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    Default Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly
    Sunday, January 17, 2010
    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Peter Diana/Post-GazetteRooney: Speed up the developmentRebuilding is not in the Steelers' vocabulary for 2010. They prefer the word revitalize. As Mike Tomlin reshapes his coaching staff for the first time after three seasons as head coach, the team's president looks to younger players to help keep the Steelers in contention.

    And he would like to see the coaching staff develop those players more quickly than they have been.

    Art Rooney II said while he is happy with how the Steelers have acquired talent through the draft the past five-plus years, he'd prefer to see those players contribute more.

    "I do think that one of the things we have to do is probably get better at developing our younger players," Rooney told the Post-Gazette. "That's something we have to think about and make sure we're doing what we need to do to have guys being able to step in maybe a little earlier. And over the next year or two, there's no question we have some age on the defense and there's going to be some turnover.

    "We'll see in the next year or two how some of these draft choices play out, but we think we have some good young guys on this roster who can step up and make a difference."

    No draft pick has become a regular starter as a rookie since tight end Heath Miller in 2005. It took 2007 first-round pick Lawrence Timmons into his third season before he started at linebacker. Rookie wide receiver Mike Wallace became a productive No. 3 receiver this season and undrafted rookie Ramon Foster started four games at guard.


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    Key dates
    Feb. 24: NFL scouting combine, Indianapolis.

    March 5: Free-agency period begins throughout the NFL.

    April 22: Day 1 of three-day NFL draft, New York.

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    But the list of young players languishing on the bench are many, including two third-round picks this past season, guard Kraig Urbik and cornerback Keenan Lewis.

    Of the four top draft choices in 2008, only halfback Rashard Mendenhall contributed over the past two seasons. Second-round pick Limas Sweed played little at wide receiver, third-rounder Bruce Davis was released after one season and fourth-rounder Tony Hills spent the past two seasons mostly inactive for games.

    As the Steelers defense ages, it becomes more important to develop young players to take over.

    "We have some things we have to address," Rooney said. "I think No. 1, we have to get some of our younger players ready to go, and I think we have some young players who can step in and be contributors. I think we're all comfortable that there are some guys on the team now who can step in and make a difference next year."

    Count Rooney among those who thought the extended losses to injuries in 2009 of safety Troy Polamalu and defensive end Aaron Smith made a difference.

    "Certainly keeping certain guys healthy for most of the season would go a long way. In terms of Troy, you never want to put it all on one guy, the absence of one guy, because you have to be able to overcome injuries. But losing one of your best players is a tough blow for any team, combined with Aaron Smith. Keeping guys healthy is certainly something you hope happens.

    "Beyond that, we have to have a good draft. For us, that's a key piece to the puzzle. We'll be drafting a little higher than we have been this year and so we have to do a good job with the draft and have some guys come in who will help in the near future, not right away but in the near future."

    Rooney addressed several other topics:

    • Kevin Colbert, the director of football operations, has one year left on his contract and often is rumored to be joining Bill Cowher if he takes another coaching job. Omar Khan, the team's lead negotiator and salary cap monitor, is one of two finalists for the general manager's job with the Seattle Seahawks.


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    "No. 1, as far as I know, Bill's not pursuing a job. We'd love to keep our people. We have good people, we'd like to keep them. By the same token, when you have good people, they're going to have opportunities once in a while. We'll deal with it if changes come. You just have to be prepared to adjust if something like that happens."

    • Mike Tomlin has two years left on his contract. Traditionally, the Steelers negotiate an extension with their coach heading into that period.

    "I don't like to speculate on what we're going to do with the coach, but let's just say we certainly hope and believe Mike's going to be here for the long term and we'll deal with contract situations as they come up. But we're very happy with Mike, and I think he's here for the long run."

    • On why he believed his Super Bowl champs, at 6-2, went into a tailspin in five consecutive losses that began at home to Cincinnati and included setbacks to heavy underdogs Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland:

    "Somewhere in the middle of that season I think we lost sight of the goal a little bit. We lost sight of the opportunity we had to do something special.

    "You know, it's a long season, and I kind of look at the Cincinnati game and the Kansas City game as sort of two key games. I think our guys were really, let's say, disappointed coming off that Cincinnati game. Getting swept by Cincinnati is not something we're used to having happen. And I think there was a little carryover from that game to the next game and you can't afford to do that. You can't afford to go into a game against any opponent and take them lightly or worry about the last game. You have to be prepared every week in this league or somebody's going to jump up and get you.

    "I think those two games started a little bit of a snowball that was hard to reverse. Thank God we did get it reversed because it would have been awful tough to lose the rest of them. But that was a tough stretch.

    "I think we just have to be prepared to make adjustments and address things that we did not quite get right and I think we're doing that."



    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10017...#ixzz0crA0C5JQ
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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    I 100% agree about rookies/2nd year guys NEEDING to be involved and coached up a hell of a lot faster. I think Lebeau has in his mind that he wants the draft picks to earn their way into his lineup so he basically dismisses them as incapable. You can't tell me that first round pick Ziggy Hood couldn't have started immediately when Aaron Smith went down. Every single thing I have read about him is that he is VERY smart, VERY hard working, and I think I even read where Aaron Smith AND John Mitchell said he was the best young defensive lineman to come in since they had been there.

    I would go as far as to say I think they purposefully don't let rookies play...kind of like a fraternity. You gotta earn your way onto the field as a rookie.

    BJ Raji played for GB as a rookie. Clay Matthews played for GB as a rookie. They run the 3-4. They ended up being the 2nd ranked defense in the NFL......5th against the pass and 1st against the run.

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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    This has been a problem with the Steelers for awhile,I.M.O. Deshea Townsend,for one was a guy I felt should have been starting about 2 seasons before he actually did several years back.
    Are these morons getting dumber or just louder-Mayor Quimby

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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    A little late to the party Art. I have, and others have, been talking about his for the last 2-3+ years. Drafting a guy and saying..."ooo...look at the talent" and then not giving him any chance to go out and learn etc is a complete waste. People say that sitting and learning behind great players is helpful. Helpful for whom? The great players probably...they get more chance to shine. It certainly hasn't proven to help the youngsters. Looks like guys like Adrian Peterson, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Darrelle Revis, Michael Oher, BJ Raji, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Brian Orakpo, Brian Cushing, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin....and on and on and on and on...these kids went out and produced for their teams.

    The problem is that I do not think the Steelers actually select players who are ready to come in and play right away. I think that Hood could turn into a good DE...but he is not/was not ready to step into that void right away...which is sad because he was a First round pick. But when you have injuries and your season is spiraling out of control...and all your coach can do is offer stupid platitudes...why not play the young guys? Why not play Keenan Lewis? What's the worst that can happen? He get beat repeatedly and lose confidence? Well buck up kid...you're in the big leagues now...and its not like William Gay was doing much better.

    I have talked for a long time about how I do not think that Colbert and the coaching staff is on the same page in terms of their picks. The Bruce Davis pick never had a chance of working out. I said it the day of the draft and I meant it...it just wasn't going to work out. The coaches do NOT seem like teachers (unfortunately) and that was what was going to be needed for Davis...a LOT of teaching. Furthermore, what we expect out of our OLBs is just not anything that Davis was good at. Likewise we continue to draft players that just dont seem like great fits for what our coaches end up doing. Just like coaches have to put player in the best positions to succeed...the FO needs to put players and coaches together who have the best chance of success...and that has often-times not been the case here.

    It will be interesting to see where they go and what they do this offseason. I am ALREADY troubled by Art II saying that he thinks we already have people who can step up...b/c they are UNPROVEN...and that should NOT preclude the team from going out and acquiring more talent. The D needs revamped...badly...and I think that the draft SHOULD be heavily D-oriented. If we think that we have some player on the roster who will fill holes and do not draft how we should...we could be in trouble for some time. Look at our offense...there are not a ton of areas where a rookie can come in and have an impact and even be a starter 1-2-3 years down the line really--especially with some depth that we have in certain areas--but the D is another story. A great ILB, DT, DE, CB, and S could all have an impact in year one or shortly thereafter. Its important to realize this and draft accordingly.
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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoray61 View Post
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    This has been a problem with the Steelers for awhile,I.M.O. Deshea Townsend,for one was a guy I felt should have been starting about 2 seasons before he actually did several years back.
    I think that the Pittsburgh Steelers have two guards who are more able to do what our offensive line needs them to do and be solid starters for us...on our bench. I think that both Foster and Urbik could start for this team...but we now have Kemo signed to a long-term contract and we have Essex starting at RG. If I were the team...I might let Willie Colon walk...put Essex at RT and plug in Foster or Urbik at RG.
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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    I think that Hood could turn into a good DE...but he is not/was not ready to step into that void right away...which is sad because he was a First round pick.
    What makes you think, or what did Hood show as reasons, that he wasn't ready to play for you to make this statement? Did he play up to an Aarons Smiths standards? No. Did he play just as well as Kirshke or Eason? Yes. Therefore he should have been starting so he would be an absolute asset this coming season instead of 'still learning'....'still getting used to the speed of the game' this season. I thought Ziggy played well when give a chance to get in there over Kirshke or Eason.

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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
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    What makes you think, or what did Hood show as reasons, that he wasn't ready to play for you to make this statement? Did he play up to an Aarons Smiths standards? No. Did he play just as well as Kirshke or Eason? Yes. Therefore he should have been starting so he would be an absolute asset this coming season instead of 'still learning'....'still getting used to the speed of the game' this season. I thought Ziggy played well when give a chance to get in there over Kirshke or Eason.
    I truly dont think that Hood was able, right away, to do enough run-defensively that we need from our DEs to do.

    Do I think, though, that it would have been better to probably throw him in there and see what happens? YES! I basically said they should do that with their guys...same thing with Lewis/Burnett.

    The point I was trying to make about Hood is that I just dont think that the Steelers do a good enough job of drafting for their coaches-prerogatives if that makes sense.
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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    I would like to see rookies (especially high draft picks) play sooner, but as it was talked about adnauseum before this past season, it's a situation that is good in as much as we've not necessarily NEEDED them to start right away. They can get a grip on the league and their position. Now, if circumstances were to change, well....

    Kevin Colbert, the director of football operations, has one year left on his contract and often is rumored to be joining Bill Cowher if he takes another coaching job. Omar Khan, the team's lead negotiator and salary cap monitor, is one of two finalists for the general manager's job with the Seattle Seahawks.
    Love him or hate him, Colbert has gotten the job done... I heard rumors that Cowher is holding out for the Giants (he's tight with the Mara family), and that the position may be available after next season. I could see Colbert leaving after next season to join forces with Cowher in New York... If Colbert and Khan both leave, that is a major void to fill, and could mean alot of trouble for our Steelers.
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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    I would like to see rookies (especially high draft picks) play sooner, but as it was talked about adnauseum before this past season, it's a situation that is good in as much as we've not necessarily NEEDED them to start right away. They can get a grip on the league and their position. Now, if circumstances were to change, well....



    Love him or hate him, Colbert has gotten the job done... I heard rumors that Cowher is holding out for the Giants (he's tight with the Mara family), and that the position may be available after next season. I could see Colbert leaving after next season to join forces with Cowher in New York... If Colbert and Khan both leave, that is a major void to fill, and could mean alot of trouble for our Steelers.
    If you look at it though, HAS Colbert done a good job from early 2000 on?

    -Horrible CB depth.
    -Defensive line is as old as any in the league with only Ziggy Hood as a youngster in the wings.
    -Horrible S depth - both SS and FS.
    -Absolutley no ILB depth.
    -Absolutley no OLB depth.
    -Pick after pick after pick spent on WR until Wallace finally paid off.
    -Pick after pick after pick spent on OL and our OL is still bad.
    -Nobody waiting in the wings for when Hartings retired.
    -Pretty much HAD to pay Starks a boatload because there absolutely was nobody else.

    I know the default answer is that we won 2 Superbowls with Colberts players, but I think the core of both Superbowl teams were players drafted in the early part of 2000 or before and at this point, we are looking pretty **** thin at far too many positions with absolutley no impact players being groomed behind the long toothed veterans. We MAY have enough depth at CB if either Gay can come back in year 2 of starting and totally complete a 180 this offseason, or if Lewis or Burnett come back in year 2 and are ready to go. Mundy is no starter. Sorry. His coverage skills blow. We have NOBODY at SS behind Troy.

    In this draft/free agency we **** well better address FS-SS-ILB-OLB-DL. I wouldn't draft a single offensive player to be honest.

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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    If you look at it though, HAS Colbert done a good job from early 2000 on?
    I.M.O. YES!!! Two Super Bowl wins and numerous playoff appearances this decade. Look at all the teams that draft in the top ten year after year,and don't even sniff the playoffs. In the salary cap era,you're going to have holes some where on your team. The Steelers are in a position where they compete every season. This season was disappointing but I'm confident that can bounce back next season and compete for a championship and that's due in part to Colbert.
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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    For the most part, I think he (Colbert) has done a good job... Yea, you can look at specific situations and positions and question it, but overall, as a complete body of work, I think he has done well... And yea, I know that it's debatable. But I will say that we need to address a few issues that have been neglected. OL and DL to be specific. Yea, you could toss-in a corner position that can't catch a ball and hawking is a faint memory... Just my humble opinion.
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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    Just for discussion purposes....

    [HIGH-LIGHT]LDE[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: Aaron Smith - 34 years old in April of 2010 – Drafted in1999

    Backup: Travis Kirschke – 36 years old in September of 2010 – Signed as UFA in 2004

    [HIGH-LIGHT]RDE[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: Brett Keisel – 32 years old in September of 2010 – Drafted in 2002

    Backup: Nick Eason – 30 years old in May of 2010 – Signed as UFA in 2007
    Backup: Ziggy Hood – 23 years old in February of 2010 – Drafted in 2009
    Backup: Ra’Shon Harris – 24 years old in August of 2010 – Drafted in 2009
    Backup: Steve McLendon – 24 years old as of January of 2010 – Signed as UDFA 2009

    [HIGH-LIGHT]NT[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: Casey Hampton – 33 years old in September of 2010 – Drafted in 2001

    Backup: Chris Hoke – 34 years old in April of 2010 – Signed as UDFA in 2001
    Backup: Scott Paxson – 27 years old in February of 2010 – Signed as UDFA in 2006

    [HIGH-LIGHT]LOLB[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: LaMarr Woodley – 26 years old in November of 2010 – Drafted in 2007 draft

    Backup: Andre Frazier – 28 years old in June of 2010 – Signed as UDFA in 2005

    [HIGH-LIGHT]ROLB[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: James Harrison – 32 years old in May of 2010 – Originally signed as UDFA in 2002

    Backup: Patrick Bailey – 25 years old in November of 2010 – Signed as UDFA in 2007

    [HIGH-LIGHT]LILB[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: James Farrior – 35 years old as of January 2010 – Signed as UFA in 2002

    Backup: Keyaron Fox – 28 years old as of January 2010 – Signed as UFA in 2008

    [HIGH-LIGHT]RILB[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: Lawrence Timmons – 24 years old in May of 2010 – Drafted in 2007

    [HIGH-LIGHT]LCB[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: Ike Taylor – 30 years old in May of 2010 – Drafted in 2003

    Backup: Joe Burnett – 24 years old in November 2010 – Drafted in 2009

    [HIGH-LIGHT]RCB[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: William Gay – 25 years old as of January 2010 – Drafted in 2007

    Backup: Deshea Townsend – 35 years old in September 2010 – Drafted in 1998
    Backup: Keenan Lewis – 24 years old in May 2010 – Drafted in 2009
    Backup: Trae Williams – 25 years old as of January 2010 – Signed off Seahawks PS 2009

    [HIGH-LIGHT]FS[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: Ryan Clark – 31 years old in October of 2010 – Signed as UFA in 2006

    Backup: Ryan Mundy – 25 years old in February of 2010 – Drafted 2008

    [HIGH-LIGHT]SS[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Starter: Troy Polamalu – 29 years old in April 2010 – Drafted 2003

    Backup: Tyrone Carter – 34 years old in March 2010 – Signed as UFA in 2004

    Defensive players taken by the Steelers in drafts dating back to 2000

    2000 Draft
    NT Kendrick Clancy – 3rd round pick
    CB Hank Poteat – 3rd round pick
    LB Clark Haggans – 5th round pick
    DE Chris Combs – 6th round pick

    2001 Draft
    NT Casey Hampton – 1st round pick
    LB Kendrell Bell – 2nd round pick
    DE Rodney Bailey – 6th round pick
    LB Roger Knight – 6th round pick

    2002 Draft
    FS Chris Hope – 3rd round pick
    LB Larry Foote – 4th round pick
    CB LaVar Glover – 7th round pick
    DE Brett Keisel – 7th round pick

    2003 Draft
    SS Troy Polamalu – 1st round pick
    LB Alanzo Jackson – 2nd round pick
    CB Ike Taylor – 3rd round pick

    2004 Draft
    CB Ricardo Colclough – 2nd round pick (plus additional picks traded)
    LB Nathaniel Adibi – 5th round pick
    DT Eric Taylor – 7th round pick

    2005 Draft
    CB Bryant McFadden – 2nd round pick
    LB Rian Wallace – 5th round pick
    DE Shaun Nua – 7th round pick

    2006 Draft
    FS Anthony Smith – 3rd round pick
    DT Orien Harris – 4th round pick

    2007 Draft
    LB Lawrence Timmons – 1st round pick
    LB LaMarr Woodley – 2nd round pick
    DE Ryan McBean – 4th round pick
    CB William Gay – 5th round pick

    2008 Draft
    LB Bruce Davis – 3rd round pick
    LB Mike Humpal – 6th round pick
    FS Ryan Mundy – 6th round pick

    2009 Draft
    DT Evander Hood – 1st round pick
    CB Keenan Lewis – 3rd round pick
    CB Joe Burnett – 5th round pick
    DT Rashon Harris – 6th round pick

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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    Personally, I see some good names on that list....
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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Personally, I see some good names on that list....
    I think the answer is "maybe." I think you have to figure out what you think "success" is in the draft. If it is having first and maybe second round picks working out with the occasional UDFA...then the answer is unequivocally YES. If it is to really have top-down solid drafts...even once every 3 or 4 years...then the answer is NO. I cannot think, off the top of my head, of ONE just flat-out dominant draft that Colbert has had. I have questioned before, and I think rightly, his middle-round drafting...and I still see some flaws there. No draft is perfect...nor is any scout/GM going to hit every time...but overall I am just left "wanting" with the middle-round picks consistently. I think the other problem is, as I have said before, that I am not sure that a lot of the "developmental players" we draft are really suited to the coaching style or coaches in general...and that hurts the classes too.
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    Default Re: Steelers president wants coaches to get younger players ready more quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Personally, I see some good names on that list....along with some losers
    Fixed that.

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