Another View on Tomlin, Arians, Big Ben and Art II

I saw longtime reader Randy Steele’s comment on the previous post about all the upheaval going on at Steelers HQ and thought it would make for a good standalone post. Randy’s views differ from most folks’ here and that’s okay.

In fact, it made a lot of sense and would go a long way in explaining why things went down the way they did in recent weeks. That said, if this post makes you angry and you want to throw things, remember, Randy WROTE THIS, NOT ME. Direct your vitriol accordingly. (That’s a joke. Unless you really are thinking about throwing something.)

- Ryan

*******

During the last Steelers Lounge Podcast, I detected a note of antagonism against the Rooneys and their handling of the forced retirement of Bruce Arians. Somehow his dismissal is being interpreted as a meddlesome act by a group of guileless, petulant owners and managers, and should only have been exercised with the proper approval and under the direction of the head coach. Really?

Well, the head coach had his chance to do it right two years ago… and blew it. But let’s back up for a moment.

According to a report by Jim Wexell (whom I generally trust despite him being somewhat thin-skinned and admittedly hot-headed), the Rooney’s wanted to get rid of Arians two years ago, in part because he wouldn’t follow orders and had a big huge loud blubbery mouth. Apparently, around that time, Arians leaked the players that the Steelers were interested in drafting to some of his buddies in the media, and — quelle surprise! — the information got out. (I suspect that’s why Ed Bouchette is so amazingly adept at guessing the Steelers draft picks.)

The Rooney’s, Kevin Colbert, and the Steelers’ scouting organization were dumbstruck, livid, and absolutely furious, not necessarily in that order.

Now, I worked for several decades as a middle manager, fighting the white collar wars day-in and day-out, and while I profess to be no expert, I know that the number one rule for any middle manager is this: Keep the Boss Happy. And in the case that the boss is also an owner, Keep the Boss Extra Happy.

Mike Tomlin failed to do this.

If Wexell’s report is true, two years ago, one of Tomlin’s bosses, either directly or indirectly, mentioned that the team would probably be better off if Arians was shown the door. Tomlin made the mistake of thinking he had a choice in this matter. Instead of heeding his bosses’ instructions, he and Roethlisberger teamed up to plead Arians’ case and save his job. And the Rooney’s relented… for the time being.

I believe that Tomlin made a big rookie mistake. He made the mistake of believing that being a Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers meant (to him) that he had more power and autonomy than he really had. In reality, Tomlin is simply a middle manager in the organization, despite the heady title on his business card.

By supporting Arians and temporarily saving his job, Tomlin had in fact put himself out on the same skinny branch Arians was sitting, which meant that any failure by Arians would now also be Tomlin’s failure, at least in the eyes of the Rooney’s, which is all that counts.

Snap! So when Arians eventually, inevitably failed, Tomlin failed with him.

And so when it was time to finally do the dirty deed, it was the Rooneys’ job to pick up the ax and swing it, all of which means Tomlin’s authority has been trimmed considerably, I believe.

My point is this: Mike Tomlin should have fired Arians two years ago, rightly or wrongly. By not doing it, he weakened his standing in the eyes of the Steelers’ owners and managers, and consequently, is now suffering the consequences. And one of those consequences is that he most likely did not get to choose Arians’ successor, and he most likely will not get to make any serious hire or promotion without the Rooneys’ and Kevin Colbert’s approval.

I don’t believe that Mike Tomlin has nearly as much authority or trust within the organization as many of us have believed. And I wouldn’t be surprised when it comes time to renew Tomlin’s contract, if the Steelers don’t play hardball with him extra hard. After all, his successor, if he’s had any success with the offense at all, may already be in the building.

- Randy Steele

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  • DJAnyReason

    If the issue was that Arians had loose lips, then yeah, sure.  If the issue was that Arians wasn’t running the ball enough, then I disagree.  Tomlin is hired because of his expertise in managing the day-to-day operations and performance of a professional football team, which includes questions of strategy.  Ultimately, he’ll be judged based on his performance in doing that task, as measured by wins and losses. 

    If Art Rooney II says to him “I don’t like how Bruce Arians is calling plays, I want my team to run the ball more, so fire Bruce and hire someone else,” it is well within Tomlin’s role as head coach (not to mention his own best interests) to convince Rooney otherwise. Again, it’s Tomlin’s job to manage the team, including strategy.  If he believes the owner is issuing an order pertaining to that area that is a mistake, then Tomlin’s job involves convincing his owner why the order is a mistake.  Moreover, if Tomlin cedes to his owner’s demand and the on-field product suffers, then Tomlin will be fired and will have a harder time finding his next job.

    It’s well within the owner’s prerogative to make any demands he wants.  However, persons in managerial positions, such as Tomlin and Colbert, are not there simply to ministerially carry out the directives of the ownership.  They’re hired to use their own expertise – expertise which the Rooney’s don’t have – to improve the Steelers’ personnel and on-field performance.  If Tomlin didn’t make use of that expertise in advising ownership on the composition of the coaching staff, he wouldn’t be doing his job.

    • GlennW

      Fully agreed.  We don’t need our head coach to be a yes-man to ownership, and I for one don’t believe that the Rooneys want one either, or are any more than slightly bothered by Tomlin’s feedback if at all.  Since when have the Rooneys ever run the team this way, with the two preceding firm, headstrong coaches maintaining tenure for decades?  Furthermore as I stated in the last link, with the Steelers returning to the Super Bowl in 2010 and finishing 12-4 in 2011, it’s hardly like Tomlin stuck his neck out two years ago only to be embarrassed by the results.  About the worst thing you can say is that the offense just didn’t quite measure up in 2011.  Hardly a humiliation in the big picture.

      All of this is being overblown at this point, in my opinion.  I just don’t see Tomlin’s stature within the franchise being compromised.  Nor do I believe that Art Rooney II is being terribly meddlesome over how the offense will be run on the field.  Rooney wanted a new OC and he got one.  But beyond that, a couple fairly innocuous statements to the media about making some changes to protect Ben (or more precisely about Ben protecting himself), and it’s off to the races…

      • Cols714

        I agree. This whole deal is overblown. 

        • Rob D

          Arians talked about retirement for the last 2-3 years. I think he basically wrote his own way out of town. Have you ever heard Lebeau say anything but ‘they’ll have to drag me out of here feet first” when is comes to questions of his age and continuing as DC? Nope..he’s fully committed.

          I don’t put down Arians for that ..he was just being honest. Then he basically went back on his word and signed with another team. There are several interviews where he said this was his last stop in the NFL ..with Ben and the Steelers.

          I remember the rumours about ARians leaking info about the STeelers draft board but I don’t know that it was ever proven. If the Rooney’s could have established that as fact, he’d have been gone the minute they did, IMO.Anyway, We went to another SB and lost..and went 12-4 with a still green behind the gills Young Money Crew. 

          Anway…It’s a lot of speculation and we have to rely on insiders who sometimes are trying to generate traffic to their site. It’s about entertainment as well as reporting facts and sometimes its hard to discern when someone is just winding us up or actually has an inside scoop. 

          Hurry up and bring on the draft…lol

      • Randy Steele

        Glenn, I generally agree with your remarks, and yes, all this is completely overblown. It’s the silly season for pro football.

        But I want to add that there’s a difference between a “yes-man” to ownership and a man who knows how and when to say yes to ownership. It’s a subtle craft, and while I can’t explain it, I know it when I see it. And if you want to survive corporate life as a manager, it’s absolutely essential.
        That said, I would add that I wish we had had more of a little bit more of a yes-man as Head Coach when Dan Rooney pointedly asked a certain Head Coach to draft Dan Marino several years ago but was politely laughed off and turned away.

    • Randy Steele

      DJ, the issue with my rant was not about why Bruce Arians was fired, or whether it was fair. Frankly, that doesn’t fascinate me as much as the Mike Tomlin angle does.
      I just kept wondering why Tomlin doesn’t seem to have more clout within the Steelers’ organization, and I think his failure to deal with Arians has something–maybe a lot–to do with it.That Tomlin was confused, if not outright mistaken about Arians’ status with the Steelers at the end of this season, and then to have Art Rooney II later assert himself and perform as emcee for Arians’ “retirement ceremony,” means to me that the Head Coach was effectively kept out of the loop. AR II was flat-out taking responsibility for the decision and its execution. I can only surmise that, at least as far as Arians was concerned, the Rooneys decided they couldn’t completely trust Tomlin’s judgment or his ability to act. And that leads me to further conclude that Tomlin’s stock may not be nearly as high as within the Steelers’ organization as most of us have assumed.

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

    FWIW, Lance Zierlein mentioned on the CBSSports.com podcast that he had heard that Tomlin wanted to run the ball more in recent years. Not sure if that was because of the Rooney II directive or separate from that. 

    • Cols714

      I hope not. I do not want to go back to those days.

    • Randy Steele

      I heard that, too, Ryan, and my question would be, “If Mike Tomlin wanted to run the ball more, why didn’t it happen?”

      • Anonymous

        Who’s to say it didn’t? The Steelers run/pass distribution for 2011 was 44.6% run / 55.4% pass, pretty much exactly league average (median numbers are pretty much identical). The Steelers were not a pass-happy offense by the standards of the NFL – they were a pretty standard NFL offense. 

        This has been the case pretty much every year going back to 2008, the exception being 2010 when Ben missed the first quarter of the season – with 2008, of course, being the year that Tomlin made the point to Willie Parker that he walked past five Lombardi Trophies every day, not five rushing titles.

        Has Mike Tomlin ever articulated that his offensive philosophy involved rushing the ball more often than the league average, or that it involved primarily running the ball?

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

      Colbert also said they aren’t counting on Mendenhall next year because he believes a player needs a full year to recover from an ACL tear.  It will be interesting to see what they do at the running back position.  Currently the roster has Redman, Clay and Barron Batch in addition to Mendenhall. 

      I say we trade all of our day one picks to take a running back in the first round.  We’ll need one for our new offense!

      • Misterio

        don’t forget Dwyer he brings everything Mendenhal has with some power and good hands ( he is not looking to spin at the defender but to sidestep him and make him whiff ) and can run guys over when need be.. remember he was a pretty darn good RB at Georgia Tech

    • Misterio

      The problem with running the ball more with the Bruce Arians system is the personnel is not suited to do so  . Mendenhal ( size aside ) is more of a finesse runner than a physical Back and with no true FB ( we use TE’s lined up as  FB with Arians ) you do not get the same type of surge at the point of attack  and mendenhal is not one to lower his shoulder and keep his legs going to fight for extra yards ( he instead spins and falls down )  . Mendenhal is more of a Amos Zeroue ( sp ) than a Jerome Bettis and needs a hole the size of a F350 to gain yards and with no FB along with poor guard play those holes  simply are not there . Get us a true FB or convert Redman to FB and toss in some power I formations and the running game will improve

      Arians also frustrates so many by going 3 wide with 2 TEs and empty backfield on 3rd and 1 you may as well send a man into the defenses huddle and say hey man were throwing the football !!

  • Mike L

    I agree.  Remember Tomlin make the comment, and I paraphrase “we can get by without a great OL if we have offensive weapons.”  It did not work because Ben is still getting hit too much.  So for everyone dissapointed about the OL is that Colbert’s fault, Tomlin’s or Arians’ telling this to Tomlin.

    One of the most irritating things I hear in defense of Arians is the record of the Steelers during his tenure.  Success is dependant on many factors; drafting well may be the most important, defense, have a franchise QB, so with all these positive factors in place could they win with an average OC?
    I find this arguement similar to me arguing James Farrior is just a good as he ever was because last year the defense was #1 vs the run and #1 vs the pass this past season.  Claiming the Giants do not need to improve their defense (#25) because they won the SuperBowl would also be a failure to take the big picture into account.

    • Cols714

      True. However he also piloted (captained?) an offense that consistently finished in the top 10 by FO’s stats and by traditional stats had 4000 yard passers, 1000 yard receivers and 1000 yard running backs.

      It’s the success of the team, coupled with the statistical success, that makes Arians tenure also a success.

      It may have been time for him to go though and I can’t say I’m unhappy with hiring Haley. It hopefully makes the offense better.

  • Misterio

    spot on IMO and I could not have said it any better , nice work 

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

    According to Mike Mayock, this is a good draft for interior offensive lineman and defensive tackles.  Which is very good news for us since those are two of the positions the Steelers need help at.

  • Cols714

    I was just thinking that it was pretty amazing that the defense ended up so highly ranked despite having only 35 sacks and a low amount of turnovers.

  • http://ThePublicProfessor.com The Public Professor

    Great piece, very insightful.  Though I think the conclusion’s a bit of a reach.  We have no real evidence that the Rooney’s would play extra hard ball at the next contract.  Tomlin’s more or less taking the club to a Super Bowl every other year.  If he keeps that up, they’ll be happy to keep him.

  • UB D

    Interesting viewpoint and well founded in it’s overall concept. But, I believe the overall tone and intensity in the analysis of the situation as well as the conclusion are not as well thought out.

    The Rooneys have for decades been a “hands off” organization. Consider Cower’s several losing seasons that did not result in significant interference by the Rooneys. And their philosophy paid off when they got a franchise QB which is a necessary ingredient. In the 80′s, it took them a decade to take action with Noll even though he was reasonably ineffective.
    I would suggest that such a management philosophy did not change with Tomlin. That is not their style. They are very patient with qualified people and allow them to manage their area’s with much freedom. I think Tomlin has proved himself to be such a qualified employee.

    That being said, there are several points to be made.
    First, every employee needs direction from his superior regardless of his quality and success history. One reason is that good superiors have a more overall view and are less emotionally involved with tough decisions. Subordinates always need such broad direction in any organization. That is a help, not a hinderence, to good management. This scenario certainly fits that thought.

    Secondly, In spite of the above, the Steelers owners and top management are really excellent football people and have always been involved in major decisions. Colberts description of the process several days ago helps define their approach.This certainly qualifies as a major decision which in their (and many other’s) opinions required such direction. This is not meddling, but rather good management. And I would say the Steeler success for the last 40 years would support their expertise.

    As to the conclusion, I believe Tomlin has proven in 4 years to be an excellent manager.

    1.One has to look long and hard to find other NFL organizations that have such team oriented locker room which translates directly into wins. That IS Tomlin’s job.
    2. Not many teams have had such consistant success with so many injuries.
    3. Not many teams are able to keep their star players so inexpensively. The guys want to be here!
    4. I don’t know of any coach who has been able to get 2nd line players to feel and play like starters     with his “next man up” philosophy which all players seem to buy into. (Check out the Eagles and Jets for example along with many others.)
    5. Not many other teams live a “no excuses” mentality.
    6. Not many other teams have so few “prima donas.”

    All of these qualities are the results of the performance of an excellent head coach.

    The  Rooneys are not meddling nor are they stupid. They are good football people that are very smart and excellent owners. Their history supports that conclusion. And I believe they have an excellent, if not great, head coach here in Mike Tomlin. The jury’s still out on him but he has a great start. And unless I miss my guess, Tomlin is a very bright guy who will not put his ego above good direction and proper management in an outstanding organization. I would be shocked if he is not the Steeler head coach a decade from now.

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

      The only problem with the early part of your analysis is that Cowher and Noll were working when Dan Rooney was the primary owner.  Now Art Rooney is the owner and he might not behave exactly like his dad did.

      • UB D

        True, but make no mistake about it, Dan Rooney is still the “owner” of record. And I believe is still actively involved in the Organization at this level. 
        Not only that, Art II is very bright and did not fall far from the Dan tree. I can’t imagine the “historical” Steeler management philosophy could change as long as Dan is involved.

  • Cols714

    OK, now we are all reading how Haley has yet to contact Ben. Great work guys, way to be mature about this process.

    Haley, pick up the damn phone. And he if he doesn’t, Tomlin needs to step in and get these guys together before this blows up.

    Yeesh, what used to be a dramaless team has really turned into team drama these past few years.

    • Rob D

      Don’t know what to think..but I do know that the Steelers should have a presser with Ben and Haley arm in arm…just for show if nothing else. This story about them not meeting is gathering a lot of steam and it’s time to shut up the media on it.

      Perception is reality, unfortunately.

      I know Haley is a good to great OC, but I don’t like his personality. Comes off as a douche too often. I am really worried about how this plays out..And Ben should be making all the right noises about being thrilled with the new OC etc. And he’s not. We need to hear a clear and unambiguous statement about his committment to the new O.

      • Cols714

        On one hand this seems really stupid to even be worrying or thinking about. On the other, if Haley and Ben are both waiting for each other to call and both are stupid and stubborn enough to keep waiting, then how are they going to be able to work together.

        It’s probably just a stupid media thing, but knowing that Haley is an ainhole and Ben likes to make it all about him, this might not be a good sign.

        • Rob D

          Yep, I think most of us know its mostly hot air and offseason gossip..but they really need Ben to contact Haley and then talk about how its all going to be great. It’s stupid but its the reality of todays 24/7 news cycle..the hyena’s smell blood and this thing is just the type of soap opera story they love to exploit for page views.

  • Rob D

    Haley. Roethlisberger.

    Met.

    OK..move on ESPN,,nothing to see here.just two men talking football..

  • Cols714

    Yay, that’s behind us.

    I’ve got high hopes for the offense if they get Mike Wallace back. Really high hopes. Haley, as much of a pain he is, seems to know how to run an offense and even if I liked what Arians did for us, things were seemingly stale last year.

    Ben, Wallace, Brown, Sanders, Miller, Mendenhall (hopefully) are all stupidly talent skill position players. The 2012 Steelers will probably need to win more games with their offense while the defense reloads next year.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    There’s been a lot of talk about the age of the D and how
    many new faces there will be on it in 2012. 
    But there’s a good chance that there will be more personnel turnover on
    O.

    My rough SWAG at the potential number of new players on O is around 12-14, compared
    to around 6-8 on D.  They may choose to keep more guys than this from the current
    roster to avoid too much of a seismic shift, but none of these
    changes would be shocking.  On O, this would be: up to 5 OL, up to 4 WR,
    1-2 RB, 1 TE, 1-2 QB.  On D: up to 3 DL, 1-2 LB, 1-2 CB, 1 S.

    So, if Haley wants to take the O in a new direction with new players, this
    might be a good year to do it.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      The flip side of this is that, if the Steelers want to, they can probably fill out their offense with guys who were either on their roster or on IR at the end of the season.  With the possible exception of Cotchery, the guys who aren’t signed (eg, Max, Foster, Essex, Moore) probably won’t command much money in free agency.  Given that they haven’t yet cut Kemo or Hines, and Colbert said he wants to bring back both Leftwich and Batch, maybe there won’t make much of a change in personnel on O. 

  • Rob D

    Big Ben restructures his contract..again. 

    A few more cuts (probably Ward, Farrior and possibly Aaron Smith) and they should be sitting pretty. They always do what needs doing with Khan running the sal cap show. 

    • Cols714

      Yep. The Steelers do a great job on the salary cap. They can usually keep anyone that they really want to keep, cut the riff raff, and always have good depth so they aren’t screwed if someone gets injured.

  • Cols714

    Khan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    There’s been a lot of chatter on ESPN (and elsewhere) about Wallace signing somewhere else.  At first I was pretty nervous about losing him, but here are a few reasons I’m not:
    1. I don’t think it is highly likely that another team will sign him.  While the compensation for an RFA high tender is down in the new CBA to a r1 pick (from 1+3), this is still a high price to pay when a team could sign a UFA and not have to give up a pick (Ozzie Newsome made this point recently).  And there are lots of good UFA WRs this year: Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson, Colston, Welker, Wayne, Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and others.
    2. We have two other excellent young receivers in Brown and Sanders.  It wouldn’t be hard to fill out our WRs and still have one of the best receiving corps in the league, even if we lost Wallace.
    3. If Wallace signed elsewhere, we’d get both another first round pick and the money we’ve been setting aside to sign him.  So while I’d rather we re-sign Wallace, I trust the front office with the pick and money if we don’t.

    • Cols714

      Agreed on all points. Wallace probably isn’t going anywhere. When’s the last time a Steeler FA left that they wanted to keep?

      Chad Brown?

  • Cols714

    For a team that is almost always in contention the Steelers really do have a lot of doom and gloom around them.

    I’ve been reading that the Steelers are screwing themselves over in the future with all of the restructuring. Is this even true? Isn’t the cap supposed to rise a lot after 2013?

    • Randy Steele

      Ignore the cap drama. The Steelers always manage to handle this stuff with minimum fuss. That’s why they call it, “eKhan-omics.”

  • Cols714

    Every Steelers fan now wants Dontari Poe. And I don’t really blame them. However the guy was only 2nd team Conference USA in college. I certainly wouldn’t trade up for him, no matter how fast he can run.

    • Randy Steele

      I remember thinking something similar two years ago about Jason Pierre-Paul. Playing for South Florida, he was extremely raw and had seem little playing time, but athletically was an absolute super-freak. That said, I thought he was drafted way too high (R1.15) by the Giants. 

      Boy, was I wrong.Is a 350-pound man who can run a 40-yard dash in less than 5 seconds a similar grade of athlete? I don’t know. But I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions for a living.

      • Cols714

        It kind of reminds me though of Matt Jones, the QB/WR who was supposed to go in the 2nd round but had a great combine and ended up going in the 1st. 

        He sucked though.

        • Rob D

          Oh yeah! And didn’t Peter King have a coffee induced man crush on him and repeatedly had him going to the Steelers?

          EVerytime PK gets hot on a player..I know he’s not a Steeler type. He tends to get overawed by combine results and less on “on the field” results.

    • Rob D

      He’s getting talked about a LOT. So he probably won’t be there when they pick but it’s fun to speculate. I think they should go with ILB as the pick especially if HIghtower is there. But I could change my mind if Poe dropped (don’t you wish his first name was Edgar..people playing against him can’t stop feeling a certain dread..a raven is involved!) 

      In other news, Mayock was saying that a lot of the corners in this draft will probably play safety at the next level. Othewise its a very meager draft in terms of safeties. I watched some of the drills today and you can really see the difference in fluid movements from one guy to the next. Cornerback is a VERY hard job requiring athletic abilities mere mortals can never have.

      I had a dream where Casey retired and we were suddenly panicking about who was going to play NT. Until Jamain Stephens stepped up (I kid you not..I have weird dreams) and plunked his 400 lb ass down . He was GI-normous! So maybe going with Poe would be a slightly better option. I have to stop dreaming.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Maybe it doesn’t happen as often as it seems, but… in many recent drafts, there seems to be some guy who is linked to the Steelers early and often and then his stock rises and he’s picked way before us.  Sometimes these guys end up being good / great and sometimes not so much.  Two obvious examples are Mike Pouncey and Branden Albert.  I’m sure the rest of you guys can think of more.

      • Rob D

        What year was it where all those centers went early? (2009) Alex Mack, Eric Wood, Max Unger..all thought of as future C of the Steelers. Mack went 21st to the Browns and Wood 28th to the Bills. We took Ziggy and then missed out on Unger in the 2nd round as he went early the Seahags at 49..I was so pissed..thought we’d get one of those guys but we did alright after that draft by picking up Pouncey.Each one of them seemed to get better and better press as the days before the draft rolled on.

        Sometimes I wish Mayock would shut up since he seems to like and underastand the STeelers system and hypes guys who would be “perfect” for us. Then he goes in the upper half of a round instead of being available when we pick. O well…he’s just doing his job.

        • Cols714

          Yep. I’m glad we got Pouncey instead of Mack though. I really wanted Mack that year, but he seems to be just another decent center while Pouncey seems like he’s better.

          • Rob D

            No question, Cols. If he can stay healthy, he’s a perennial Pro Bowler. He has talent and the competitive fire. 

            None of those three really turned out to be exceptional. Bit of a lesson for us that many of these guys are overhyped and if you have a need,,the guy who seems to fit that need becomes bigger than his resume would ever suggest.

          • Anonymous

            But who would they have gotten instead of Pouncey? Hood and Pouncey vs. Mack and X depends on X.

  • Cols714

    So who is the early favorite?

    Hightower?

    That’s my guess. Fills a need, major program, versatile athlete.

    • Rob D

      Seems to be Cols..as much for his obvious talents as the idea that he’ll most likely still be there when we pick. Some say he’s a little slow  and wonder about his coverage skills. Will he be a 3 down player etc?

      I like everything I’ve heard about him though. Sounds like he could be a signal caller like Farrior. That knee injury sounds pretty bad but young bodies heal. not like my old carcass..lol..He was the Captain of that D and it sounds like he had a lot of competition for top dog bragging rights at a major program. Those kind of guys usually do well at the next level.

      Quote: http://tinyurl.com/7moqdas
      Hightower was one of the nation’s top young linebackers before he tore the anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee four games into the 2009 season. He declared himself fully healed and then some Saturday.”I feel a lot more fluent as far as my movements go,” he said. “I feel as fast as I’ve ever felt, even before my knee injury. I’m definitely moving in the right direction.”If that’s true, some lucky team could get a steal in April’s draft. Hightower’s combination of size and speed has him projected by many as a late first-round pick, but the 260-pound inside linebacker might be better than that.If we can grab him in the first, I’d be happy because I think we can find decent OG’s in other rounds. 

      • Cols714

        The way I read it is that he is also a pretty good pass rusher who can hopefully stay on the field and rush the passer in passing situations.

  • Rob D
    • Cols714

      Sure, but the Patriots couldn’t really move the ball against the good defenses they faced last year. The Steelers, Ravens, and Giants all pretty much shut them down. Those also happen to be the only above 0.500 teams that they played against all year.

  • Cols714

    Hines Ward was cut. Sucks, but they won’t miss him next year. He was my favorite Steeler over the past decade.

  • Ajm97

    Steelers are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ajm97

    steelers rule!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!