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A thread full of semi-realistic optimism
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kethnaab


Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 10039
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 9:48 pm    Post subject: A thread full of semi-realistic optimism Reply with quote

So lately it's been a bit of an oddity with me, this strange feeling of optimism. I can honestly say I'm more optimistic after this year's draft than any since 2004. I have a few ideas as to why this is true:

1) Offensive line - I am quite confident the offensive line will come together this season and avoid injury (somewhat). During the healthy stretch last season, we managed to put up several extremely strong performances in the run game with low-talent/low-heart players like Isaac Redman/Jonathan Dwyer

2) Coinciding with #1, I'm really happy about the LeVeon Bell pick. He is an ideal match for the system, moreso than Eddie Lacey simply because his hands and pass pro are already NFL-ready. I like Lacey a bit more as a bullish runner between the tackles, but Bell has good feet and shiftiness and a bit more speed. Knowing that Lacey had a health red flag is enough to make me perfectly happy with Bell

3) Our WR corps this year and moving forward is possibly becoming a strength again. Sanders will be playing for a contract and I really like Wheaton who is, again, a fairly pro-ready WR as far as route running and understanding route concepts. Breaston might be a solid addition to the mix as well

4) Another year under Haley's offense for Ben and the entire offensive line should do wonders for their execution of the playbook, as should a reduction in Wallace-whining and missing the Brucey.

5) The addition of Shamarko Thomas and Terry Hawthorne adds a TON of breakneck speed to our secondary, something we've been somewhat lacking in. This will be the first off-season that Carnell Lake gets to work his magic on Curtis Brown. If he can manage to stay healthy, we will be able to transition into a changing of the guard in the secondary, with Cortez Allen, Hawthorne, and Brown at the 3x CB slots, and Shamarko/Golden at SS/FS.

6) The removal of suspected locker room cancer Mike Wallace and his bestest boyhood chum Keenan Lewis, plus the addition of 4x team captains (Vince Williams, Shark, DawgBones, and Wheaton) has got to provide a boost to the locker room

7) Vince Williams - Many of you know (Especially in FFMD) that I'm a huge Vince Williams fan. we may have found our Larry Foote replacement, a signal caller and defensive captain for the #2 defense in the nation last year behind only Alabama. Obviously won't happen this year, but I think he can be a real contributor as a future defensive captain

8 ) Woodley and Worilds being well-conditioned. Call me crazy, but I believe the first-round addition of Jarvis Jones should have put both of them on alert. 2 OLB slots, 3 OLBs. We don't rotate much. At the very least, Worilds has to know his position on the team is in jeopardy. If a 1st round draft pick at YOUR POSITION isn't enough to wake you up and bring out your best, nothing is.


Now certainly there is much to worry about. Will Ben truly 'buy in' on the offense? Will Woodley actually hit camp at OLB weight instead of DT/5-tech weight? Will Troy remain healthy long enough for Shark to get his feet under him and get up to speed with the NFL game? Will Jarvis Jones be allowed to move around to take advantage of mismatches, or will he be stuck in the same static ROLB position that Deebo was his entire career here? Will Cam Heyward see the field more than 10-15 snaps per game, on average? Will the NT position be solidified or will it crumble?

Dunno the answers, but I"m looking forward to finding out


Last edited by kethnaab on Sat May 04, 2013 9:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bobikus


Joined: 07 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I fully support your love of Vince Williams here. I really think he could be a future long term starter.

Hopefully Jones/Worilds can get moved around to get some mismatches. Not many players can produce like Harrison did as a static ROLB, if any.
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FourThreeMafia


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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is this "optimism" you speak of?

Cool

Let me add my input, since no thread is complete without it...

1) OLine...I am optimistic about everything EXCEPT the LT position, which scurrs the hell outta me. I do think the right side could be a force, but the left side worries me. I am just happy we got rid of Kugler.

2) I worry about Bell for reasons Ive mentioned many times, but I have warmed up to it. I wasnt a big Mendenhall fan, so I do think he can replace Mendy's production, if not outdo it...but I wasnt hoping for a better compliment to what we already have. Hoping Larod Stephens Howling can do that.

3) Too early to say. I like Wheaton, but Im not going to get to excited. Sanders...I just dont see him being here beyond 2013. Ideally, we could sign him to a 3 year extension this offseason and he would have a huge year, but I just think WR may very well end up being a need next offseaosn as well.

4) I hope this is true, but Ben is still gonna be Ben.

5) Agreed with all of this. Secondary is looking promising.

6) Not liking the Wallace bashing, but whatever. I do like the characters they added, though.

7) Hoping this is true, but not getting my hopes up.

Cool Agreed.

I am actually excited for this preseason more than usual because we added several players I think could contribute early...if they are allowed to, that is.
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1BackInBlackFan


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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: A thread full of semi-realistic optimism Reply with quote

kethnaab wrote:
Will Cam Heyward see the field more than 10-15 snaps per game, on average?


He better see that per quarter.
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JustPlainNasty


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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like our UDFA OL additions as possibilities for our roster and at the very least the practice squad.

I expect Wade to compete quite well. I expect Mike Farrell to surprise and Joe Madsen has always been somebody I've liked, getting him as a FA pickup was a nice way to kick the tires.

THe Curtis McNeal pickup was a nice shot, kind of underutilized at USC.
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rlon40


Joined: 13 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 6:30 am    Post subject: Re: A thread full of semi-realistic optimism Reply with quote

1) Offensive line - I am quite confident the offensive line will come together this season and avoid injury (somewhat). During the healthy stretch last season, we managed to put up several extremely strong performances in the run game with low-talent/low-heart players like Isaac Redman/Jonathan Dwyer^^^^

I am not as confident and feel that there is still that likelihood of one injury derails the progress and continuity of the line to a level that again disrupts the offense from being as effective as it should be behind a franchise QB. I'm really concerned that much fault has been pointed to the RB unit when very few backs could have been successful behing these lines the past few years. But really, why I'm not so optimistic about the line...there is no proven left tackle, and the left guard position, which is supposed to be your more skilled movement guard, is manned byan averagem albeit consistent lineman, who is not the best fit for the apoparent zone blocking direction.

6) The removal of suspected locker room cancer Mike Wallace and his bestest boyhood chum Keenan Lewis, plus the addition of 4x team captains (Vince Williams, Shark, DawgBones, and Wheaton) has got to provide a boost to the locker room^^^^^^

Agree 100 percent.

7) Vince Williams - Many of you know (Especially in FFMD) that I'm a huge Vince Williams fan. we may have found our Larry Foote replacement, a signal caller and defensive captain for the #2 defense in the nation last year behind only Alabama. Obviously won't happen this year, but I think he can be a real contributor as a future defensive captain^^^^^

I really like Vince Williams. I would have loved the pick, and draft for that matter, more if he was depth behind Arthur Brown, taken in the second, and Jonathon Franklin was taken in place of Landry Jones...
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Ward4HOF


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All good points! I think they drafted well this year overall. That with the fact that hopefully some of our youth from the previous years drafts will stay healthy and get on the field will provide the youth infusion we really need, IMO.

While spending a 4th on a 3rd string QB was bothersome, I am happy we actually brought in a guy that SHOULD be able to stick in that role. Of course, I thought that way with Dixon, too, so I guess we'll see!

I hope Brown surprises or we keep Plaxico for another year...I do like having size on the field outside of TE every now and then.
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rollins


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post Keth. I agree with just about everything you said.

About our OLB situation: We got my #1 talent in the draft, I just hope we manage the Jarvis Jones situation correctly. I think we should follow the 49ers Aldon Smith blueprint and have him be a sub-package player in year 1. I think this would be best for our team as well as for Jarvis for a few reasons:

1.) Limits his exposure to the power running game until he is strong enough to handle the point of attack in the NFL.

2.) Allows him to use his strength of rushing the passer.

3.) This cuts down the assignments he has to know and therefore will allow him play without thinking and play much faster.

4.) We are paying Worilds, we mind as well get something out of him on running downs.
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kethnaab


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rollins wrote:
Great post Keth. I agree with just about everything you said.

About our OLB situation: We got my #1 talent in the draft, I just hope we manage the Jarvis Jones situation correctly. I think we should follow the 49ers Aldon Smith blueprint and have him be a sub-package player in year 1. I think this would be best for our team as well as for Jarvis for a few reasons:

1.) Limits his exposure to the power running game until he is strong enough to handle the point of attack in the NFL.

2.) Allows him to use his strength of rushing the passer.

3.) This cuts down the assignments he has to know and therefore will allow him play without thinking and play much faster.

4.) We are paying Worilds, we mind as well get something out of him on running downs.


this was my primary concern pre-draft. He's not a guy that you line up at the ROLB position and expect him to be able to dominate an OT or even hold his ground. You move him around, almost in a bandit-type role and he can be a force.
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SteelProven


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good write up Keth!

I'm always optimistic, so it's good to have another poster share some of my views.

I believe for the all the change over the Steelers went through this season they'll surprise a lot of doubters.

Barring any setbacks Steelers ROY might not be won by default.
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rollins


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kethnaab wrote:
rollins wrote:
Great post Keth. I agree with just about everything you said.

About our OLB situation: We got my #1 talent in the draft, I just hope we manage the Jarvis Jones situation correctly. I think we should follow the 49ers Aldon Smith blueprint and have him be a sub-package player in year 1. I think this would be best for our team as well as for Jarvis for a few reasons:

1.) Limits his exposure to the power running game until he is strong enough to handle the point of attack in the NFL.

2.) Allows him to use his strength of rushing the passer.

3.) This cuts down the assignments he has to know and therefore will allow him play without thinking and play much faster.

4.) We are paying Worilds, we mind as well get something out of him on running downs.


this was my primary concern pre-draft. He's not a guy that you line up at the ROLB position and expect him to be able to dominate an OT or even hold his ground. You move him around, almost in a bandit-type role and he can be a force.


He definitely can be that kind of player who dominates, it's just going to be part of his learning curve, which is going to be less than most OLB drafted. Plus this year he was bothered by an ankle injury which people don'y really mention since he was so dominant. If you look at some of his games from the previous year he beat a lot more OT blocks.

Keth none of the OLBs in this years draft were going to start full time for the Steelers anyway. When you take a DE and convert them to OLB it takes time for them to learn to play in space. This is just the opposite we are taking a guy who is used to playing in space and we will have to teach him to take on blocks better and use leverage better in the run game. Jones was the most polished of the bunch. I think this is a much easier transition than most other DEs from the draft that will have to make the position change. Look at Mingo for instance he will have to learn to play in space and take on blocks better.

And a quick note on Jones that I haven't heard anyone else mention, Ansah, Mingo, and Jordan were all taken ahead of Jones in the draft. If you add up the stats of Ansah, Mingo and Jordan they have 32 TFL and 14 sacks. Jones alone has 24.5 TFL and 14.5 sacks. So by himself he has .5 sacks more than the 3 top pass-rushers combined and on 7.5 less TFL. Even if you think his numbers are inflated due to the system he played in, Those comparisons are eye popping to me.

I think it is very possible in a sub-package role he would be able to put up a solid 8 sacks. No one would be complaining about that kind of a season from a part timer. My biggest fear is that Lebeau and Butler are to stubborn to play him in that role and stick with Worilds as a full time player who I don't believe will be as productive.
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MightyJoeYoung


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not liking seeing an avatar below the word "kethnaab"
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Bobikus


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do love how underlooked this team is this offseason. Don't see us in any top 10 lists for power rankings, a lot of people seemed to have us penciled in as below average, or even 4th in our division.
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MOSteelers56


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also really excited to see our pass rush this year. I think Woodley and Worilds are going to put up huge sack numbers. Add in Jarvis and Timmons in there and we might get 40+ sacks.
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kethnaab


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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MightyJoeYoung wrote:
Not liking seeing an avatar below the word "kethnaab"


*chuckles* yeah, it's messing with me a bit too, but I'm trying to get some good juju going with the Troy. if he's healthy this season, he is a game changer
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