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    bleedBnG58's Avatar
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    Default Steelers Team Report

    Steelers Team Report
    Yahoo! Sports
    Feb 12, 10:50 am EST

    Hines Ward and his teammates—and even former teammates—are still trying to figure out what went wrong when they lost five straight last season to tumble from 6-2 and virtually out of the playoff running.

    Ward was in Miami before the Super Bowl and got together with linebacker James Farrior and former teammates Joey Porter and Jerome Bettis.

    “It was discouraging to lose to Cleveland, Oakland and Kansas City,” Ward said. “That leaves you scratching your head. The other day at dinner we reflected on that and everyone was scratching their heads: How in the world did we lose those games?” Ward is not the only one "scratching his head" wondering WTF happened.

    Ward helped judge Dog Bowl 2010 in Miami and he was not happy about going in one year from Super Bowl to that.

    “Oh, man, it definitely stinks, to be honest,” said Ward, who said he’s still disgusted by what happened to last year’s Super Bowl champs. He left town as soon as the season ended.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]“I got as far away as I could from Pittsburgh,” he said. “It’s been a long year. We started off 6-2 and I just knew we had our chances. It’s still upsetting to me.”[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Ward will have a new wide receivers coach once Mike Tomlin gets around to hiring one. He also may lose some teammates who were keys on the team, especially on defense. Free agents include nose tackle Casey Hampton, free safety Ryan Clark, halfback Willie Parker and kicker Jeff Reed.

    “I don’t know who we’ll bring back, [HIGH-LIGHT]there are a lot of veteran guys with great leadership in the locker room who might not be there next year[/HIGH-LIGHT]. You wonder where guys will end up.

    “Those guys are locker room favorites everyone likes them. I’d like to see them all come back. In this business, guys come and go and try to get as much money as they can; you can’t knock them for that. That’s the business side of the profession in the offseason.”

    Notes, Quotes

    —Reports continue to suggest that Mike Tomlin was going to fire Bruce Arians at the behest of management, but after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pitched to keep his offensive coordinator, Tomlin changed his mind.

    “I never went to Mike and said we have to fire Bruce,” Steelers president Art Rooney maintained. “Mike never came to me and said we have to keep Bruce under any circumstances. We talked about every member of the staff. Mike was comfortable that we needed to make some changes, but that wasn’t a change we need to make. And I’m certainly comfortable with that. I think we’ve had good success under Bruce.” So where in the hell do these rumors come from?

    • No Steelers player made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but two popular coaches were elected as players. One is current defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and the other is their former line coach Russ Grimm, now with the Arizona Cardinals.

    • The team hired a former scouting intern as their pro scouting coordinator to replace Doug Whaley, who left to become assistant general manager of the Buffalo Bills.

    Brandon Hunt, a Pittsburgh native and former player at nearby Indiana University of Pennsylvania, returns to the team where he was an intern in 2005 and 2006. He has been a pro scout for the Houston Texans the past two seasons.

    Quote To Note: “I think we learned something about Mike and what we learned I think is positive for the future.”—President Art Rooney II after his team finished the season with three straight victories under coach Mike Tomlin to finish 9-7. I guess we will have to wait till next year to see if MT learned anything or not. It will be interesting to see how he runs camp this year, since his first two he has ran differently. Which one will he return to?

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    The Steelers signed three players to their roster the past week. CB David Pittman was a third-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2006 and played in the UFL last season.

    Adam Graessle punted and kicked off at Pitt and also was in the UFL last season after he was signed and released by Green Bay. WR Brandon London appeared in 14 games with the Miami Dolphins in 2008 but was released before the 2009 season.

    Offseason Strategy

    First up for the Steelers is to sign a couple of impending unrestricted free agents. The only UFAs they will try to sign before March 5 are Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton, starting free safety Ryan Clark and kicker Jeff Reed. Reed will be their first priority. If they cannot sign Hampton to a multiple-year deal, they could franchise him. Clark will not be franchised or transitioned and is unlikely to come to terms by March 5.

    Two veterans will not get offers before March 5, although the team might be interested in them if they do not get good offers elsewhere. Halfback Willie Parker and cornerback Deshea Townsend have been important members of two Super Bowl champions but they no longer are starters and would have to return as backups.

    Starting right tackle Willie Colon will stay a RFA if there is no new CBA and they will issue him a high tender, as they did last season when he first became a RFA.

    Team Needs

    1. Offensive line: One reason the Steelers cannot run when they want is the blocking. They get no push from their front line. They have to develop a tackle at the very least and need to find their future centers.

    2. Defensive line: They addressed this last year with DE Ziggy Hood in the first round, but they need to restock a line that has grown old. Another end and nose tackle are a must.

    3. Defensive backs: With FS Ryan Clark likely leaving as a free agent, they have no one to replace him. Their CBs are below average as well.

    Medical Watch: No surgeries known.

    Franchise Player: None

    Transition Player: None.

    Unrestricted Free Agents

    • QB Charlie Batch is a reliable, when healthy, backup and that is the crux because he missed all of 2008 and ended 2009 with a broken wrist. He wants to return.

    • LB Rocky Boiman was a late edition to try to save their drowning special teams. He’s not likely to return.

    • SS Tyrone Carter won’t get a contract from the Steelers again unless he finds nothing from anywhere else.

    • FS Ryan Clark would like to return and the team wants him back but they are not likely to settle on a price before free agency begins. We will see how much he really wants to return.

    • DE Nick Eason, if he’s willing to return at a minimum salary, could re-sign.

    • WR Joey Galloway was a late signing after Limas Sweed was placed on IR. He did not dress for either game and he is not likely to be invited back. No loss, was never a factor when signed anyways.

    • NT Casey Hampton is a priority to keep one way or the other. They will try to negotiate a new deal but it’s more likely they will have to put the franchise tag on him.

    • DE Travis Kirschke, although he turns 36 this year, has been dependable and could re-sign if he does not go elsewhere, especially if they get nothing at the position in the draft. I prefer they get some youth for the future.

    • RB Willie Parker has seen his last days in Pittsburgh. They would love to have him back as a backup to Rashard Mendenhall but he wants more playing time than that. He may be able to get more money elsewhere and I don't hold that against him but I don't see him getting more PT anywhere.

    • K Jeff Reed could be their next signing because he not only is a priority, he’s the most signable of their free agents. Hope this is right.

    • CB Deshea Townsend [HIGH-LIGHT]thinks he can still start [/HIGH-LIGHT]in the league and the Steelers have no plans for him to do that. If he finds nothing of his liking in free agency, they will offer him a contract to return. Dude, back away from the pipe already.

    Restricted Free Agents (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)

    • *OT Willie Colon will be tendered at the highest amount, as he was last season, his third as their starting right tackle.

    • CB William Gay had a disappointing first season as a starter but not bad enough that they want to lose him.

    • P Daniel Sepulveda was middle of the road and not likely to receive a high tender. He was drafted in the fourth round. Hope they get him signed.

    • RB Carey Davis is listed as their starting FB but rarely played and may not receive a tender. IMO no loss here, see ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.

    • TE Matt Spaeth is No. 2 behind Heath Miller. He plays a lot but rarely is used as a target and he’s not a good blocker. See "Carey Davis"

    • OG Darnell Stapleton was their starting RG until an injury put him on IR. Could receive a lower tender. Makes sense, could give us depth.

    Exclusive Rights Free Agents

    • LB Patrick Bailey was their rookie of the year for his special-teams play in 2008 but dropped off last season. Loved it when he made the team and earned the respect his first year, don't know what happened this year.

    Players Re-signed: None.

    Players Acquired: None.

    Players Lost: None.

  2. #2
    bleedBnG58's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steelers Team Report

    A statement from a rewritten version of the same article posted:

    Reports continue to suggest that Mike Tomlin was going to fire Bruce Arians at the behest of management, but after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pitched to keep his offensive coordinator, Tomlin changed his mind.

    I wish writers would confirm there sources, otherwise it is just bull****.

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