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Thread: Steelers Team Report

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    Default Steelers Team Report

    Steelers Team Report
    Yahoo! Sports


    The Steelers haven’t had a Pro-Bowl cornerback since Rod Woodson made it for the seventh time after the 1996 season. The only other cornerback to consistently make the Pro Bowl since the NFL merger in 1970 was Mel Blount, who made it for the fifth time after the 1981 season. J.T. Thomas made it once, after the 1976 season and that’s it for Steelers Pro-Bowl cornerbacks.

    They believe Ike Taylor is of that quality, but he’s now 30 and he’s an unrestricted free agent. Taylor wants to return and they want him to return but that remains to be seen. He has the size they prefer in their corners and he’s also their best coverage man. He has good ball awareness but has no hands as his 11 interceptions in eight seasons will attest.

    Even if Taylor does return, they need a cornerback badly. Bryant McFadden returned to start on the left side for them last season but he has severe shortcomings and was picked on aplenty, especially in the Super Bowl. William Gay lost his starting job from 2009 to play nickel last season and is below average. After that they have Keenan Lewis, a third-round draft pick in 2009 who has done little in two seasons. Crezdon Butler has some promise after playing sparingly as a rookie.

    If Taylor signs elsewhere, the Steelers would be in dire straits at the position. Their whole defensive scheme relies on them getting pressure on the quarterback and they are among the best at it. It’s why they succeed. But a quarterback with a quick release can kill them, as Tom Brady and Drew Brees did last season. An injury to Taylor would also be devastating.

    So they need to draft a cornerback and that likely will be done in the first round this year. But who? Director of football operations Kevin Colbert says this draft is deep at the position and a good one should fall to them at No. 31.

    The best might be Jimmy Smith of Colorado but the Steelers may already have taken him off their draft board because of character issues and what is seen as a poor attitude.

    Patrick Peterson of LSU and Prince Amukamara of Nebraska will be long gone, probably in the top 10 for both.

    That leaves Brandon Harris of Miami and Aaron Williams of Texas. Both have the qualities the Steelers covet in cornerbacks - good in coverage, good against the run. One may be drafted before the Steelers’ turn at No. 31 but they’re not both likely to go.

    So, which one? Harris is the more physical of the two but they are both aggressive. Harris is a couple inches shorter at 5-10 but stockier and with excellent speed. The Steelers won’t have to move up in the round to take one or the other and then they can get their offensive lineman in the second round and still have a third-rounder to perhaps go for another cornerback.

    You can’t have too many corners and the Steelers right now don’t have enough.


    • WR Hines Ward made his debut on “Dancing With the Stars” March 21, and TV ratings went through the roof in Pittsburgh.

    The show was the most-watched program that evening in Pittsburgh, and the 29.2 (338,000 people) rating was more than double what viewership normally is.

    At the league meeting the morning after Ward’s debut, coach Mike Tomlin, said he didn’t see the show but probably will. “If I’m home,” he said. “I’m not a big television watcher. I don’t even know what time it comes on. I got a few texts last night and that’s the only reason that I knew it was on. I think everybody was pretty encouraging about his performance. They said he did a nice job but that doesn’t surprise me.

    “I’m a supporter of Hines. This guy’s a competitor. Obviously he’s got some free time. It’s going to be entertaining if nothing else.”

    Asked if he would have a problem with Ward winning it all, which would keep him on the show until late May, Tomlin said, “Sure, as long as it doesn’t conflict with what I’ve got going on. At this point it doesn’t look like it’s going to conflict with what I’ve got going on.”

    Can he win? “Man, I wouldn’t count Hines out of any competition,” Tomlin said. “If there was a brain surgery competition I’m sure he’d educate himself and compete.”

    When Tomlin was asked about the health of S Troy Polamalu, Tomlin said, “I haven’t talked to Troy that much and that’s not out of the ordinary this time of year. He might be in a monastery.”

    Told Poalmalu was tweeting about Ward, Tomlin reiterated, “He might be tweeting from a monastery.”

    • Burt Lauten, the team’s No. 2 PR man, will serve as interim communications coordinator after Dave Lockett left the team after 13 seasons. Lauten is expected to get the job permanently.

    • The Steelers plan no layoffs, no furloughs and no cuts in pay. Team president Art Rooney said the Steelers have instituted a “salary freeze” in the organization.

    “We’re going to take it a week at a time,” Rooney said. “We’re not planning any large-scale layoffs or furloughs. Hopefully, we won’t get to that situation.”

    • Dan Rooney, Ambassador to Ireland, voiced his opposition to the proposed 18-game schedule last fall. In its last proposal, management took it off the table.

    “On our side, that was a fairly major concession,” Art Rooney said. “There were people on our side not happy about putting that offer off the table.”

    • Sharing a complex that works more like a duplex with Pitt can be advantageous for the Steelers at times like these. Each NFL team is permitted to have 30 draft prospects in for a visit but a rule allows teams to have players visit if they are in the same city and not count against that number.

    On Tuesday, seven Pitt Panthers walked next door and met with Steelers coaches and scouts: Wide receiver Jon Baldwin, defensive ends Jabaal Sheard and Greg Romeus, fullback Henry Hynoski, running back Dion Lewis, offensive tackle Jason Pinkston and safety Dom DiCicco.

    Quote To Note: “I think defensively it generally starts with the men up front. I think you look at how players are drafted, it bears that out. Big people go first. If you’re applying pressure to the quarterback, you don’t have to cover. If you’re stopping the run, you don’t have to cover.” - Coach Mike Tomlin on why cornerbacks rarely are selected with the first five picks in the draft.


    Other Team Needs

    Offensive line: Pittsburgh will welcome back their two starting tackles they lost last season, Max Starks and Willie Colon. And Flozell Adams also will return. But they need a tackle, either on the right or the left, to prep for the 2012 season at the very least. Starks had neck surgery, Colon’s Achilles was torn and Adams will be 36.

    Defensive line: Even though they added DE Ziggy Hood on the first round in 2009, the Steelers need to keep stocking their line. End Brett Keisel will be 33 at the start of the season, end Aaron Smith is 35 and NT Casey Hampton turns 34 with backup NT Chris Hoke 35.

    Wide receiver: Not really a need because they have Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and two promising rookies from last season in Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. But another first-class wide receiver would always be welcome and they would find room for him.

    Medical Watch: No updates.

    Franchise Player

    • LB LaMarr Woodley (re-signed).

    Transition Player: None.

    Players Re-signed

    • LB LaMarr Woodley: FFA: 1 yr, terms unknown.

    Players Acquired: None.

    Players Lost: None.
    Last edited by bleedBnG58; Mar-26-2011 at 02:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Steelers Team Report

    Texas CB Curtis Brown in demand
    The National Football Post

    University of Texas cornerback Curtis Brown is in heavy demand with several upcoming visits and workouts, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

    That includes the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns.

    Brown ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds at the NFL scouting combine and registed a 10-8 broad jump and a 38-inch vertical leap.

    He's regarded as a good fit for man or zone coverage schemes.

    He was named second-team all-conference last season, recording 26 tackles, one for a loss, an interception and six pass deflections.

    As a junior, he was named honorable-mention All-Big 12 Conference with 53 tackles, 15 on special teams, an interception returned for a touchdown, a forced fumble, blocked punt and 15 pass deflections.

    A four-year starter, Brown finished with 120 career tackles, two interceptions, three tackles for losses and 35 career special-teams tackles. He returned 14 punts for 199 yards.

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    Default Re: Steelers Team Report

    Kenrick Ellis worked out today for the Patriots
    The National Football Post

    Massive Hampton defensive lineman Kenric Ellis worked out for the New England Patriots today, according to his agent, Howard Shatsky.

    Ellis is also is drawing serious interest from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.

    The 6-foot-5, 346-pounder has drawn second-round grades from several draft analysts.

    Per a source, Ellis interviewed well at the NFL scouting combine and was accountable for past transgressions that got him dismissed from South Carolina (reportedly failed drug tests) before transferring to Hampton and being suspended for one game.

    "We like the kid," an NFL source said. "We were impressed with him."

    Ellis addressed the off-field problems at the NFL scouting combine during an interview with a crowd of media.

    "I had character issues," he acknowledged. "I had disciplinary problems. They did everything they could. It just didn't work out for me. I had to get out of there.

    "I had to look within myself and change a lot of things within myself and around me. And after I changed those things, it was pretty much easy after that. I had to realize that I had a problem, and I confronted it and overcame it."

    Ellis said he wasn't allowed to play in one game due to a paperwork issue.

    "I had NCAA violations, not even violations," he said. "I had to get some things clear with the NCAA. I didn’t have my paperwork in on time. So I wasn’t necessarily suspended. I just didn’t have my paperwork."

    Ellis declined to elaborate on what happened at South Carolina to reporters, but addressed the issues with NFL teams.

    "Be honest and upfront, that's all I could do," Ellis said. "Make everything transparent. Be honest, and hopefully it will work out.

    "Being that I went through those things, I feel that I have grown and I have matured into a different human being. Where I was three years ago,m definitely not anymore. I feel like I'm a grown man."

    As far as specifics, Ellis didn't want to get into details.

    "I had disciplinary issues," he said. "I violated team policies."

    Ellis boosted his stock with a strong showing at the NFLPA All-Star game formerly known as Texas vs. the Nation.

    He played all of last season with a high-ankle sprain, displaying his toughness.

    At the combine, Ellis ran the 40-yard dash in 5.19 seconds with a 1.64 10-yard split and bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times.

    In addition to his motor, what else does he bring to the table?

    "Just a physical specimen," Ellis said. I'm 340-plus pounds. I'm a big guy. I clog up the middle. I love to play the run. A run-stuffing defensive tackle."

    The All-MEAC selection recorded 94 tackles, 15 for losses and two sacks last season.

    He recorded 16 tackles against Howard.

    For his career, Ellis recorded 186 tackles, 37 1/2 for losses and seven sacks.

    "I'm relentless," Ellis said. "I just try to hustle to the ball and dominate whoever's in front of me, and do my job."

    Born in Jamaica, Ellis signed with South Carolina and was named a starter before getting in trouble.

    He chose the Gamecocks over Tennessee, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State and Rutgers.

    Ellis said he's not concerned about coming from a small school.

    "Every time when I used to be at Hampton, I'd watch Kendall Langford," he said. "He just gave us hope. Small-school guys, we're not on TV every week. Just with him doing it, it gave us hope that we could do it. Kendall was a good player. So I try to emulate what Kendall did, being strong in the weight room, working hard and trying to be just like him. I try to emulate my game after Kendall. He was a much better athlete."

    Ellis said the heaviest he's ever been was roughly 360 to 365 pounds.

    He could fit in well on a 3-4 team as a two-technique or five-technique with his size and athleticism to provide an anchor presence at the line of scrimmage. There aren't a lot of nose guards with his dimensions in the NFL.

    "I'm here to fill the shortage," Ellis said. "Whatever they need me to do, I'm here to fill that void."

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    Default Re: Steelers Team Report

    Ravens work out cornerback Buster Skrine today
    The National Football Post

    University of Tennessee-Chattanooga cornerback Buster Skrine conducted a private workout today for the Baltimore Ravens.

    Skrine has upcoming meetings and workouts with the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Skrine ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine with an unofficial 4.29 clock with other stopwatches recording him between 4.34 and 4.37 seconds.

    Slightly underized at 5-foot-9, 186 pounds, Skrine is projected as a middle-round draft selection who's on the rise.

    "He loves football, he's an unbelievable worker," Tennessee-Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman said. "He has a great work ethic, he takes coaching. He's one of the best that I've ever been around in 30 years of coaching. He's a great kid. It didn't take long for us to see that burst. He picked a ball off and it was like he was shot out of the cannon. He has special gifts.

    "It's not just the speed. He has great hips and feet. He tested off the charts. He represented himself well at the combine. We've been told he handled himself in individual meetings. The teams were very impressed."

    The Ravens attended Skrine's Pro Day campus workout Wednesday along with 14 other NFL teams, which included the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals.

    The Chicago Bears and Jaguars sent secondary coaches and had him conduct individual drills.

    An all-conference selection, Skrine had the best 60-yard shuttle and finished second in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill at the combine.

    He bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times and registered a 37-inch vertical leap.

    "Buster is proud of this university and always will be proud of it," Huesman said. "Buster's a unique person. He lights up a room. I've never had one issue with him. He's never been close to being involved in anything where he had to sit in my office and explain himself.

    "Can Buster play press coverage against taller receivers? I don't know. That's the NFL's buiness. I did say that whoevever takes him, he's making their team. I have no question about that and he'll play in the NFL a long time. I've seen guys with great ability not even last one year, but they don't have his type of work ethic."

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