SoCalC: Hey Wex, Green Bay fullback John Kuhn had 378 yards of total offense and 6 touchdowns this season. Pittsburgh's Matt Spaeth and David Johnson combined for 127 yards of total offense and 1 touchdown while playing both fullback and tight end. I'm so frickin' tired of this scatterbrained offensive system and approach of Bruce Arians. Why is Arians so hell bent on not allowing a multi-purpose FB to be a part of "his" offense? Why does Mike Tomlin allow this to go on? Why not just cut Spaeth and Johnson and add a multi-purpose FB and a pass catching TE like Jermichael Finley to compliment Heath Miller?
All I know for sure is that when you say, "Hey, Wex, that was a fine column," you are complimenting me. When you add a pass-catching tight end, you are complementing Heath Miller, or whomever. Sorry but it's a grammatical mistake that I'm seeing so often, from even professional writers, that it's been bugging me.
Now that I'm done hissy-fitting, are you sure you want "a multi-purpose FB"? Those guys, those transplanted tailbacks, never pan out as lead blockers. I don't want anything to do with Stanley Havili or Charles Clay. And any time one of these new-age fullbacks enters the game, everyone knows they're not going to lead block, so what's the point? They may as well leave Johnson there, since he was blocking so well at the end of the season.
jenksinrke: Wex, a couple of questions:
1) Why didn't the Steelers entertain hiring Rod Woodson as their DBs coach? I thought he would be a great fit here.
2) I think there will be a solid cornerback option at the bottom of Round 1 in April, but what are the chances that we would bring in someone like Champ Bailey to play opposite Ike Taylor? That would push Bryant McFadden and William Gay inside and then improve our nickel and dime corner positions.
3) We see the Packers play inexperienced guys at cornerback. Yet, the Steelers can't seem to get Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler on the field. If Anthony Madison gets the nod over the young guys, what does that say about them?
1. On Woodson, he lives in the Bay Area so I'm sure that had a lot to do with him joining the Raiders' staff. If you listen to Woodson closely, you'll recognize that he has no real emotional ties to the Steelers, i.e. his mutt references in his Hall of Fame speech. Frankly, I'll be surprised if a wealthy superstar who hasn't been involved in coaching will be successful at it. But he's always been a classy guy, so I wish him the best of luck.
2. Champ Bailey? Are you tweeting a revolution? First of all, no one has any idea about the size of the salary cap and the Steelers have their own players to re-sign. Secondly, Bailey will be 33 next season and will command a huge contract. So you must be thinking that it's Opposite Day.
3. I doubt Butler and Lewis would've gotten on the field had they been with the Packers. Coaches don't miss obvious talent, which Tramon Williams and Sam Shields have. It seems as if people want to bash Dick LeBeau's playing requirements. I just don't understand how his results can be questioned.
jband1: Hey Wex, so many people want guard or tackle with our first pick. What is your thinking on which position is more valuable? Also, I see CB as our top need but some sites have S Rahim Moore as our first-round pick. Can you give me your insight on CB vs S as top need and work our need into how/who plays nickel, dime, etc? Some have called for two CBs.
Tackle's a more valuable position overall, and if we are to question Willie Colon's return as a free agent – as Tomlin did the other day – it's possible a blue-chip developmental prospect will be chosen for the fourth spot behind Max Starks, Flozell Adams and Jonathan Scott. And if there are concerns about a full recovery for Starks, the need grows. I have no problem with drafting an OT in the first round, nor do I have a problem with them drafting a guard, a position with perhaps the weakest starters.
As for CB vs. S, Moore has quality coverage skills and could be viewed as a CB by the team. If that move were to fail, he could always fall back to safety. That's the only reason I see them drafting a safety instead of a corner. The inside slot corners are Gay and Madison until someone better comes along. It could be a first-round draft pick; it could be someone like Kendric Burney, a third-rounder who looks like a blue-chip nickel/punt gunner to me.
jband1: WR is moving up some priority charts. Where do you see value and need meeting this pick? And my favorite question: Do you have any idea on picks 4, 5, and 6? Do we draft a NT such as Sione Fua or a kicker such as Alex Henry P or do we load up at LB like we always do? How about a "scat back" to complement Mendenhall?
You forgot to ask about long-snappers. No, the WR question is just too broad to answer here. And the fourth, fifth and sixth picks? You're killing me, Whitey. You're killing me. No offense, but it's all about value at every point in the draft while making sure you meet your needs along the way. NT is not a need, although Fua's the best of the bunch in my opinion (and Stephen Paea might be a Tomlin-esque new-age NT with his speed). But I doubt they'll draft a kicker. They may be tired of Daniel Sepulveda's glass knee (or they may not), but I'm prepared to give him another year. And I'd rather stay away from "scat backs" since they'll need to pass block at some point. Their "scat backs" are playing WR.
SteelMagnolias: I have a follow-up question to the Feb. 16th Q&A. In regard to the WR position, as some have stated, WR seems to be getting some play. You spend a lot of time watching college ball and give your opinion of players based on how they fit into the Steelers' scheme. You mentioned that Mike Wallace isn't in the mold of a Greg Jennings-type of (No. 1) WR, and that Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are slot-type WRs. Whom do you think are possible WR prospects that the Steelers may consider come draft weekend? Would they pick a WR with the 1st/2nd pick? Basically, could you match a WR prospect with a corresponding round?
Maybe after I winnow this draft class down a bit I'll be able to answer these WR questions. The one first-round example I used was Greg Little. He's a big-bodied deep threat – which says it all about first-rounders – who was suspended for the entire 2010 season and came out a year early. He has very little tape, and therefore might make for a bottom-of-the-round steal, but there's risk involved. I really don't see them drafting a WR early, unless they're overwhelmed by value. I think they'll give Limas Sweed one more chance and Antwaan Randle El one more year before thinking seriously about WR in the first round next year – when it's that position's turn.
FeMan: Hey Wex, do we win XLV if Santonio Holmes is still a Steeler? Even though he doesn't have the gravitas, he's got the castañas as he showed in XLIII, right? It seems like he wouldn't have been running half-assed routes on that last possession. Did the FO make a huge mistake? Whose decision was it ultimately? Tomlin's? Do you see the Jets even making it to the AFCC without him this year? How much do you think it will cost the Jets to sign him? Wouldn't he have been the shoe-in to ultimately replace Hines Ward if a deal could be made? Not trying to rewrite history, but 7 is 7 and not 6 and however you cut it, with the exception of Hines, our receivers didn't get it done.
Seemed pretty sloppy on both ends of the passing game, but my gut tells me Holmes wouldn't have done it again. I know that isn't logical, but it's my gut. And, no, it wasn't a mistake to get rid of him. How are you supposed to coach, with enthusiasm, a guy you're bringing back for only 12 games and with whom you have no plans of offering big money in the end? That was the sticking point. They couldn't offer big money with his past and they couldn't pretend they would. My guess is it was "a Steelers decision," or a consensus among Art Rooney, Kevin Colbert and Tomlin. It was unfortunate all the way around because you're right, the receivers couldn't get it done in the Super Bowl (although Ward didn't get much of a chance).
FeMan: Shouldn't Bruce Arians lose his job as a result of his blatant disregard for Art Rooney II's edict of "JUST RUN THE DAMN BALL" in XLV? I mean who DIDN'T see Clay Matthews on his back on those runs? I was in a bar in DC last week and a guy said to me that he had money on GB and he figured it was gone because GB couldn't stop us on the ground. He said, "Your OC is an idiot! I can't believe he stopped running the ball!" Isn't that the inherent fallacy of the "built to stop the pass" defenses? That a power running attack can exploit them?
Sure, that's a huge fallacy and college teams like Alabama, Auburn and Wisconsin have taken advantage of those pansy defenses. But I really didn't think the Steelers erred in throwing the ball in the fourth quarter. You make a great case, but until Mendenhall's fumble they had run on 10 of the previous 18 plays against a team with a depleted secondary. When they got the ball back, they were down 11 with 12 minutes to play. They had to throw. My criticism is they threw too short when they should've tested those backup corners deep.
Aeryck: I feel we NEED to draft Mike Pouncey, trade up with a 3rd for this STUD. I realize we have plenty of good bodies there, but, this guy, as was evidenced by his bro, is special. Twins next to each other for the next 10 years would bring this line to a dominant status.
You make a great point. I agree that he's a stud and that two Pounceys mean two linemen who'll play with great zeal and will batter defenders until the whistle. However, I'm not trading a third-rounder for him. That's just me.
SteelerBill: Is Crezdon Butler someone you believe can have an impact next year?
No. I'd just like to see him get on the field and help the team before I think about him making any kind of impact.
SteelChowder: Will the long-term health of Starks be known before the draft? If it is questionable or it's thought to be a potentially recurring injury, could that push tackle up to the top of the draft board?
I'm not in their medical loop, but if Starks is in a bad way they still wouldn't reach for a tackle. As for the "top of the draft board," tackle might already be there, considering Tomlin said this week that he'd like Adams back because Colon's return as a free agent is questionable.