Steelers Lounge Podcast #68: Bruce Arians and Free Agents

This is going to be a busy offseason. The organization got things rolling when Bruce Arians “retired” last week.

We spend a good part of the podcast wondering what the end game is here, from the front office’s perspective, as well as possible replacement candidates (that segment of the show was much shorter since the best candidate is now sitting at home in York, PA waiting to join Steelers West in Arizona).

We also discuss the horrendous salary-cap situation, what that means for Aaron Smith, Big Snack, Potsie and Larry Foote on defense, and Chris Kemoeatu and Hines Ward on offense.

(As a side note, we agreed that Hines should probably retire. Excepting that — and Hines said he ain’t done playing — it might be cheaper to have him return at the veteran minimum instead of cutting him. It also means that the Steelers probably can’t afford Jerricho Cotchery. Of course, Ward could be valuable if Pittsburgh returns to their RUN-FIRST ROOTS.)

Oh, and we also rehash the Ravens loss last week because misery loves company.

Alright, let’s get to the chattin’…

Steelers Lounge Podcast #68: BA & FAs

Steelers Lounge Podcast

As always, thanks to everybody for subscribing to the podcast (do it now if you haven’t) and if you want to send questions, comments, complaints or whatever about the show, email us here.

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  • http://twitter.com/djwyattwood djwyattwood

    From what I can tell, these are the players that are top priority to keep:

    Defense:
    Polamalu
    Clark
    Harrison
    Woodley
    Keisel
    Taylor

    Offense:
    Big Ben
    Wallace
    Brown
    Pouncey
    Starks
    Redman

    After these 12 guys, I can pretty much deal with anybody being cut.

    • Cols714

      Yeah we should definitely cut everyone else from a 12-4 team.

      • http://twitter.com/djwyattwood djwyattwood

        Re-read what I wrote. Did I say everyone else? You could use better understanding of the basic English language.

    • Moxie Jason

      I’m still pretty high on the new blood in the secondary and d-line. Definitely not fellows that could be replaced with JAG types; considering the time it supposedly takes to learn those positions, losing any of them would be a huge setback.

    • DC in ATL

      Cutting Timmons, Heyward,  the young CB’s, Gilbert and Sanders would be OK with you?

      • Anonymous

        Come on fellas, don’t give the guy such a hard time. He didn’t say he wanted any other players cut, and he didn’t say he’d be okay if all the other players are cut. He just said that any single cut outside this list he could “deal with.”

    • Hiddenaway

      Not to split hairs, but how can Heath Miller be cut?  He’s pretty critical especially if the Steelers are trying to get Ben hit less (TE checkdowns are one way….).  Instead the Steelers need him and another Gronkowski/Graham type, not a D. Johnson who can’t catch outlet passes. 

  • Mike L

    One of the biggest failures of the Steelers offense in the past few years has been the statement that offensive weapons can make up for deficiency in OL, I am paraphrasing here of course.  This did not happen and Ben has taken too many hits.  So who takes the hit for this failure?  It is Tomlin or Arians.  If it is Tomlin’s gaff then Arians paid for it.  If it was Arians speaking through Tomlin then the hammer fell in the right place.  The Steelers will not win another SB without a healthy Ben.  Looking around the league you have a two time SB coach in Mike Shanahan who cannot lead his team to a .500 record.  Did he forget how to coach?  No, he just does not have the quality players on his Washington team, starting with the QB.  Pittsburgh has a top 10 QB who is paid as such, so the expectation has to be a top 10 offense.

    As someone who lives on eastern PA, I get to hear the Eagles fans frustration with their team.  Even though passing is a great way to move the football, you should not pass for the sake of passing.  The Eagles have been a pass heavy team for years with Andy Reid and have avoided running even when McCoy has been very successful.  The game where they ran against a Dallas team expecting the pass had the Eagles gashing them left and right.  The Ravens ran Ray Rice 5 times against Seattle.  Seattle pounded Lynch over 30 times even though he was only 32carries for 109 yds.  What happened?  Baltimore could not stop the run at the end of the game.  The 49ers favored the run much of the year, using 3 TE sets.  If not for 2 bad special teams plays they would be in the SB.  When the Ravens run they are not subtle, Rice follows Vonte Leach.  They were a dropped pass from advancing to the SB.  With more teams looking to generate pass rush to stop the pass they are trading off stopping the run.  Pittsburgh improved greatly against the pass but fell off in run defense.  Passing can open up the running game by keeping safeties deep and having LBs first step to be dropping into zone, running can setup playaction which is the most efficient passing attack, think Payton Manning.  Rushing and passing can compliment each other.   Many times it has been noted that the Steelers do not pass block well on the road and thus have less chance of winning, I would think this is where ownership would like them to run more.

    Playcalling I was disapointed with involved not using TEs and backs as receivers on check downs.  Using 5 wide when not in must pass situations.  3rd and 2 is neither a run or pass down.  If you have a back in the game, you can run a draw, have them pass block or chip and then slide out for a pass.  These are all good options.  If you are 3rd and 12 then the defense is playing pass regardless so if you have the players go 5 wide. 

    I work at a business where there a many long term employees.  One problem to be watchful of is complacency.  A manager told me to continue to improve you need hunters not gathers.  With Arians talking about possibly retiring he may have been more gather than hunter.  Interestingly the vast majority of coaches who have won a SB have done so between the ages of 45 and 55.  Almost none have won after the age of 55.  Why?  They lose the fire.  I cannot think of one coach who had won a SB, moved onto a new team and won again.  Gibbs no.  Parcells no.  Shanahan no. Some have suggested Lebeau has fallen into this catagory, they may be right but the win against NE has bought him at least another year to show his stuff. 

    Lastly, Ted did put forward contract suggestions for Cotchery and Foote where the Steelers could retain them.

  • David

    Well, that didn’t take long: BA is now the Colt’s OC.

  • http://www.expensiccino.com Carl Natale

    If BA is going to be the Colt’s OC, that sets up the stage for the Steelers to hire Caldwell and trade Ben for Peyton. Considering both QBs went to the press to complain about coaching moves, maybe both teams were looking to jettison some complainers.

    On a more realistic note, is it possible that Tomlin wanted Arians gone and the Rooneys decided to take the heat so Ben doesn’t declare he’s going to march into Tomlin’s office looking for answers?

  • IsraelP

    Whaddya mean the Texans have never won a playoff game? Who beat the Bengals?

    • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

      Ha! How soon I forgot. Sorry, TJ Yates!

      • Rob D

        He’s still crying and won’t come out of his room. Nice going, Ryan!

  • IsraelP

    Even if Hines plays for veteran minimum, he still represents a hole in special teams.

  • Anonymous

    Of course after all the concern over Roethlisberger it’s Ryan Clark who gets hurt.

  • Rob D

    Keith Butler is now the DC for surprise…The Colts.

    Now all we need to do is hire Caldwell and trade Big Ben for Peyton and….voila..a transformation undreamed of by mere mortals.

    After all the talk about KB being the logical successor to Lebeau. it looks like he got tired of waiting. Or maybe the STeelers indicated he was no longer in their long term plans.

    Watching Tom Clements call the plays tonight made me hope he’s still in the running for the Steelers job. I truly believe the Steelers brain trust must like him since they already hired him once. Now he’s a part of the possibly the best offensive team in the NFL and looking like he’s in line for a big job there. I would not be happy if we go with Caldwell. He does have that clueless ARt Shell on the Raiders sideline look to him …not exactly an inspiring figure although I am sure he
    s a good football guy/mind. The waiting is getting to me..hope its not TOO much longer.

    I watched 5 mins total of the Pro Bowl game and saw Big Ben throw the INT..lol..my timing is lousy. Couldnt’ help but think that this is the future of the league…The London Monarchs leading the Sao Paulo Hip Wigglers 56-49 in the 4th! While we all pitch a fit at the TV and our nurses at the home have to administer a therapuetic shot of brandy to calm us all down..

    ONe more shot of Brady sayiing he can’t wait for this game is going to make me explode. And if he wins this game, trust me..we will NEVER hear the end of it. They’ve been paper champions since there last SB win but this will be the FINAL nail in the “Pats as greatest team of ALL TIMES!” banner. It’s one reason why I wanted them to lose to Baltimore, since a Balt win would be hard to take but wouldn’t be the end of civilization as we know it moment like NE beating NY would be. STilll believe the Giants are the superior team but you never know..

    • Canadian Steeler

      Apparently Keith Butler isn’t quite a done deal yet, so there’s still hope there. Caldwell’s also expected to end up with Baltimore as QB coach. I’d love Clements too, but it’s tough to see a reason for him to leave Green Bay unless he’s passed over for the OC position. Anyone know who’s in the running for it? Obviously Clements has done a phenomenal job with Rodgers, but hopefully for our sake they’ve got other promising offensive assistants.

      I love the podcast, and maybe it was more fretting over returning to “old-school Steelers football”, but I don’t share the same sense of worry JJ and Adam seemed to feel over Arians departure. I try not to criticize playcalling too much because I know it can be part of a larger scheme, but I think at the end of the day, Arians’ offenses should have produced more points given their personnel. Sure, other teams have better lines, but most teams dream of ability like ours at the skill positions. We’ve also got (in my mind at least) a top 5 quarterback. That should result in more than one top-10 finish over his five years. For me, that’s a pattern of underachievement and considering Arians is a guy so close to retirement, there weren’t any learning experiences or offensive revelations that were going to happen. Why not go with a new guy? Everyone who’s been mentioned is a passing guy, so it’s hardly a return to three yards and a cloud of dust. While a new direction could absolutely go poorly, I completely understand why the change was made.

      The Pats winning would be annoying, but so would the ridiculous amount of Eli-love that would result from a Giants victory. NFL Network was already favourably comparing him to Peyton, for God’s sake. I at least have begrudging respect for Belichick and Brady. Those “greatest teams of all time” would have come up regardless of another Super Bowl, regardless of the ridiculous fact that Brady’s (just about?) the only player still there. Ideally, someone can go Thunder Gun on this thing and call in a bomb threat.

      • Anonymous

        Why would Clements take a Pittsburgh OC job if offered the same position at Green Bay? That’s easy. Money. It’s not like these guys are making a league mandated salary.

        As far as greatest team ever, that’s pretty nuts. This is a team that hadn’t legitimately won a playoff game since 1997. Greatest teams ever don’t have droughts like that.

        • Canadian Steeler

          In no way am I agreeing with it, I’m just saying the talking heads will bring it up. These are the same guys (Skip Bayless) who said they’d rather have Tebow than Rodgers based on their fourth quarter performances.

        • GlennW

          I don’t see the Steelers winning or likely even entering into any serious bidding war over Clements though– not the Rooney way. Given that, it would take some other extenuating circumstance for Clements to pass up the same promotion with the Packers, such as his family (or Clements himself) preferring the city of Pittsburgh to Green Bay, something like that.  Always possible. 

          So why does it currently feel like after the music stops in this game of coaching musical chairs, we’re going to be left with a warmed-over retread OC because Art Rooney didn’t think this one all the way through?  Oh well, I suppose that the fallback of Randy Fichtner isn’t a total disaster.  But between the Steelers floating this bogus “retirement” story around Arians and then having Ben pop off about it, this has not been the franchise’s finest hour.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t know how positions as rare as NFL OC work, but I wouldn’t expect a bidding war either. I would expect the parties to make offers at what they think the candidate is worth and then negotiate. I don’t see any reason why, if actually interested, Rooney wouldn’t make a competitive offer or negotiate. That’s just the normal course of business. The Rooneys have shown he’s willing to spend money to make their team good. Witness the constant bumping against the cap and the gymnastics there each year. And that strategy has been quite profitable for them. 
            As a fan, I like what I’ve heard about Clements and hope the Steelers are willing to overpay him since it doesn’t affect the cap. All the other stuff about where the family wants to live, job satisfaction, etc are of course factors.

            I don’t know what to expect for the next OC, but I’m still hopeful that whatever happens works out well. I’ll agree that the fumbling of Arians “retirement” has been cringe-worthy, but I think that the media is blowing certain things out of proportion, making it seem worse than it is. They’d have you thinking that we’re dealing with Jerry Jones rather than Art and Dan Rooney.

  • Anonymous

    Great show guys and this should be an interesting off-season…I hate those. 

    I’m not sure my interp of Rooney’s comments about running more effectively (I think was his wording) means we are trying to turn back the clock and play like its the 1970s again.  I just think we need to develop an effective running game to slow down the pass rush and make teams respect play action. 

    I don’t mind empty backfields (except on 3rd and short!) and I really don’t mind the WR bubble screens (just a little less often please) but I do think we have gotten stagnant and if they bring in someone with talent it might help move our O to the next level.  Or they could totally wreck everything and I will curse so much at my TV that my wife banishes me from the house on Sundays…whatever.

  • Canadian Steeler

    Great news. Butler staying. 
    https://twitter.com/#!/gerrydulac/status/164145674550640641

    Apparently Art II and Tomlin talked him out of even going for the interview. It’ll be a sad day when LeBeau retires, but he’s certainly leaving the defense in great (or at least popular) hands.

    • Cols714

      I don’t know why Butler keeps staying.  At this pace he’ll be a head coach sometime around 2030.

      • GlennW

        Assurances had to have been granted that Butler will take over as DC soon, maybe even as soon as 2013 (because I can also see LeBeau saying, hey, I’m going to give it one more shot with my older core guys).  Because as you suggest, Butler could have been a DC as early as 2010, maybe even before then.

        • Cols714

          I’m sure this is true. However I don’t see why the guy doesn’t just take a DC position somewhere else. He turned down Miami last year and now Indy. Maybe those jobs just weren’t that attractive and he likes the stability of the Steelers and the fact that the Steelers DC position often leads to a HC job down the line.

          But the guy isn’t all that young, so I’m surprised he’s been so patient.

          • Dean Keaton

            Maybe he just likes being in Pittsburgh and they are going to pay him better or give him a longer contract.

          • Randy Steele

            The older you get, the more risky it becomes to take chances. If Butler got fired in a year or two from his position at Indianapolis (which wouldn’t be surprising), he’d be nearly 60 years old–and unemployed.

            Think you can land a job at that age? Believe me, it’s essentially impossible. He might be able to pick up a spot somewhere as an assistant, but another decent job would be highly unlikely.

            Butler did the smart thing. He leveraged the offer, and most likely got more money and a promise from the Rooneys of a big promotion after LeBeau retires. 

          • Dean Keaton

            And come to think of it, I haven’t ever known anyone that actually moved TO Indianapolis… Perhaps location had something to do with it this time.

    • Rob D

      He’s 55 years old. Makes you wonder what they told him to get him to stick around.

    • Dean Keaton

      I think I’m glad Butler is staying… As a fan it’s just difficult to
      evaluate the performance of a position coach. The team has had great LBs
      for a long time but it’s impossible to know how much of that has to do
      with him and how much of it is just great talent scouting (Alonzo
      Jackson excepted). So I’m assuming that if the Steelers have tried so
      hard to keep him, he’s very good and will hopefully be an excellent DC
      for them sometime soon.

  • Cols714

    In other news the Steelers are apparently going to meet with Todd Haley, who seems like a giant A-hole. Do not want.

    • GlennW

      Haley certainly was an A-hole as a head coach, but I don’t recall any such problems when he was the OC of the Cardinals– corordinators just don’t have the power or media access that head coaches do.  Haley’s father also worked for the Steelers so I’m sure the Rooneys know him very well.  You know, I think I’d be in favor of this.  I’ll take the hardass with some proven credentials and success over the unknowns we’ve been hearing about, and trust that Tomlin can manage the guy’s personality if that were ever to flare up as an issue.

      • EasyLikeSundayMorning

        Haley was an a-hole in Arizona, too.  He got in shouting matches with players, including Boldin.  One of my best friends is a Chiefs fan and he didn’t shed a tear when Haley left… even when they were winning, he said it was hard to root for such a dick.  I’m all for someone who has Ben’s respect to help him continue to grow, but a yeller is not what I think would help.

        • EasyLikeSundayMorning

          My friend who is a Chiefs fan said that even though Haley was in over his head as a HC and has what he euphemistically called “an unappealing personality,” he actually didn’t think this would matter as much for a coordinator.  I’m not sure I agree, as I’d like someone to have a good relationship with Ben and push him from a position of respect rather than have unnecessary tension and drama.  But I thought I’d pass the info along for what it is worth.

    • GlennW

      Interesting that the PPG is reporting that it’s very unlikely that Haley would be seriously considered for the OC job.  To me that says someone leaked something along the lines of “we’re bringing him in as a courtesy but there’s no way in hell we’re hiring him”,  because I don’t think even the great Gerry Dulac can read Rooney’s or Tomlin’s minds like this.  Either that or Dulac is sticking his neck out a bit in substituting his own personal opinion on the ramifications of Haley’s volatility for the opinion of the Steelers’ brass.  Still kind of strange then that the Steelers interviewed him at all.

      • Cols714

        I find this whole OC saga weird. From the way Arians left to his immediate hire by the Colts to the lack of interviews by the Steelers except for Caldwell and Haley.

        At this point I have no idea what to expect.

  • Cols714

    Last thought (maybe) on Arians. He really seems to have the respect of the players and also other coaches. He got hired pretty quickly and is supposed to have a good relationship with Peyton Manning. 

    Only Steelers fans seem to think that it’s a bad thing to have a good relationship between the QB and offensive coordinator.

    While I still like the idea of getting someone new onto the coaching staff, I’m a bit nervous that we let a pretty good OC go and don’t seem to have a plan in place to replace him.

  • Cols714

    Last thought (maybe) on Arians. He really seems to have the respect of the players and also other coaches. He got hired pretty quickly and is supposed to have a good relationship with Peyton Manning. 

    Only Steelers fans seem to think that it’s a bad thing to have a good relationship between the QB and offensive coordinator.

    While I still like the idea of getting someone new onto the coaching staff, I’m a bit nervous that we let a pretty good OC go and don’t seem to have a plan in place to replace him.

  • Hoffstra323

    I like the fact that todd Haley gets on people… people need to stop being so sensitive. Too many times when things go wrong I see Tomlin standing on the sidelines with that deer in the headlights look. When I watch Belicheck he is constantly letting people know what is going on. If you $%$#@ up I think that you should hear about it. You have to pick your spots, but when guys make bone head plays someone should let them know I hate when I see guys screw up and then everyone is consoling them, “like that guy for the 49ers who blew the game twice” He should have gotten an ear full. I feel bad about the threats he got later on, but if I was the coach he would have been shipped out.  As far as talent goes i dont see anyone out there better than Haley at the moment.

  • Randy Steele

    Been reading a lot about the various people interviewed or being considered for the Offensive Coordinator’s job, which brought up this idea for a Question of the Day:

    T R U E  or  F A L S E: For Ben Rothlisberger to become a better quarterback, he needs a good kick in the pants.

    • Cols714

      False

      • Anonymous

        Agreed.

        T R U E  or  F A L S E: For Ben Rothlisberger to become a better quarterback, he needs not to be kicked in the pants.

        False as well. It’s a combination of factors which way include pants kicking or not, and I don’t think that’s a particularly important factor as long as its within a fairly wide band between sycophant and tyrant.

    • DC in ATL

      Good question, but I vote False.

      I think the most impactful thing that would improve Ben’s game would be a better/healthier offensive line.

    • Cols714

      The thing is that until Ben got his ankle ephed, he was probably the best QB in the AFC. 

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      I also vote false.  Having a season without a frankenboot would be helpful and a change from the last two.  Is there another QB in the league who would have even survived behind this OL?  If the over/under for “OL starters who play the entire season” was set at 0.5 and you took the over, you would have lost.  At one point, he had Trai Essex snapping the ball to him.  They also dressed a 7th string RB for a playoff game.  If Wallace, Brown and Sanders are healthy and the OL has even a modest amount of stability, I expect Ben to be excellent next year.  Dilfer has him in the Hall of Fame / elite category, and I agree.

      I will say, though, that after Milledgeville, I’m glad someone apparently gave him a kick in the front of his pants.  Even the most generous version of that story suggested he needed it.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Even though he probably won’t even make the team, I’m glad we signed Myron Rolle. I was hoping we’d draft him in the late rounds and am rooting for him.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Even though he probably won’t even make the team, I’m glad we signed Myron Rolle. I was hoping we’d draft him in the late rounds and am rooting for him.

  • Canadian Steeler

    Someone on Twitter mentioned Hue Jackson today. Pretty sure I’m just gonna stop thinking about this until they decide on someone.

  • Dean Keaton

    Behind the Steel Curtain has been speculating this week that the reason the OC search has seemed to take so long could be that either 1) They’re waiting to see what happens with Clements in GB, and/or 2) Someone on the Giants or Patriots’ staff is a consideration. Today they wrote a pretty good article on Giants QB coach Mike Sullivan, and I’m sold. I hope we get him or Clements as OC.

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/2/2/2764457/giants-quarterbacks-coach-mike-sullivan-brings-a-unique-and-fresh

  • Cols714

    Anyone else sick of hearing about the 2 TE offense of the Patriots? They really only have 1 TE anyway, Gronkowski is like Heath Miller but better. He blocks well and catches the ball really well.

    Hernandez is just a big WR/RB. He’s the same type of TE that Jimmy Graham is. That is, not a true TE. He’s still good, but give me a break.

    Also, if NE had any competent WR (other than slotty Welker), would they really be throwing to the TE as much? I’m guessing no.

    • Mike L

      The use of the TE/h-back has risen recently because of rules regarding hitting defenseless receivers.  Many of these players have the size of a linebacker but more speed.  While a LB might knock a WR around coming off the line, these players can chip the LB for seperation and if the LB cannot catch up, the safeties and CBs have the tough task of trying to bring them down.  Just look at the QBs who threw for 5,000+ yds.  They each had a prolifilc TE.

  • Cols714

    I think my real problem is irrational Tom Brady and Belichick hate.

    • Canadian Steeler

      I definitely don’t like how smug they can be, but something absolutely ridiculous has happened over the past few weeks. Suddenly people are acting like Eli is the most clutch player of his generation. Coughlin’s now a HOF calibre coach. Brady’s far from my favourite player, but I can at least respect his professionalism, work ethic and consistency. I’ve got no clue on Eli on the former two, but this is the first year he’s really shown the consistency. I get a little tired of these players being built up, only if it’s so they can be torn down. I don’t get ESPN here in Canada, so NFL Network is the big culprit for me. For me, Eli is probably the third best quarterback of his draft. If he can come out next season and perform similarly, I’ll probably change my mind. Even in “clutchness”, I still put Ben ahead of him.

      I’ve maintained that the only outcome I can accept is disqualification/Earth crust under field collapsing during 2nd quarter. There’s no way I can hope for the Patriots to win, but the media’s doing a helluva job making it hard to cheer for the Giants.

      As for what I’d want the new OC to improve with Ben – his pre-snap reads. Greg Cosell of ESPN/Shutdown Corner podcast watches a ton of film and mentions that’s the big step that Rodgers, Brees, Peyton and Brady took. Ben could already do this well for all I know. He has mentioned sight adjustments with Wallace, and I’ve heard him calling out left/right on protection calls, so maybe this area will appear to improve as AB gets a better understanding of hot routes. 

      For the OC, they must be waiting on updates on Kirby Wilson, eh? Bouchette said he was the guy in waiting, and there’s realistically plenty of time to determine if it’s a realistic possibility. It doesn’t seem like Fitchner’s going anywhere.

      • Anonymous

        Brady annoys me but I don’t feel strong antipathy towards him. The thing I find annoying about Brady is the treatment he receives rather than his own behavior. People talk in hushed tones about the great Tom Brady. They talk about his HoF election as a foregone conclusion and where he rates in the annals of NFL QBdom. He’s pretty good, but his play on the field doesn’t warrant anything approaching the plaudets he gets. Since I’ve been paying attention there has never been another player even close to as overrated as Tom Brady, and that gets annoying.

        Bellichick earned the antipathy. He’s a cheater plain and simple. It’s a joke that he’s allowed anywhere near an NFL team after the crap he pulled, but he gets away with a slap on the wrist. Because of this guy we have three seasons with no NFL champion. People don’t like cheaters to succeed, and they don’t like injustice, so they don’t like Bellichick.

  • Cols714

    Should we put SB preditictions here or is there going to be a game thread? I won’t be participating in the game thread though so I’ll put it here.

    Giants 34-23

    I just don’t see how NE can stop the Giants from passing. Ben did it, Eli did it without Cruz, Nicks, and Bradshaw. Flacco had receivers open all over the field but couldn’t get them the ball until the 4th quarter or he would have done it. Fitzpatrick passed all over them when he was pretending to be Derek Anderson 2007 instead of Derek Anderson any other time of his career.

    Every time the Pats play a good QB they’ve been thrown on. 

    • Rob D

      I really think this is a mismatch in many ways. The Giants D is playing at high level, getting pressure without blitzing, aggressive secondary etc. Their O has been very efficient, Eli looks great, the running game with Bradshaw is dangerous with their O-line playing healthy etc. ST’s ? Edge to Giants again.

      New England’s D should be passed on all day..I give credit to their d-line for showing up in the playoffs but that’s about it. I think Eli and those receivers should have a fun evening.
      Brady played badly against Baltimore and would have lost if Balt had a legit passing offense. Gronkowski will not be the same with that high ankle sprain..he’s not practicing and its more severe than the one Ben had apparently. That’s a huge loss. Not scared of their WR’s in any way, shape or form. That leaves one TE and Welker to hurt you in any real way IMO.

      Short of numerous fumbles,  INT’s and ST’s gaffes…I think the Giants win this one by 10 or more points.Simply a better team that peaked at exactly the right time…and got healthy too.

      • Rob D

        Well. we got the right team Cols…I read that the Giants D was out of position a lot according to the coaches..they wanted to play man almost exclusively and had a hard time getting people in place. When they settled down after Brady’s great drive to start the 3rd quarter, they started dominating a little more like I thought they should. It’s quite a pressure cooker and even the best players and coaches wilt under it at times.

        NOt a great game..some great plays and a few very good drives..Chung laid out some humougous hits..but it was kind of a blah game. The crowd was lifeless but that’s not unusual when you have corporate types and their clients watching. I could hear individual fans at one point in the 4th and it didn’t have that crowd background noise you get used to in big games during the reg. season.

        I think the best team won this year…they got hot at exactly the right time and healthy in the right spots. They were fortunate to recover that Bradshaw fumble and have the strip negated by the too many men penalty. Welker is taking some heat for that drop but it was not a great throw from a QB whose claim to fame is accuracy. He needs another Randy Moss..Glad he doesn’t have him.

        There were a lot of mental errors and dumb mistakes…It’s a great end for the season for me since I didn’t want NE to win this one. And they didn’t …

        • Sarah

          On ESPN Hasselback had some interesting takes – but yes he slayed the Pats D also. That great catch by Manningham? Not the best read by Eli to go there but horrendous D by both the CB and S on Pats.

          That drop by Welker (and kudos to him in his post-game stepping up to take responsibility) – in fact a good bit of that was on Brady, making him stretch outside his frame so much when he was wide open. I still say that’s more WW than Precious….I was more interested in whether Welker turned inside when he shouldn’t….or if Brady threw outside when he shouldn’t….but I am not an educated enough observer to say.

          But some pretty Small Ball all around – that late catch by M’ham was like the only throw over 20 yards the whole game? Something like that?

          And MAdonna is 58.

          Oy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

    Dawson made it into the Hall of fame, Bettis didn’t.

    • Anonymous

      Butler made it too. Greene didn’t.

      • EasyLikeSundayMorning

        Dawson, Butler and Martin — 3 guys with Pittsburgh backgrounds.

        • EasyLikeSundayMorning

          And I didn’t see that Doleman made it, too. He went to Pitt.

  • Dfksdfl

    Fuck the Patriots!

    • Steve

       The Giants sure did! 

      Non-Steelers Question of the Offseason:  Was this loss a career-shortener for Brady and / or Belichick?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

        I don’t see why it would shorten their careers but it might take the luster off of their infallible images.

      • Dean Keaton

        I agree with Costas, it won’t shorten their careers, but it’s certainly reasonable to think they may not see the SB again before Brady’s playing days are over.

        My respect grew for the Pats this time around in watching how they were really devoting this season to Myra Kraft. I felt incredibly sorry for Mr. Kraft after the image they showed of him after the game, just dumbfounded and saddened after he had such a tough year already in losing his wife. Brady and Belichick have even seemed more human lately, and the post-game bro hug with Coughlin and Belichick was pretty cool too.

        Then Belichick has to go and not do any media interviews after the game, with Al Michaels calling him out for it… I can kind of understand from Belichick’s side not wanting to do that, but he still should have anyway.

        Disclaimer: I still wore a buddy’s Giants jersey (even though it was #11) and am really glad the Pats lost.

        • Sarah

          Darth Hoodie is still an arsehole but I have some level of respect for Dreamboat Tommy after reading a good SI article recently on his shaky start at Michigan, and (esp) after coming through the knee injury….

          INteresting article in the local paper this weekend re Spygate and how the Pats have  not been back to the SB since that debavle (and Roger G went all Rosemary Woods on us and decided to destroy the evidence).

          That this was an opportunity to maybe erase the asterisks and show that the Pats can do it without cheating.

          I am glad to say that question is still open.

          And the Bradshaw-Knoll record of 4 SB wins with the same QB-Coach combo is still standing this morning.

  • Cols714

    Great Super Bowl. I think scoring the TD there was the correct call. I also think letting him score was the correct call. One minute to go, I’d take the TD and hope that my defense can prevent NE from going down the field with only 1 TO.

    • Sarah

      Best notes in the Pgh paper today from the game feed:
      “Patriots D has 12 men on the field. Usually Belicheck doesn’t cheat so openly”

      “Giants O has 12 men in the huddle. This is because Kevin Gilbride can’t count.”

    • David

      You know, I was yelling at Bradshaw to go down, but now that I think about it, NE would have had about 20-25 sec with the score 18-17 to drive for the winning FG attempt. Didn’t they have about the same situation vs. St. Louis in their 1st SB win?

      • Cols714

        I think they would’ve ended up with time for maybe 1 play after the FG and kickoff. But I think that giving NE only 1 minute to drive the field for a TD is a defensible position. If only because the FG is not automatic.

      • GlennW

        It would have been more like 10 seconds, making it almost impossible for New England to score even a FG.  Bradshaw’s TD left the game clock at 57 seconds, and NE would have burned their last timeout there had he gone down instead.  Take 5 seconds for the Giants’ 3rd-down play, the 40-second runoff from the end of the play and then 3 more seconds for the FG attempt and you’re at around 10 seconds.  Game over.

        Still, I can’t blame the Giants for taking the guaranteed TD and lead.  Remember Tony Romo?

  • Cols714

    In other news, I thought Madonna looked pretty good at halftime.

    • Randy Steele

      Yes, for a 125-year-old woman, she looked and sang surprisingly well.

  • Cols714

    So Chris Mortenson says the Steelers will hire crazy guy Todd Haley. I can’t say I’m thrilled about this. But results can easily persuade me.

    • GlennW

      Really?!  We’ve certainly gotten conflicting reports on this affair, then.

    • Randy Steele

      Mortenson did not say or write that. The only thing that he “tweeted” (I hate that word) was that someone from a sports radio station in Kansas City reported it, not that it was true. Although as a noted above, Wexell believes it is true.

      • Cols714

        I saw it on ESPN. “The Pittsburgh Steelers will hire former Chiefs coach Todd Haley as their new offensive coordinator, a source told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.”

  • GlennW

    Today in his MMQB column Peter King answered my question about the Steelers’ interview of Todd Haley.  It was indeed just a courtesy interview, and apparently the Steelers undermined even that much by letting everyone east of Indianapolis know this.  Not that I feel sorry for Haley or anything; I just think it’s funny.  I had completely forgotten about the story of Haley paranoically accusing the Chiefs of bugging his phone.  In addition to his volatile personality the guy might also be half nuts.  Yeah, I take back my earlier opinion– no thanks.

    • Randy Steele

      Hmm…. Everyone else is rumor-mongering that Haley has been hired. Jim Wexell noted that one of his sources said that Tomlin was very impressed with Haley during their interview, and that what might have started out as a courtesy has ended up as something else entirely.

      • GlennW

        I guess so, yeah.  I suppose such a transformation during the interview process is possible.  Because I doubt that multiple reporters would be passing off this “courtesy” thing as near-fact as they have been.  Could be a change of opinion.

        Can’t say that I’m thrilled about this, but fine.  Tomlin wants Haley, Tomlin gets Haley.  For me it’s still Art Rooney who’s mostly on the hotseat here, because I’m not buying any story other than that Rooney wanted Arians out.  But that’s the beauty of it– Rooney could prove to be the wise man, or an idiot.  We’ll see.

        • Cols714

          Here’s the thing. The Steelers are due to be  better on offense next year regardless of who they hire. They’ll have a better OL (no Jon Scott next year, healthy Willie Colon), just as good WRs with Brown probably a bit better after getting essentially a full year of starting experience, and (really really hoping here) a healthy Ben for the entire year. 

          All of these things probably matter more than whomever was going to be hired as OC. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

        “what might have started out as a courtesy has ended up as something else entirely.”

        Well it’s happened before – just ask Tomlin.  Probably best not to ask Grimm, though.

    • Cols714

      Well, it sounds like they hired him. Crazyness and all.

  • Cols714

    Haley did run a pretty good offense in Arizona. Might be a good hire.

  • Randy Steele

    The off-season isn’t official until someone on the Steelers’ roster does something stupid. In case you haven’t already heard, Weslye Saunders has been susupended for four games for what seems to be a violation of the NFL’s drug policies.

    Which of course leads to our…Q U E S T I O N  O F  T H E  D A Y: What are the odds Weslye Saunders will be on the Steelers’ roster at the start of the 2012 season.

    • Cols714

       Probably 60000000 – 1.

      He’s gone.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

      Maybe we can trade him to the Jets for a 5th round pick?

    • GlennW

      If it’s only Strike 1, don’t dump him.  If it’s the use of testosterone or the like (as opposed to heroin or something), we’re seeing this all over the league, and this won’t be the last time we have to deal with it on the Steelers.

      • Randy Steele

        I think he has tested positive before. That was one of the reasons he wasn’t drafted.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

          If he is being suspended it actually means he has tested positive twice since being in the NFL.  The first positive test is confidential.  Plus he apparently had some off field concerns coming out of college but I don’t know the particulars. 

          So at least two strikes since joining the Steelers.

          • GlennW

            That’s only for some recreational drugs, including marijuana.  A positive test for a PED is the automatic four-game suspension for a first offense.  So it’s presumed that this is indeed marijuana?

            I’m not sure I’d cut Saunders for his first suspension due to marijuana use either.  I know we did with Santonio Holmes, but I’m convinced that there were other problems with Holmes (including arrests) and that the coaches were sick of his attitude anyway.  I just generally don’t like zero-tolerance policies, and rather prefer considering matters on a case-by-case basis.  Let’s face it, if this were Ben Roethlisberger the response would be along the lines of “party on, Ben” (well, at least if this were his first suspension).

            On the other hand, if behind the scenes Saunders really has been nothing but trouble from Day 1, I don’t have a problem with the Steelers cutting him.  I just don’t like hard-and-fast rules.  If the staff believes that the guy deserves another chance, so be it.

          • Randy Steele

            Neal Coolong at BTSC sorts it out for us:

            “There is no word on the reason for the suspension, but it’s likely for one of two things: a third violation of the league’s substance abuse police (two prior violations are confidential, the third results in a four-game suspension), or a violation of the league’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances, in which a first offense is subject to a minimum four-game suspension.”

          • GlennW

            Right, those are pretty much the only two possibilities under the league’s drug policy.  I just thought that Saunders might have gotten busted for weed in college or something, which might have been a tip-off.  I couldn’t find anything though– his college suspension for violating “team rules” seems to have been kept confidential.  There was something about lying to Steve Spurrier, which might be a good thing. ;-)

          • Randy Steele

            According to Jim Wexell,  the Steelers won’t cut Saunders, but “they will take a longer look at tight end in the draft than they would have otherwise.” 

          • Randy Steele

            However, Gerry Dulac opines that Saunders’ next catch for the Steelers “will be the first flight out of town.”

          • Randy Steele

            And in what I promise to be my last note on the subject, a writer at Steelers Depot has reported that Saunders tested positive for Adderall, a prescription medication used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.

            The NFL, nevertheless, has a firm policy about the use of such medications, and Saunders will most likely have to serve his suspension because he didn’t notify the League that he was taking the substance.

          • Cols714

            I think this makes it likely that Saunders stays with the team.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

            I wonder if the writing will become completely vertical if we keep replying to this comment string? 

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

            I think it will.

          • Randy Steele

            Too funny!

    • Rob D

      Hmmmm….2%..?

      Like to see the evidence though..He might have been catching the ball in an intimidating manner and they thought he was “on the drugs” (as my grandmother used to say)

    • GlennW

      > Saunders tested positive for Adderall, a prescription medication used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.
      Adderall has frequently been used as a stimulant though (it was a running joke for a while that ~25% of all MLB players “suffer from ADHD”), hence its presence on the NFL’s banned PED list.  But even if Saunders’ use of the drug was as a stimulant (and it probably was– there’s no way normal use by legal prescription should get by the team doctors and the NFL’s waiver policy), I still can’t see cutting him for such a first offense, which was my original point.

  • Cols714

    Reading about Haley, it seems that he had a pretty good relationship with Kurt Warner at Arizona. While I think this is a good thing, the “Ben needs to be sat down and yelled at” crowd isn’t going to like that news.

    • GlennW

      Back to Todd Haley.  I think that this notion that “Haley and Roethlisberger are going to be oil and water” (fueled by the likes of Mike Florio– enough said) is overblown.  You have to think that even a slightly-off-center Todd Haley is smart enough to behave himself given his career baggage, right?  Haley can still be fiery and all, but the days of an assistant coach waging war Buddy Ryan-style with a franchise player are over.  Or at least I think so, but perhaps I’m underestimating Haley’s instability.

      No, rather I think the issue here is going to be entirely performance-related.  Can Ben and Haley communicate well enough that Ben picks up the offense quickly and effectively?  Moreover, can Ben even play QB truly effectively in a more conventional style?

  • Cols714

    It’s weird how this year everyone has suddenly discovered that who wins or loses the Super Bowl is dependent upon luck and one or two plays.

    The Steelers lost last year because of basically two plays, the Mendenhall fumble and Ben missing a wide open Wallace for the go ahead TD.

    I just don’t remember that much talk about how close the Super Bowl was like I hear this year.

    • David

      Also, on our last drive, as I saw the replay during SB week, Wallace had the 4th & 5 pass in his mitts, but didn’t catch it.

    • GlennW

      No one wants to hear much about luck in general (although it’s certainly a factor) but I would say that luck was a bigger factor in this year’s Super Bowl, only because the Giants recovered both their fumbles when the football bounced their way and had a third fumble nullified by an unrelated penalty not of the Giants’ doing.

      By comparison, Mendenhall was blown up immediately after receiving the handoff, Ben was picked off because of another egregious O-line breakdown, and Ben missed Wallace because he flat-out overthrew him.  Yes, the game hinged on those few plays (as almost all close games do), but those plays didn’t go the Steelers’ way because of a lack of execution, not luck.  As such I resigned myself to the opinion that the Packers were the better team.  Had the Packers won because the football bounced off someone’s rear end and was recovered for TD, I might have felt differently.

      • Cols714

        I agree, I’m not talking about luck, just the notion that the game hinges on so few plays. The Welker and Manningham catches both came down to execution.

        I don’t remember hearing this sort of talk last year.

    • Rob D

      It’s mostly the ESPN mafia trying to will the Patriots to another glorious win. Except they have been very LUCKY their whole semi dynastic reign (Does anyone call the Cowboys of yore..Emmit, Troy and “I push off on every reception” Irvin a dynasty? Not really.) YOu have to win 4..minimum. That 4th SB win would have put them in rarified air indeed and the fact that they didn’t just eats away at their whole world view of Belichick/Brady as unstoppable. They’ve been stopped in 2 SB’s by the same team..its gotta hurt. And Brady has failed in the clutch whilst the opposing QB has soared. Sorta like Ben and the Keystone Kop offense in the final moments of last years SB..Not used to failure in those situations with Ben but apparently he’s not perfect. Brady IS. Right?

      So you ignore the incredible “luck” the Patriots have had over the years (starting with the starting QB going out and Brady coming in, The tuck rule, and more recently, Baltimore choking their way to a loss with a winning TD in their hands and a kick that went awry) and push the Giants off center stage in favour of long, contemplative articles on how Jesus lost the Super Bowl because he was just too noble. The gods were against him, Lady luck..blah blah blah.

      They lost because they failed to execute, had an overly conservative game plan that never stretched the field out, gave up on the run late in the game with the lead which left more time on the clock for the Giants and possibly because Belichick blew a challenge play that cost them an absolutely crucial timeout. That was worthy of Tomlin and whomever the genius’ are that the STeelers employ in the booth upstairs..wink (cheap shot..I love Tomlin but he’s not perfect either)

  • David

    OK, draft time. Looks like all the prognosticators are predicting DT Poe or an OG/OT for us in R1.

    So, DT or O-line for R1?

    I say O-line.

    • Cols714

      I’m good for an OG in the 1st. While I love the idea of getting Casey Hampton 2.0, in the new pass happy NFL I’m not sure it’s smart to use a first round pick on a run stuffing NT.

      That said, the Steelers usually nail their 1st round picks (although Hood may be the end of the every first rounder is a probowler streak), so I’m probably good either way.

    • Cols714

      You should also add LB to your list. This might be the way to go.

      • Rob D

        Definately ILB…Hightower is one possiblility. I am more concerned with getting a G or 2 in this draft in the 2nd or 3rd round. I can live with Gilbert at LT and Colon coming back at right. I guess! lol…talk to me after the first sack.

        I don’t like the Farrior/Foote combo..well past its due date and not sold on Timmons as a true inside presence. He’s a hybrid that has unique abilities..speed to handle TE’s for instance but I don’t see him as that stout against the run. We need a good to great one and possible signal caller to replace Farrior, I think.

        • Cols714

          Timmons really had a good year in 2010. Last year was disappointing, but maybe because he played OLB some. Also Hampton had a down year and there was no one but a diminished Farrior/Foote next to him.

          I think he’ll be good again in 2012, but I also think that they will draft an ILB soon.

          • Rob D

            Yeah. Cols..I go back and forth on Timmons..It was a bit of a mess for him this year and it may just have been circumstances…Harrison out etc. I like him a lot

    • GlennW

      Equal or similar players, O-line.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Our DL looks the thinnest it has been in a long time. If we’d won in Denver, our starters for the next game would have been Hood, McClendon and Heyward, with no backups who have ever played for us. Kiesel will likely be healthy, but even if Hampton restructures and is healthy, he’s pretty close to the end. I hope we get two DL fairly early.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    It looks like Haley’s hiring is official.

    Seems like a high-risk, high-reward hire…

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/nfl/wires/02/07/2020.ap.fbn.steelers.haley.2nd.ld.writethru.0724/index.html

    • Rob D

      Kinda scary and exciting at the same time. I don’t think he would have passed the interview without explaining a lot about his perceived behavior and conflicts.

      I guess we are about to find out what kind of guy we have at OC..and I’m happy with a change.

    • Randy Steele

      I choose to be optimistic about this one. I think it will work out fine.

      • Cols714

        Optimistic for sure. No reason not too. I liked Arians and though he did a good job, but there isn’t any reason to think that Haley won’t be able to do better or at least as good.

        Plus it’s always fun as fans when stuff like this happens. 

      • GlennW

        I dunno.  It’s amazing how the same people go from “hell no!” to “good hire” as soon as the Steelers sign Haley on the dotted line (and this from the guy who initially endorsed Haley, before I remembered all the crazy stuff that went down after Haley was fired by the Chiefs).  But we’ll see.

        • Cols714

          Like me. I think that Haley is a little bit nuts, but then again I only know what I can see on the teevee. Meanwhile he seemed to have a good relationship with Fitzgerald and Warner in Arizona as the OC. I just don’t see any reason to be pessimistic about it. It’s way more fun to be optimistic and hope everything works out.

          • GlennW

            Good topic: More fun– optimism or pessimism?  Optimism may be more fun, but pessimism is less painful with better upside.  Just ask Ted.

            Hey, I flip-flopped on Haley too.  Which is just another way of saying, how the hell should I know?

          • Cols714

            If you are a Steelers fan, optimism. The team is always competing. I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard they need to cut all the veterans since 2004, but they don’t and they are in it every year. 

            Even next year with the supposed salary cap apocalypse happening (I still don’t believe it) they will sign some guys, cut others and compete for the Super Bowl like always. And yes, having Ben is one of the key reasons this is true.If you are a Browns fan, I think you go with pessimism. Each new regime promises to be better yet your team still always sucks.

          • Rob D

            Ben is 30..they clearly think he’s the guy they have to concentrate on if they want to win more SB’s. 5 prime years coming up..New OC..improve O-line with the draft this year (I can see that happening after they watch tape on Kemo) ..the skill positions are already in excellent shape..and they are mostly very young. I rarely worry about the STeelers ability to build a defense and I am not starting now. They’ll find the LB’ers and linemen they need cause they always do. I like Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown as possible future starters. 

            We probably have some fun years coming up. We’ll be in the running .

  • Dean Keaton

    Apparently Todd Haley is officially the guy that everyone gets to bitch about for the next few years.

    • Cols714

      That’s a good way to put it. At least Haley will have a one season honeymoon type of period. Arians was hated from the very beginning. Even after Ben had over 30 TDs in 2007. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

    The Steelers made their first cuts today: Battle and McFadden.

    • Rob D

      Those were the easy ones…I wonder if Hampton is getting cut? Big salary and he’s showing every sign of slowing down. It could be a bloodbath in terms of who they cut on D this year. 

  • Cols714

    I’ll always remember McFadden for breaking up the passes at the end of the Bettis fumble Colts game. 

    The play on the fade to Wayne was spectacular.

    • David

      Here here. BIG reason why we went to XL.

    • GlennW

      Absolutely.  Unfortunately, seemingly the highlight/peak of McFadden’s career, in only his rookie season after seeing limited action in the regular season.  I really thought we had something.  Probably tells you the value of just looking at a couple clutch plays.

  • Cols714

    Hey guys? Can we get a podcast about the Haley hiring?

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    LaMarr and Juan restructured, saving a lot of cap space. McFadden and Battle cuts also save some space. Ted, could you re-run your numbers to see where we are and how much more work is needed (eg, how far do we get from obvious moves like cutting Kemo and restructuring Ben and Troy?).

    • TO

      Just as I suspected.  The organization doesn’t have the stomach to make the tough decisions.  Cut Arnaz Battle and Bryant McFadden?   Uhh…about 1-year late in this and the cap savings is minimal. 
      What should happen: CUT – Ward, Farrior, Hampton, Kemo, Clark and Farrior.  Simply say goodbye.

      What will happen: Make Ward, Hampton and Farrior take small pay cuts and guarentee them spots on the team.  Keep Clark at his overpriced contract and maybe Kemo will get cut.   Get in barely under the cap without any ability to sign an FAs, with the exception of the typical journeyman hack on the OL that will never play.

      Only hope is that Haley has the nuts to step in and say what the hell is this?   Too bad most of the necessary cuts are on defense.

      • Cols714

        Um are we talking about the same organization that has let Woodson, Thigpen, Randle El, and others go whenever they feel they are no longer useful?

        Also Clark was pretty freaking good last year, cutting him would be dumb and it isn’t going to happen. Ward they may keep as a 5th WR, no real harm, but yeah he could probably go. Hampton is going to come back if he rehabs and takes a pay cut, he wasn’t terrible last year and in case you haven’t noticed we don’t have all that much DL depth. Kemo is gone. 

        They will also keep one of Foote/Farrior at a reduced price, both played OK last year, not great, but good enough to keep for depth.

      • GlennW

        I don’t believe what you propose (“small pay cuts” for all these veterans) is even feasible without violating NFL salary cap rules.  I mean, the Steelers are currently  some $20M over the cap.  Be patient.

        The part about barely getting under the cap is probably reality though, even WITH the more drastic veteran cuts.

      • David

        I agree with Farrior and Kemo. To an extent Hines, b/c cutting him, with the purpose of re-signing him at a lower price, which is technically illegal, makes sense.

        Clark is a different story. Mundy played a good game at DEN, making me think Clark is expendable. Also, I will never, ever forget his failure on that last play vs. the Raisins. But cut him? I don’t know.

        But others to cut: Foote, maybe Big Snack, like you said

        • Cols714

          I don’t get the idea of cutting Clark. He was good last year. Cut him and you have Mundy and then….?

        • GlennW

          What’s the basis for thinking that Mundy played well in the Denver playoff game?  I’m not going to single him out– it was a bad defensive game plan– but the secondary as a unit was torched by a lousy QB so I don’t know how you’d go about determining that your free safety played well within that mess, including on the game-deciding play where it was Mundy who read “run” and blitzed into no-man’s land.  (Now that I think of it, I believe that it was Clark himself who said something about Mundy acquitting himself in Clark’s absense, but I took that as just sticking up for a teammate, at best.))

          Yeah, I’m hardly sold on Ryan Mundy.  If due to his salary Clark has to go then so be it, but otherwise let’s see what we can land in the draft while getting another year out of Clark.

  • Cols714

    At his press conference Haley said they will keep most of the same terminology but will completely scrap the old playbook and start new.

    That surprised me. 

    • GlennW

      Roethlisberger’s comments are pretty interesting.  For the most part still backing Arians (“shock, surprise” that Arians was fired), that Ben will form his own opinion of Haley in time, but most importantly– and this came across loud and clear– do NOT overhaul this offense.

      None of this would be surprising if stated privately.  But publicly, usually with such a coaching change all you’ll hear (at least at the introduction) is something like “he has a great reputation, I look forward to working with him, and I’ll do whatever I’m asked to make this work”.  Not from Ben, not totally.  I don’t really expect problems here but it’s enough to give you pause, as if Ben is saying “so, win me over”, right from the start.  And Haley might just have to do that.

      My own opinion is that Ben is best off keeping his mouth shut, regarding both Haley and about this conversation he’s supposed to have with Art Rooney II around the direction of the team.  Hey Ben, you’re not that far removed from being bailed out of total disgrace, in some part by the team.  Rooney especially likely doesn’t want to hear it from Ben about franchise-level decisions.

  • Cols714

    Until Arians was fired, I had no idea how much many Steelers fans hate the deep passing game. I see tons of references to 3 step drops and slants and screens and getting rid of the ball quickly.

    So I’m in the minority here, but I love the medium and deep passing game. To me it is much more fun to watch than the dink and dunk west coast type of offenses.

    As for Haley and Ben? There’s going to be some drama, but I think Tomlin will get everyone on the same page by training camp.

    • Rob D

      A lot of people I run into thought the SB was boring for just that reason. Not many big passing plays. (Drew Brees,Aaron Rodgers have more weapons than NE or NYG’s and that’s what a lot of them wanted to see)

      It seems to me that the STeelers with Whisenhunt as OC threw a lot of those medium passes, especially with Ben rolling out of the pocket. Just as an amateur observer, Whiz seemed to have more variety and “surprise” in his game plans than Arians. I hope we get back to a more diverse offense under Haley.

    • GlennW

      I don’t even care so much about fun or excitement in the offense, a matter of preference in style which is very secondary to production– “fun” is scoring TDs.  But I don’t know why Steelers fans think that the big-play offense has been anything but effective over Ben’s entire career (then again Cols, I’m not sure where you’re seeing this opinion of “hate” of the deep passing game– probably the message boards and the like).

      The entire problem with the offense in 2011 was with scoring, from in/near the redzone (and that hasn’t even been a big problem most seasons), which has little to do with Ben rolling out or sending Mike Wallace deep here and there just to advance into the redzone.  You can certainly have both types of plays in your offense, but at least the criticism of the redzone play-calling might have some merit.  The rest I wouldn’t mess with too much.

      • Cols714

        I see most of this stuff on message boards. And yes, fun is scoring TDs and any offense that does that is pretty much by definition “fun”.

        The more I hear of Haley, if he didn’t come across as such an ainhole, the more it sounds like he might pay attention to some of the details in a way that Arians didn’t seem to and might be more of a perfectionist. Which is really what the offense needs at this point.

        I say seem to because we really don’t know much about how coaches coached their players.