Posted on: October 19, 2010 9:33 am
 

NFL head hits

So Commissioner Goodell is making the league worse by suspending players for helmet to helmet hits.  This is a horrible decision.  Yes I understand player protection is needed.  However, turning the league into an offensive frenzy is the worse thing to do.  Listen, you already cannot hit quarterbacks and now Goodell is making it so that you cannot hit wide recievers.  Is he going to tell running backs they cannot lower their helmets now when hitting the hole to make it fair for everyone?

You want the head hits to stop?  Stop loosening the rules to make it easier for the offense.  Look at these head hits, they were all because of the quarterback.  The media keeps showing these head hits...look at the passes.  In the middle of the field, leading the player, throwing it to a reciever completely covered, over his head...  These quarterbacks are taking more risks now to throw the ball into situations that get their players hurt.  In the 70's, no teams wanted to throw in the middle, and they did not.  Now because quarterbacks know they can get a penalty if it is an incompletetion, they are taking the risk and leading their recievers into trouble.  There used to be a time when a reciever could trust his quarterback to take care of him, meaning throw him the ball in a spot that is going to protect him.  Look at the quarterbacks this week whose players got hurt.  Joe Flacco and Colt McCoy?  Those passes that hurt their reciever never should have been made.  They were horrible passes that lead their reciever into trouble, put the reciever in a defenseless position, and lead to the head hits. 

Basically, if the NFL wants the head hits to stop, stop making this a pass, pass, and pass league.  You have mediocore quarterbacks like Joe Flacco leading his men into danger because they are not good enough to read defenses and put the ball into a place that protects their players.  You never see the elite quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or Drew Brees hang their players out to dry with a vicious hit.  No because they have ball control and brains to know the danger of hanging their player out to dry in the middle of the field.
Posted on: October 7, 2009 10:40 am
Edited on: October 7, 2009 11:52 am
 

First Quarter Power Rankings

After the first 4 weeks there have been some surprises and some disappointments. However, just 4 weeks in is by no means the whole season, but just an indication to what may happen. Here are my quarter rankings based on the teams, what I have seen, what I expect, and what I predict.

1. Saints - not to knock on any other undefeated teams, but the Saints can win with Drew Brees throwing 300+ yards or not even 200 yards. The defense is stepping up and with the ability to win close games without Drew Brees racking up a lot of yardage is a sign this team has elevated itself from years past.

2. Colts - Peyton Manning is looking good and their ability to win with little time possession (as in the Dolphins game) is the reason why this is the best team in the AFC and not far behind the Saints.

3. Vikings - Adrian Peterson is still the best back in the league. They have a great defense, and Brett Favre is limited but still gets the big win at the end of games. If they keep Favre on a leash, this team is going to go very far.

4. Giants - Eli Manning is looking good with all these new recievers around him, and Steve Smith is becoming the new Steve Smith in the NFC WRs corps that everyone is talking about. The defense is still good.

5. Broncos - although I am still not impressed, they are a 4-0 team and they deserve to be a top team. Kyle Orton is doing a good job controlling games and letting the defense do its job. Brandon Marshall is showing maturity.

6. Jets - well Mark Sanchez finally got his NFL welcoming party from the Saints. However Rex Ryan is doing a great job with the defense. Still a good team right now but will be hard for them to win the division with a rookie QB. As of now I have them ahead of the other AFC East team only because of their defense.

7. Patriots - some say the sleepers in the AFC that down the stretch will be back to their old form. I think the offense is not as strong as everyone thought and a lot of problems on the defensive side of the ball. They probably will win the division, mainly because of a rookie meltdown by Sanchez.

8. Ravens - offense is looking good. Defense came up big in some games. The WRs have to be a concern. Also it looks like the AFC north might be the best division in the AFC, so this will be a nice race.

9. 49ers - Al Gore is a very good running back and Shaun Hill is showing he can handle being the starter. Mike Singletary is doing a good job.

10. Bears - They are doing good but I will never like a team Jay Cutler is on. It is a matter of time before there is a team melt down and they fall completely out.

11. Steelers - The champions at 2-2 were struggling for a bit. They might have found a real running back in Rashard Mendenhall, but will they play him over Willie Parker? Ben Roethlisberger is looking very good, but the defense in the 4th quarter is a very huge concern. Troy Polamalu could not get back any sooner, once he does things will only get better.

12. Bengals - I know, they beat the Steelers so why are they behind them. Although Carson Palmer is doing good and so is Cedric Benson, I just don't put as much stock in this team as I do with the Ravens and Steelers. Big game against the Ravens this week, but they just aren't up there with them yet, especially when you compare defenses. A home victory against a division rival is big, but it is just one win, at home nonetheless. Remember, the last time the Bengals won the division, (and only time for what 17 years?) they lost in the first round of the playoffs...meaning this team doesn't have much experience in being playoff contenders.

13. Eagles - Donovan McNabb will come back even better, especially since Kevin Kolb gave a good performance and Michael Vick is sitting there. They, like always, will be there in the end of the season fighting for the division crown.

14. Falcons - This team surprised me. I thought they would come out with a much stronger showing. So far, it has not been impressive. Matt Ryan is still a talented QB and this team will be a wildcard team because they won't be able to take over the top from the Saints.

15. Chargers - defense wins championships? If that is true than the Chargers have no chance. Shawn Merriman being injured is of course not helping. Philip Rivers did not look good the past week and with Tomlinson injured, this team has to rebound to catch up to the Broncos.

16. Cowboys - Tony Romo with 2 weeks without a TD...hmmm? I don't know if 2-2 is good or bad for them. Honestly this team could go 6-10, 8-8, or 10-6 because they are so inconsistent.

 17. Packers - Aaron Rodgers is still an average QB, all that premature preseason MVP crap was crazy. Defensively though they are looking good with Capers 3-4 scheme.

18. Jaguars - even though David Garrard is not a good QB at all, they are making some very good stands in games.

19. Redskins - so sad losing to the Lions. Jason Campbell and Jim Zorn are both not the answer.

20. Texans - such high hope for this team, and now look at them. They still might end up at 8-8 but doubt it.

21. Panthers - wow Jake Delhomme. Really?

22. Cardinals - like I said, losing their offensive coordinator and having one more year added on to Kurt Warner was an equation for not a good year. They will not make the playoffs this year. In fact I say declare the NFC West division winner the 49ers. ( by the way NFC west is the worst division in football, was last year, is this year, and probably will be next year.)

23. Dolphins - any hope of winning the division has got to be gone now. Chad Pennington injured and Chad Henne starting is just not good. Here's an idea, try throwing the ball out of the wildcat! Yes the wildcat is a stupid gimmick but if the team insist on using it, switch it up, and try more passes from it!

24. Bills - Dick Jauron should be gone. Trent Edwards is horrible...you have to look off the defender! What a shame for the Bills fans. This team does have good talent. Just a horrible coach.

25. Titans - 13-3 to 0-4.They won't win this week against the Colts. Kerry Collins is done and Vince Young is not the answer, so what are they going to do at QB. Also, this defense went from a top 3 to dismal.

26. Seahawks - I don't pay attention to them, all I can remember them from this season were those hideous green uniforms a couple of weeks ago...

27. Lions - well they won a game...woohoo. However, like I said waste all that money on a QB for a first draft pick, give him no offensive line and no defense and what will happen? Well now he is injured. Yeah getting yourself beat up everyday is a great learning experience. However, they aren't the worst team anymore!

28. Buccaneers - I wish Bryon Leftwich got more of a chance, but oh well.

29. Chiefs - so Matt Cassell isn't the answer. Such a shame this team because they really do have one of the best most loyal fan bases in football. I always hope for this team, and while here's hoping to next year.

30. Rams - this team will have the #1draft choice next year.

31. Browns - even though this team is the worst team in the NFL, they will somehow surprise some team, get a win or two and just beat out the Rams as the 2nd worst team in the NFL, record wise that is.

32. Raiders - I always put the Raiders on the bottom of the list and here is why...Al Davis. As long as he is alive this team is going nowhere and they will always be bottom of the list. WOW JaMarcus Russell is just awful and Darrius Heyward-Bey as the first round draft choice. HAHAHA! And people wondered why Richard Seymour tried to stay out of Oakland.

Posted on: June 22, 2009 12:57 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2009 9:53 am
 

Pointless 2009 predictions

Although offseason predictions are pointless, I am bored and decided to make my predictions for the 2009 season since the draft and free agency is all over. And since summer has started, that just means soon it is time for camps and then pre-season!

AFC East:

1) New England Patriots - they are good, not great though. Everyone is focused on Tom Brady's return, however I question if a 30+ QB returning from a serious injury and an infection, with a baby coming, is going to play as he did in 2007. I doubt it, but even with a questionable Brady, this team is good enough to win the division.

2) New York Jets - Rex Ryan is trying to create some buzz...he is already annoying, but Mark Sanchez may surprise a lot come the end of the season and give a strong push for the division title, only to fall short.

3) Miami Dolphins - they caught a lot of teams off guard last year, however Chad Pennington and the wildcat offense will not be succesful this year since teams know what to expect, and they have a tougher schedule. Also defense has to get better.

4) Buffalo Bills - Terrell Owens? Please Trent Edwards has to be consistant throughout an entire year for a WR to be productive.

AFC South:

1) Indianapolis Colts - tough division. However, the Colts will probably make it just because they do have Peyton Manning. All the coaching changes are a concern, however I see problems with the rest of the division.

2) Houston Texans - really improved a lot at the end of last season, and I just think they will be a 9-7 team.

3) Tennesse Titans - last year was a great year for them. However Kerry Collins is not going to make it through another season. Albert Haynesworth did a lot for the defense, however they can overcome it. But still not a strong offense to win the division.

4) Jacksonville Jaguars - so many problems. Jack Del Rio was very wise to keep David Garrard over Byron Leftwich...I hope my sarcasm is noticeable.

AFC North:

1) Pittsburgh Steelers - the Superbowl champs will once again have another tough fight for the division. They haven't lost much except for Larry Foote, but they have Lawrence Timmons to step up. Winning the division will be the toughest obstacle for the Steelers. Once getting past the division title, they will be in the AFC Championship game at least.

2) Baltimore Ravens - the only other contender in the division. The departures at the defense, along with Rex Ryan has to scare some. Some believe Joe Flacco is already a superstar. Having a completion % around 45 in the playoffs is not a good stat. If he has the sophomore jinx, like I predict, this team will once again depend on the defense to win games and hope that the offense doesn't lose it. Good thing they have Ed Reed.

3) Cincinatti Bengals - Carson Palmer might be healthy now, but the team is in chaos. Is Marvin Lewis ever going?

4) Cleveland Browns - Brady Quinn will have a good year, but not good enough to help the team out of the basement.

AFC West:

1) San Diego Chargers - weak division with Philip Rivers the best player in it. 9-7 wins the division.

2) Kansas City Chiefs - I look for this team to put on a good show in the year and end up 8-8 with some surprise wins. They could even give a push for the division. Matt Cassel should improve the offense, but the question will be answered if he is a long term answer.

3) Denver Broncos - some criticize them for the move with Jay Cutler, I applaud it. This year will be a rebuilding year but now they can go after a QB that is a team player and build a franchise around him, whoever they might find.

4) Oakland Raiders - unless Al Davis dies, there is no point talking about this team.

NFC East:

1) Philadelphia Eagles - tight race, Eagles will end up on top.

2) NY Giants - Eli Manning has to prove he can win without Plaxico Burress. The defense though on paper looks like a beast.

3) Washington Redskins - $100 million on Haynesworth is a waste. They will be an 8-8, 9-7 team.

4) Dallas Cowboys - 8-8. Tony Romo might never get the monkey off his back. You know, winning a playoff game.

NFC South:

1) Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan needed a better defense around him so pressure will be lifted off of him. The team has done enough so that they can win the division. I consider this team to be a big contender in the NFC playoffs.

2) New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees is one of the best QBs in the league. Reggie Bush is a great utility back. However the defense sucks.

3) Carolina Panthers - well Jake Delhomme needs his team to run it. Does not matter. The Panthers know that unless they win the superbowl, they will have a new coach after this season, Bill Cowher.

4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - they dumped everyone last year. Now they have 4 QB's, and not one really penciled in as the starter. This will be a tough rebuilding year for them.

NFC North:

1) Minnesota Vikings - stop the Brett Favre crap, and this team will win the division. Strong defense, and Adrian Peterson.

2) Green Bay Packers - they will be contenders for the division, but won't do much.

3) Chicago Bears - Jay Cutler for all those draft picks? The defense needed replenishing. It really didn't get it. Matt Forte is really good, but I forsee more problems than solutions with Cutler in a Bears uniform.

4) Detriot Lions - everyone talks about drafting a QB in the first round. Well Matthew Stafford was picked first overall, and he has no offensive line to protect him, and on the other side of the ball is a very poor defense. Good luck to the Lions dumping all that money into a first round draft pick with so many other needs.

NFC West:

1) Seattle Seahawks - 8-8 wins this division. I only picked the Seahawks because they won the coin toss I did.

2) Arizona Cardinals - old man Kurt Warner has nothing left in the tank. Yes he was once great, but now teams are going to punish him for 16 games straight. This defense couldn't even stop the Steelers offense which struggled all year.

3) San Fransisco 49ers - I don't know much about the team except I do like Mike Singletary. I think he can bring them back to winning football in a couple of years.

4) St. Louis Rams - I look for the Rams to have the first draft choice in 2010.

In the AFC, the seeding will be:

1. Steelers

2. Patriots

3. Colts

4. Chargers

5. Ravens

6. Jets

NFC Seeding will be:

1. Eagles

2. Falcons

3. Vikings

4. Seahawks

5. Saints

6. Giants

Of course these mean nothing but those are my predictions.

Posted on: March 16, 2009 12:39 pm
 

The Pirates should go after Martinez

Last year the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation had a league worst ERA at 5. Pedro Martinez, last time I checked, had not signed with any clubs yet. He wants around $5 million for a one year deal. The Pirates should make him an offer for just that. After having a 5 ERA, obviously the starting rotation could not do any worse. That was the weakest part of the Pirates last year, and this offseason nothing has been done to improve the starting pitching. Tom Gorzelanny, Paul Maholm, Ian Snell, and Zach Duke are 4 starters this year that started last year. They are younger guys that have had some experience now in the majors. There is a new pitching coach, and if the Pirates added Pedro into that rotation, those younger pitchers will learn alot from Pedro.

Here is what the $5 million will get the Pirates. First of all, it brings them a starting pitcher that can win games. The downside to that is his endurance is down, so he may only get 5-6 innings per start. However, the Pirates bullpen is strong enough to carry the load for an extra inning or two. The bullpen will also be able to come into the game with a more managable situation. Another thing the $5 million buys is added experience. Pedro has been in the playoffs, he has won a World Series with the Red Sox, he has been on center stage for a team, he has been in a fierce rivalry with the Yankees, he has been on a Mets team that collapsed twice, and he has also been on losing teams. He will be able to mentor the young pitching staff of the Pirates with game, seasonal, and career experiences. Pedro is also a guy that likes to have fun. He will be able to make it fun for the other pitchers even during the losing times.

Overall, if the Pirates were to go after Pedro Martinez, it would be a very worthy $5 million investment. He will be able to get more wins than whatever other 5th starter the Pirates will get, and he will teach the younger pitchers, which is worth every cent of that $5 million.

Posted on: February 17, 2009 10:30 am
 

A-Rod: Don't hate the player, hate the game.

  The past week people have been blasting Alex Rodriguez for testing positive for steroids in 2003. Of course because he is with the New York Yankees so everyone wants to attack him. However, let's not focus the blame on A-Rod, or the Yankee organization. Let us focus on Major League Baseball and its commissioner Bud Selig.

  The MLB has known of the use of steroids in the league for sometime now, and they never really wanted to prevent it because home runs drives ratings up and steroid use means more home runs. Baseball has struggled since the strike to regain the interest of fans. The big home runs has been baseball's best tool to get back the interest of people, and if steroids is going to help that, then Bud Selig won't stop it. A-Rod tested positive back in 2003. MLB obviously knew he did and did not take any actions whatsoever nor did they say anything once he signed a huge deal with the Yankees. And now Bud Selig is saying A-Rod did something wrong and that he is shameful...while this nothing more than hypocrisy. Bud Selig is the one to blame. Bud Selig needs to step up and either take real actions to stop steroids in baseball or he should resign, and I think the latter will be better only because he has no attention to stop steroid use, because he believes home runs will not be as frequent.

  Trust me, I am a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, where the entire lineup equals the payroll of just Derek Jeter and A-Rod, and do not have any good feelings towards the Yankees. What A-Rod did was illegal based on U.S. laws, but it's like the old saying goes, don't hate the player, hate the game. And baseball did not prevent any of this. If you do not want to blame baseball or Bud Selig, than ask yourself this, how come in 2003 when MLB saw all these players tested positive, nothing came of it? In fact when this was first reported about A-Rod, MLB statement was that if the lab that had done the testing had destroyed the tests like they were supposed to, than none of this would have come out. Of course that's not the actual quote, I am just paraphrasing. Still think of it this way, you get caught doing something wrong, but nothing is said nor is any punishment made, why would you stop doing it than? It was if baseball was saying even if you got caught we would not punish you. It was not until Congress stepped in did Bud Selig say he would suspend players for steroid usage.

  Of course there are many things wrong with baseball. Things like salary cap and revenue sharing are things that should be considered. However, Bud Selig and company want the big teams with big names (even if they are on the juice) in the playoffs every year. Therefore Bud Selig ignores the problems in hoping to boost revenue and fans.

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 7, 2009 1:59 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2009 2:00 pm
 

Tony's offseason power rankings

Of course without the excitement of the Free Agenecy period with all the big signings, or the draft, this is just based on the now, of course there will be some curve balls in the next couple of months.  These rankings are based on what the teams did at the end of the 2008 season, the coaches, and I won't lie, some personal attitudes.  Any disagreements on let me hear about, and give me the reasoning, because some of the teams I will admit, I don't know as much on them as others.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers  - of course the champions, they will stay at the top until they suffer a loss.


  2. New York Giants - if they get their RBs situated and figure out the Plaxico situation, this team will be deadily if injuries don't plague them like last year.


  3. New England Patriots - as much as I dislike this team, you have to wonder what would have happened if Tom Brady played.  if he is healthy as eveyrone is saying he is, this team will be a powerhouse, especially with the defense getting younger players in it.


  4. Carolina Panthers - looked good all year.  If they stick to the running game, instead of allowing Jake Delhomme to throw, this team will be good.


  5. Philadelphia Eagles - somehow they always find a way to be in there.  If they keep both Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid they will once again be contenders.


  6. Atlanta Falcons - amazing year for a rookie coach and rookie QB.  If they get some good defensive players this year, this team will be even better.  However Matt Ryan in the sophomore slumps?....


  7. Miami Dolphins - looked good.  I said Tim Tebow would be a good addition to the wildcat formation too bad he is staying for one more year, however this team will improve from last year's performance.


  8. Arizona Cardinals - losing the OC is not too much of a deal, with Ken Whisenhut, who is an offensive mind himself, as the head coach.  However, Anquan Boldin, now that's an issue.  So is Kurt Warner, am I one of the only ones that believe even if he returns he won't be as effective at his age?  I don't know...I feel hesisitant to put them this high, but I figure out of respect for being the NFC champions...no respect however for being the NFC west champions.


  9. Minnesota Vikings - good defense and a good running game.  Can't go wrong with that.  Jackson needs to continue to develop himself into a QB Childress thought he could be.


  10. Tennesse Titans - Kerry Collins is old, so even if he returns will he be as effective?  Haynesworth is going to be a lot of money.  These are 2 big issues for the Titans.


  11. Indianapolis Colts - Tony Dungy gone?  Can this team be the same?  I say no!  Harrison is not the same, and Manning is getting older.  Meaning I think this team's dominance in the NFL is coming to an end.


  12. Baltimore Ravens - losing Rex Ryan will be big only because he might lure some people away from the Ravens.  Unless no other teams want to pay Ray Lewis, the Ravens will lose him and need to focus on the rest of their linebackers.  Also Joe Flacco and sophomore jinx?  I don't know about that one either...


  13. San Diego Chargers - how is it this team every year can find a way to make it?  I don't know but LT either won't be a Charger or won't be the same, because he will be bitter about the cut in salary he took for the Chargers.  Philip Rivers is very good, but can Sproles take the punishment of a starter for 16 games? 


  14. Dallas Cowboys - T.O. or no T.O. I stopped ranking this team higher up since they can't seem to win when it counts.  That's all I have to say.


  15. Houston Texans - looking promising.  Strong finish and hopefully they will have a good offseason to build on this team.  I don't know but this might be my pick to win the AFC South come September.


  16. New Orleans Saints - Drew Bress is great and although I'm not a big fan of Reggie Bush, he means a lot for that team so hopefully he comes back healthy.  They just have to do something on the other side of the ball...what is it called?  Oh yeah defense.


  17. Washington Redskins - started off so strong but slumped.  Campbell said he was getting blamed for the losses and well he should have.  His performace dropped much so in the second half of the season, hard for me to say why that was, maybe teams just learned to pressure him more and the mistakes happen.  Who knows but maybe this team should consider a future without Campbell?


  18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - what a meltdown at the end.  But what can you expect when the defensive coordinator pretty much just leaves with 4 games left in the season (didn't literally leave but already decided to leave after the saeason which leaves a question to his commitment to the team)...isn't 4 games left when this team had it's meltdown... I don't know about the head coaching change they just made...


  19. Chicago Bears - need a QB.  Bryon Leftwich had a good year for the Steelers as a backup.  Is he a QB that was once a franchise QB, has the experience needed.  And is a free agent.  Chicago, go after him!


  20. Denver Broncos - I thought they pre-maturily acted on the coaching change.  Until Jay Cutler can get to the playoffs and win a playoff game, I will keep him in the class of QBs that involve words like mediocore, average, and decent.


  21. San Francisco 49ers - they made some leaps and bounds this year.  Singletary is, while he is something.  QB situation is troublesome but I look for them to push for the NFC West title...sorry I had to pause at the thought of thinking how small of an accomplishment it must be to win the NFC West.


  22. Buffalo Bills - they need a new coach.  Jauron just blows games.  Good team overall though.  They need some help on defense.  Other question for them though is can Edwards be a consistant QB all year?  I don't think so and that's why they are in the 20's here.


  23. Green Bay Packers - looked good but too many games they just, I don't know, gave up on.  Aaron Rodgers had some good games, but then some really bad games.  They need help on defense. 


  24. New York Jets - they have no cap room.  They don't have a QB, Favre is not returning, and Kellen Clemens is not carrying this team to the playoffs.


  25. Cleveland Browns - they finally got rid of Crennel...but is Eric Mangini any better?  The recievers need to hold on to balls,  they have to keep themselves from going to the 4th and 5th string QBs due to injuries and they need improve the defense.


  26. Seattle Seahawks - they have problems.  Hasselbeck just hasn't returned to form of 3-4 years ago.  This team however is not out of it, since they have a high draft number and play in the NFC west.


  27. Jacksonville Jaguars - I think they will be making a coaching change after this season.  They made a huge mistake last year taking Gerrard over Leftwich, and even more so, giving Gerrard a big extension only after one season. 


  28. Oakland Raiders - Al Davis is the owner.  Doesn't matter who the players or coaches are, AL DAVIS IS THE OWNER.  He is the only reason this team struggles every year.  He is in fact the reason I rank them so low.  I contemplated putting Davis 32nd, but we all know who deserves the 32nd spot.


  29. Kansas City Chiefs - Herm Edwards is finally gone...I hated his press conferences.  This team has one more year of rebuilding, but with the way they played this year, fighting tough until the end, with all young players, I think this team will grow, under new direction of an offensive minded guy, into a contender in the 2010 season.


  30. Cinncinnati Bengals - this is one team I don't understand that keeps their head coach.  Under Marvin Lewis this year has one winning season.  ONE WINNING SEASON!  At least Palmer will be back, but TJ will be gone. 


  31. St. Louis Rams - I don't see this team making bis steps this year.  However they have a chance and maybe they can improve to a .500 team, and as we all know, a .500 team in any division in the west, is good enough to win the division.


  32. Detriot Lions - I for one did not want to see a winless team.  I felt bad for the Lions.  Hopefully with Millen gone and new coaching, this team will recover.  They have a serious rebuilding time ahead of them.


 

Posted on: February 7, 2009 12:26 pm
 

Steelers defending title in '09

After their amazing 6th Superbowl title, I have much hope for the Steelers to defend their title in the 2009 season.  The biggest reason, the schedule.  We all know the '08 Steelers had one of the toughest schedules in football, and they went 12-4 with it.  In '09, the Steelers will face (besides their division inc. Browns, Bengals, and Ravens) Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders, Broncos, Titans, Dolphins, Bears, Packers, Lions, and Vikings.  Not an overwhelming schedule based off of '08 performances, with only  4 playoff teams being faced.  However, maybe this is a trap, because the tough schedule this year led to the Steelers being a tougher team with facing hard games all year...


Another reason I believe the Steelers will be able to defend their title (this I mean repeating, yes there I said it) would be the coaching staff.  Mike Tomlin is no lame duck.  Last time the Steelers won the SB in 2005, Coach Bill Cowher already had one foot out the door.  The team just did not seem the same.  I believe Mike Tomlin is only going to continue to grow as a great football coach.  Also, with DC Dick Lebeau returning as a 48 year old man (sorry all year I heard Madden say "he's 71 going on 48") the defense will remain a powerhouse.  The biggest issue at the coaching staff I have is OC Bruce Arians.  He does not create an identity for this football team.  However, at times, like the first half of the Superbowl against the Cardinals, first half against the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, and the entire Chargers divisional game, Bruce Arians came up with great play calling, but the rest of the time, he is so predictable and his calling just stalls out the offense.


The most important factor leading to the Steelers repeating (yes I am able to just flat out say that right now, still feel like I'm doing wrong by saying it though) is the players.  Ben Roethlisberger had a great playoff run, and let's not forget he had troubles this season.  I believe he had 17 TDs and 15 ints...however a season before he threw for the 2nd highest amount of TDs of 31.  The best of Ben Roethlisberger should come out this year with maturity under his belt after this Superbowl win (meaning no more motorcycles without a helmet).  Now the biggest question is the O-line. Wilie Colon, Darnell Stapleton, Justin Hartwig, Chris Kemoeatu, and Max Starks did have many problems this year in pass protecting, which is the hardest thing for O-line to do.  However, let's not forget to recognize that the only one on this line that has been a regular starter for the Steelers outside of this season is Starx.  This was the first time for all 5 those men to play as a unit together.  It takes time for the O-Line to make a chemistry and work together.  I don't think the line is as in dire need as some people believe.  As FA go, both Starx and Marvel Smith are up.  I say Smith will be the cheaper player due to his injuries, and let Starx go, and use Smith to develop younger players.  Other than that, the Steelers should sign Kemoeatu and maybe draft 1-2 linemen to develop up.  This line will improve tremendously just by having an offseason to work together as a unit.


For the rest of the players, offensively, Nate Washington is a good WR, if they can keep him cheap great, if not, I look for the Steelers to look for a WR in the draft to make up for Washington and Ward coming of age (I also look for Ward to take a paycut due to the fact he will have a lesser role in the '09 year).  Limas Sweed will come on in the '09 season with maturity, meaning no more dropped passes going in for a TD.  They are set at RB's with Mewelde Moore, Rashard Mendenhall, Willie Parker, and Gary Russell.  I look for Mendenhall to replace Parker by the end of '09 as the starting back however. 


Defensively, the Steelers will probably let Larry Foote go...he wants to return to Detriot and finish his career there.  The Steelers will have to sign Keyaron Fox, who played great when he was in, and maybe him, Timmons, or Bailey will take the position of MLB to replace Foote. Bryant McFadden might be lost, if the Steelers don't resign him, they will look for a replacement in the draft.  The biggest hit will be to the special teams.  Arnold Harrison, Sean McHugh, and Andre Fraizer were all very good on special teams, and they will all be FAs.  Special teams might not be that important to some, but the Steelers too often have had bad coverage and let big plays happened...without these guys, it will happen more.


My ideal draft would consist of 2 linemen to develop into the system.  A possesion reciever.  A DE for the aging Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith.  A DT to be a backup to Casey Hampton, and since Orpheus Roye is a FA. A safety since Anthony Smith will be let go into FA as a "failed project." And depending on what's out there either 2 CBs or 1 CB and 1 LB.  Ideally,  McFadden will be kept, than the Steelers will only need a CB to fill in, and then they can go after a LB to develop into the role and that can play special teams.


All this said, if the draft happens as I hope, I think the Steelers have a very good chance to repeat.  The core players are staying intact, Tomlin is ready to do it all again, and the easier schedule leads me to believe this team has everything in place to defend their title and repeat. 

Category: NFL
Tags: Steelers
 
 
 
 
 
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