is anyone gonna be at camp this week? Me and a buddy are headin up wednesday and thursday. Might be good to drink a beer with some of ya! :beer:
Can't do the weekdays this year.  Looking more like the last Saturday for us...
You're not usin the recent b-day as an excuse are ya? oo)  
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #14 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 13:22 »

Nah, took it easy this weekend.

With the job change, I don't have much vacation time accrued, and am saving that for the 10th anniversary this fall.

 
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #15 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 13:27 »

With Kemo and Pola on the PUP with minor dings, and Hamp on PUP for too many big snacks, how will that affect the early going of camp?

Who will get reps at LG?  My guess is Stapleton.  Could be a big boost for a guy who looks about a year away.  Colon would benefit from some time at guard, too, but will likely be battling at RT.  Mahan at LG = who gives a fuck.

IMO, Smith would benefit from getting some SS reps.  I still think he's a helluva hitter, who just needs to play smarter.  If Clark wins out the FS spot, it'd be a shame to have Pola go down and have Carter do fill in with Smith available.  I think Smith could do really well there.

In place of Hamp, we'll prolly see Hoke, but I'd like to see what Prince or Clement could do at the nose.  These UDFA DL guys are interesting...
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« Reply #16 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 14:29 »

Quote
With Kemo and Pola on the PUP with minor dings, and Hamp on PUP for too many big snacks, how will that affect the early going of camp?

Who will get reps at LG?  My guess is Stapleton.  Could be a big boost for a guy who looks about a year away.  Colon would benefit from some time at guard, too, but will likely be battling at RT.  Mahan at LG = who gives a fuck.

IMO, Smith would benefit from getting some SS reps.  I still think he's a helluva hitter, who just needs to play smarter.  If Clark wins out the FS spot, it'd be a shame to have Pola go down and have Carter do fill in with Smith available.  I think Smith could do really well there.

In place of Hamp, we'll prolly see Hoke, but I'd like to see what Prince or Clement could do at the nose.  These UDFA DL guys are interesting...
Clipped from www.theinsideronpitts burghsports.com

12:44 p.m. A lot of emails coming in about Willie Reid. Word is Reid got into a skirmish with Antony Smith which is nothing new when it comes to Smith. He's always head hunting in camp. Speaking of Reid, he will battle Dallas Baker for the #5 spot. Right now I'd say Baker has the edge. What Reid has going for is he returns kicks and if he can resemble the player he was in college then he may earn himself a roster spot but he has do have a very good camp and perform very well in the preseason games.

12:35 p.m. Timmons and Mendehall looked very good in drills this morning. One source told me Mendenhall has the look of a superstar. Takes pride in what he does. Timmons seems more confident and you could see it on the field. He has also showed up to camp in great shape.
 
12:20 p.m. On the offensive line (1st team) the Steelers went with LT Smith, LG Essex, C Mahan, RG Simmons and RT Colon. Many expected to see Mahan at LG today and Hartwig at center but that wasn't the case.

11:35 a.m. - Word is Kendall Simmons, Max Starks and Willie Colon appear to be in excellent shape. Troy Polamalu is being listed as day to day. Could see him practicing tomorrow but Wednesday is a likely target date. Polamalu did watch the first session on the sidelines. LG Chris Kemoeatu was not on the field and the Steelers are being very mum on his situation. There appears to be little concern about Kemoeatu's injury. Practice updates in a bit

Posted by DePaoli Editor-in-Chief of TIOPS at 11:47 AM



I'm not all that shocked that Mahan started at center, I expect it's his job to lose. Essex starting at guard is interesting though. I wasn't even considering him. I thought the natural move would be Starks to RT and Colon to LG.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #17 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 14:46 »

Way too early to yak up Mendenhall as a superstar, although in my draft rankings I had him as 1a and Stewart as 1b, with McFadden playing the role of Reggie Bush (overrated speedster).  I think RM could be special, but how quickly will he get worked in and to what degree...?

I've been a big Reid supporter.  I'm not holding my breath.

That OL config is odd, for sure.  But wha if Essex comes in and kicks ass as a guard?  
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« Reply #18 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 15:00 »

I don't care who plays where on the OL, just so the decision is made early on and the unit has time to jell before the games start counting.

Many of the predraft publications had RM above Stewart as well. I assumed he'd be gone in the first 10 picks. To me, it seems like they talking about his work ethic and how he carries himself when they say he "has the look of a superstar". He comes off as very humble and doesn't have that sense of entitlement. I can't wait to see him play.
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« Reply #19 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 15:26 »

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I don't care who plays where on the OL, just so the decision is made early on and the unit has time to jell before the games start counting.

Many of the predraft publications had RM above Stewart as well. I assumed he'd be gone in the first 10 picks. To me, it seems like they talking about his work ethic and how he carries himself when they say he "has the look of a superstar". He comes off as very humble and doesn't have that sense of entitlement. I can't wait to see him play.
I see what you're saying.

Kid's got some guns, that's for sure.
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SCacalaki
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« Reply #20 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 18:05 »

From the genius at TIOPS...

My source tells me the battle at center is looking decidedly in Sean Mahan's favor after the first day of practice.

How many days of camp?  Two?
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« Reply #21 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 21:53 »

I hope Sweed is the real deal....

Need him to show some skills since its quite possibly Hines's last year in the black and gold.
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« Reply #22 on: Jul 28, 2008 at 22:01 »

Interesting story on the O-Line ....  "Such a veteran group"????

Sounds like there was some unhappy campers, especially since that line implies the "veteran group" has now moved on.  You figure the O-line has nowhere to go but up.

http://news.steelers.com/article/92062
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aj_law
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« Reply #23 on: Jul 29, 2008 at 11:30 »

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From the genius at TIOPS...

My source tells me the battle at center is looking decidedly in Sean Mahan's favor after the first day of practice.[/b]
 
I'm hoping that Hartwig was just given the day off...
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #24 on: Jul 29, 2008 at 11:35 »

Quote
Quote
From the genius at TIOPS...

My source tells me the battle at center is looking decidedly in Sean Mahan's favor after the first day of practice.[/b]
 
I'm hoping that Hartwig was just given the day off...
Read that 'Wig got some 1st team time late on 11 x 11s, but on second team got dominated by Hokie.  FWIW.  I mean, it's Tuesday fer pity's sake.
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« Reply #25 on: Jul 29, 2008 at 12:18 »

I would really like to see the line work itself out to:

LT: Marvel
LG: Colon
C - Stapleton
RG - Hartwig
RT - Starks

At this point I have no faith in Kemo, since he has already been given 1-2 chances at beating out Simmons and couldn't do it.  Speaking of Simmons, he is only slightly less scary than Mahan.  I think that new blood in Stapleton is needed, and by all accounts he looks like he has a place in this league.  Why block him with hartwig, even for a little while?  Hartwig can get rid of Simmons.

I honestly hope Reid wins one of the return jobs and keeps it.  

I would also like to see Smith get some reps at SS - it seems to fit in with his mindset and having him as Troy insurance sounds good.
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« Reply #26 on: Jul 29, 2008 at 12:33 »

Quote
From the genius at TIOPS...

My source tells me the battle at center is looking decidedly in Sean Mahan's favor after the first day of practice.
:huh2:  :insane:  :suicide:
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