´ Steel Curtain Rising: March 2011

Who gets the game ball for the win over the Colts?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Steelers Attempt to Undo Marino Mistake, Trade for Todd Blackledge 23 Years Ago Today

The pre-draft hype is only now shifting into high gear, but with the NFL owners and the union stuck in a stalemate there is little other NFL news of note.

That leaves us non-draft nick bloggers (they don’t show college games in Buenos Aires) to strolls down memory lane…. Which is convenient, as the Steelers have a rich history, chalked full of any number of benchmark setting precedents, as well as several of the more infamous non-decisions in NFL history.

Attempting to Undo the 1983 Error of Omission

Six NFL teams took quarterbacks in the first round of the 1983 draft, and as everyone knows one of those was not the Steelers, passing up on a chance to grab Central Catholic and Pitt start Dan Marino.

But just five years later, the team would make an attempt to redress their worst draft mistake of the modern era.

23 years ago today, the Steelers shipped off their fourth round draft pick to Kansas City for the second quarterback taken in the 1983 draft, Penn State’s Todd Blackledge.

Mark Malone’s 46.4 passer rating (yes, that’s forty six) in 1987 convinced Chuck Noll to make a change so thoroughly that he was willing to do something he rarely considered, let alone acted upon: Trade for another team’s player.

Although Blackledge had disappointed in Kansas City, he’d had his moments, including leading the Chiefs to a 37-27 victory over the Steelers to open the 1984 season. Blackledge brought a slightly better than .500 record as a passer to Pittsburgh, and as the Post-Gazette’s Bruce Keidan said, he also brought “Hope.”

Hope, however, counted for little, as Bubby Brister won the starting job that summer in Latrobe. Blackledge would go on to start three games in Brister’s absence, including a mid-season victory over Denver following a week when everyone, Terry Bradshaw included, was calling for Noll’s head.

Blackledge also played in three games during the Steelers 1989 season, including leading to the Steelers to their first win at Cleveland Stadium in eight years. He fared worse the next week against Houston leading the team to its second shut out of the year, and found himself demoted to the third team behind Rick Strom for the remainder of the season.

Alas, the Steelers attempt to exorcise the demon of the 1983 draft was in vain.

The Steelers would suffer a case of intuitional remorse for the next 21 years, until Dan Rooney sat in the draft room and made sure coaches took a second look at a certain signal caller who wore number 7 from Miami of Ohio….

Thanks for visiting. Click here to follow Steel Curtain Rising on Twitter.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Watch Tower: Merril Hoge Misused? Impatience with Kordell? Neglect of Secondary?

The Watch Tower’s purpose is not to nitpick, but some of Ed Bouchette has come out with some head-scratches during this off-season.

Misusing Merril Hoge?

Several weeks ago, Bouchette focused on the Steelers running backs in his “On the Steelers” column. Bouchtte argued that despite the loss of Frank “The Tank” Summers and the potential loss of Mewelde Moore, Steelers Nation need not worry, as running backs are always to be found.

He’s right, as the Steelers have rushed for more yards since Chuck Noll’s arrival than any other franchise. Then he makes a curious statement:
They drafted Tim Worley on the first round in 1989 and Merril Hoge on the 11th in 1987 and their philosophy was so messed up on offense that often they misused both.

He may be on to something with Tim Worley. Dick Haley told Noll that Worley was an I-Formation back and should stay there to succeed. Noll promptly put him in a split backfield. Worley had a good rookie year nonetheless, but then blew his signing bonus up his nose.

The Hoge comment is harder to figure. “Messed up” only begins to describe Pittsburgh’s offense during Joe Walton’s rein. But Hoge however, was the only constant during that time.

After relegating starters Frank Pollard and Ernest Jackson to the bench mid-way through the 1988 season, Hoge went on to rush 724 times for 2708 yards through the end of the 1991 season. He also caught 173 passes for 1479 yards in addition to scoring 27 touchdowns.

If that is misuse, then Pittsburgh needed more. Hoge of course should have been used more when Barry Foster went down in 1993, but that is another story….

Bill Cowher Lacked Paitience with Kordell Stewart….?

Writing in PG Plus, Bouchette offered this eye-opener in response to a fan who questioned Bouchette’s statement that Kordell Stewart lacked the coaching staff’s support.
Bill Cowher could be a very impatient coach and he was all of that at the quarterback position… In 1997, Cowher chose Stewart and he had such a good season that the Steelers reached the AFC championship game at home, where they lost to Denver. In 1998, he and they had a bad season. Only a few games into 1999, Cowher benched him in favor of Tomczak. This came right after the Steelers had given Stewart a new contract with an $8.2 million signing bonus! Two years later, his teammates voted Stewart their MVP and he made the Pro Bowl. The next season, Cowher benched him again. THAT’s what I meant. [Emphasis added.]

It’s funny, because during the dark days of 1998 and 1999 the press, although I don’t remember Bouchette being in that chorus, tipped over themselves accusing Cowher of being too patient with Kordell Stewart.

The mystifying part of Bouchette’s statement is the bit about benching him after "only a few games." Kordell Stewart started the first 11 games for the Steelers in 1999.

Kordell certainly got a quick hook in 2002. While that might reek of a knee jerk reaction, during the Latin American broadcast of Steelers-Colts Monday Night game later that season Raul Alegree shared this insight:
Hablé con Bill Cowher sobre Kordell Stewart, y él me dijo que no quisiera cambiar a su mariscal, pero sentí que tendría que hacerlo, porque Kordell Stewart había perdido la confianza del resto de los miembros del equipo.

For those of you who do not speak Spanish, Allegre revealed that Cowher had told him he hadn’t wanted to bench Stewart, but felt he had no choice because he sensed that Stewart had lost the confidence of the locker room.

That revelation reported by Allegre, which to my knowledge was never repeated in the English language press, crystallized Cowher’s motive behind the 2002 QB change.

I’ll also add that if Allegre was somehow able to get that nugget out of Cowher in a pregame meeting, you’d have to figure Bouchette would have or should have caught wind of it too.

Neglecting DB?

Bouchette also made another debatable comment in a PG Plus Post a little while later.
The Steelers have ignored their secondary far too long. It’s imperative they stock it with some good, young talent this year.

Bouchette is absolutely correct that the Steelers must get younger and better in the secondary. But does that necessarily mean that Pittsburgh has neglected the position?

A quick look back at the Colbert Record reveals this:

2001 – No DB taken
2002 – Chris Hope, 3rd round; LaVar Glover, 7th round
2003 – Troy Polamalu, 1st round; Ike Taylor 4th round
2004 – Richardo Colclough, 2nd round;
2005 – Bryant McFadden, 2nd round;
2006 – Anthony Smith, 3rd round;
2007 – William Gay, 5th round;
2008 – Ryan Mundy, 6th round;
2009 – Keenan Lewis, 3rd round; Joe Burnett 5th round
2010 – Crezdon Butler, 5th round

In ten drafts, Kevin Colbert has seen to it that Bill Cowher or Mike Tomlin has drafted a defensive back each year, with the exception of 2001 for a total of 11 DB’s in 10 years. Six of those picks have been premium picks coming in the first three rounds.

So does Bouchette have a point…? Maybe, but as we’ll see, he fails to go far enough in making it.

Behind the Steel Curtain to Bouchette’s Rescue?

Shortly after Bouchette’s comment about the Steelers “ignoring DB for too long,” Behind the Steel Curtain's Tim Gleason, aka “Mary Rose” brought the issue into perspective in compelling fashion (although Gleason did not reference Bouchette’s article.)

In keeping with this site’s policy of not stealing another writer’s thunder, we will not recite his entire argument here. Steel Curtain Rising strongly encourages you to read his article “The Importance of Shopping at the Corner Market.”

Gleason ties the Steelers need to beef up at corner by telling one of the great untold stories of the 1980’s, namely that of the San Francisco 49er’s defense.

He then goes back and quantifies the number of defensive backs that have been taken in the first and second rounds since 2006 and, well, you can see where the Steelers fall into that category by scrolling above. Going a step further, he analyzes the correlation between multiple DB selections in the first two rounds and Super Bowl success.

While going at pains to avoid criticizing the Steelers (as Gleason points out, we have been in 3 Super Bowls and won 2) his argument that the Pittsburgh needs to draft a defensive back is persuasive.

In the final analysis, both men have something to their arguments. But Tim Gleason’s nuance and depth of analysis make his piece all the more powerful.

The Watch Tower has praised Bouchette plenty and respects his work.

But as has also been asked many times before in this space, why is it that a fan site like Behind the Steel Curtain offers a much more complete analysis when contrasted with coverage in the professional press?

Thanks for visiting. To read more analysis of the media that cover the Steelers, click here to read more from Steel Curtain Rising's Watch Tower.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mike Tomlin on Super Bowl XLV Lessons

Gotta Love Mike Tomlin's flair for simplicity. The Tribune Review's Scott Brown quoted him as saying this, in reference to Super Bowl XLV:

Q: What have you learned from the Super Bowl loss?

A: If you turn the ball over you decrease your chance of winning if you don’t get any turnovers. It’s pretty obvious. When you’re minus three and you have the ball and an opportunity to win it at the end of the game, you really should consider yourself fortunate – in the big scheme of things.

Can't say it much more plain than that.

Thanks for visiting. Click here to follow Steel Curtain Rising on Twitter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Dick LeBeau Coaching Tree

The story behind Carnell Lake’s return as Pittsburgh’s secondary coach did not just mark the return of a second defender from the Steelers 1989 draft class to the Steelers coaching staff.

Lake’s latest career move also confirms a latent transformation of the NFL’s defensive coaching landscape – the formation of a nascent Dick LeBeau coaching tree.

Coach Dad’s Offspring

Dick LeBeau has long been recognized as one of the revolutionary minds in defensive football. Just as Bill Walsh’s “West Coast offense” spawned two generations of offensive coordinators and any number of Super Bowl Titles, Dick LeBeau’s zone blitz and fire zones have served as an equally effective counter.

Dick LeBeau’s players have always held him in high esteem, giving him the title “Coach Dad.” Perhaps the title is fitting, because “Coach Dad” is populating the NFL’s assistant coaching ranks with his off spring.

Pundits usually tie coaching tress to head coaches. While the concept is entertaining, coaching tress frequently get distorted, resulting in such foolishness as Wikipedia entries that put Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin on the “Bill Walsh” coaching tree when Dungy and Tomlin clearly belong on Chuck Noll’s coaching tree.

But a quick look reveals that no fewer than 8 of LeBeau’s former players have follow his footsteps on to the NFL sidelines as a coach. Scroll down or click on the links below for more:

Darren Perry
Jerry Olsavsky
Tim Krumrie
Kevin Greene
Greg Lloyd
Rod Woodson
Carnell Lake
Ray Horton

Darren Perry

Current Position: Defensive backs coach, Green Bay Packers
Years Played for LeBeau: 1992-1996,
Years Coached for LeBeau: 2002 (with Bengals), 2004-2006

It would be unfair to call Darren Perry a Bonafied Dick LeBeau production, but it certainly seems that way. Drafted in the 8th round of the 1992 draft, LeBeau’s first year with the Steelers as DB’s coach, Perry’s development made Thomas Everett, a training camp hold out, expendable.

Perry may have lacked the pure athleticism of his then secondary and current coaching peer Rod Woodson and Carnell Lake, but he had a knack for the ball hauling down 32 interceptions in his seven straight years as a starter.

Perry coached with LeBeau during Coach Dad’s final year as Bengals head coach. Perry then joined Bill Cowher’s staff, first as assistant DB’s coach, and then as DB’s coach. Ironically, Mike Tomlin decided not to hire Perry, who caught on with Dom Caper’s defense in Green Bay, where Perry ended up coaching the DB’s who picked off two Pittsburgh passes in Super Bowl XLV.

Jerry Olsavsky

Current Position: Defensive Assistant, Pittsburgh Steelers
Years Played for LeBeau: 1992-1996
Years Coached for LeBeau: 2010

Jerry Olsavksy is a favorite here at Steel Curtain Rising. His exploits are celebrated in our recap of the Steelers 1989 draft was well as at various points in the tribute to the 1989 Steelers, specifically in recap of how he faced down the Nigerian Nightmare as a rookie.

Olsavsky made it in the NFL because he wanted it. It is equally clear that the same burning desire fuels him into coaching. He tried unsuccessfully to land a spot on Bill Cowher’s staff a number of times, volunteered at a couple of high schools and then at Duquesne, worked as strength coach at North Carolina State, until finally landing a job at coaching linebackers at Youngstown State.

Tim Krumrie

Current Position: Assistant coach, Steamboat Springs High School
Years Played for LeBeau: 1983-1991
Years Coached with LeBeau: 1997-2002
Other Coaching Positions: Bills, 2003-2005; Chiefs 2006-2009

The only man with no connection on to the Steelers on this list – and perhaps that’s fitting as he is one of the few Bengals of “recent” memory who can reminisce with his grand kids about beating up on the Steelers with any regularity.

Krumrie coached several defensive lines that accomplished little and now coaches in the high school ranks. But that isn’t necessarily a knock on his coaching abilities. The overall won-lost records of the teams in question suggest that he had little talent to work with.

Kevin Greene

Current Position: Linebackers coach, Green Bay Packers
Years Played for LeBeau: 1993-1995

Of the group, Kevin Greene’s roots back to the LeBeau coaching tree run the shallowest, as LeBeau only coached Greene for 3 of his 15 NFL seasons, and in only one of those was LeBeau Greene’s defensive coordinator. That year also marked Greene’s only appearance in the Super Bowl. Coincidence? Don’t bet on it.

Greg Lloyd

Current Position: Linebackers coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Years Played for LeBeau: 1992-1996

“Coach Lloyd” might seem like an odd moniker for someone who played like he was Fury Incarnate, but such analysis sells Greg Lloyd short. Yes, Greg Lloyd made a name for himself with his force and intensity. But as Jerry Olsavksy once pointed out in the Steelers Digest, Lloyd played most of his career with both knees basically held together with staples.

Absent the athletic gifts of Lake and Woodson, the only way Lloyd could have made the impact he did was through serious study of the game. And LeBeau was one of his teachers.

Rod Woodson
Current Position: Defensive backs coach, Oakland Raiders
Years Played for LeBeau: 1992-1996

Rod Woodson was one of the most gifted-athletes to don the Black and Gold. It is said that great athletes rarely make good coaches. But Rod Woodson was also a student of the game. Like Lloyd, Woodson had the privilege of being coached by a veritable “Who’s Who” of later 20th Century defensive coaches: Tony Dungy, Rod Rust, Dom Capers, Dick LeBeau, and Marv Lewis. It is hard not to hail Woodson's return to the NFL, even if it is for the arch-rival Raiders.

Carnell Lake

Current Position: Secondary coach, Pittsburgh Steelers
Years Played for LeBeau: 1992-1996

Corners move to become safeties all of the time. Rarely, if ever, do safeties shift over to become corners. Lake did that in 1995 and the Steelers landed in the Super Bowl because of it.

While Lake’s athleticism is what allowed the move to be made, his football acumen is what allowed the move to succeed. And you can better believe that Dick LeBeau’s role in managing the transition didn’t hurt either.

Ray Horton

Current Position: Defensive Coordinator, Arizona Cardinals
Years Played for LeBeau: 1983-1988 (with Bengals)
Years Coached with LeBeau: 1997-2001 (with Bengals), 2004-2010

Ray Horton may or may not succeed in his new role as defensive coordinator of Pittsburgh West, but if he fails it will not be for lack of LeBeau’s affection. LeBeau hired Horton in 1997 as soon as he returned to take the reigns as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator. LeBeau followed suit when he returned to Pittsburgh in 2004, bringing Horton back to assist Darren Perry, and then having Horton replace Perry. Clearly, LeBeau likes Horton – now its time to see if he can fly on his own.

From One Seed, Eight Branches...

These eight men hail from distinct parts of the country, played for different colleges, held roster spots for varying teams and, in some cases, saw their best action in separate eras. A multitude of voices can be credited as formative influences on their careers.

But any analysis of these men’s twisting career paths reveals two constants:

Each man currently makes his living coaching football, and each man was coached by Dick LeBeau. And that, as much as any of his any other accomplishments, serves as a testament to Dick LeBeau’s greatness.

Thanks for visiting. Click here to check out the rest of Steel Curtain Rising. Or, click here to follow this site on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jason Pinkston, 6 Other Pitt Players Visit Steelers

The NFL lockout may be in high gear, but the Steelers also shifted up with their preparations in advance of the 2011 NFL draft.

The Steelers entertained seven players from Pitt. “Visiting” the Steelers (as they Pitt is housed in the same complex on the South Side) were:

Jason Pinkson, offensive tackle
Jon Baldwin, wide receiver
Jabaal Sheard, defensive end
Greg Romeus, defensive end
Henry Hynoski, fullback
Dion Lewis, running back
Dom DiCicco, safety

Although the NFL limits the number of collegiate athletes that pro teams can bring in for pre draft visits, these players do not count as they are from a local school.

Henry Hynoski presence on the list is perhaps the most interesting, as Steelers offensive coordinator has resisted adding a pure fullback to his offense, although there is certainly no guarantee that the Steelers will pick one in the 2011 draft.

The Steelers have not taken a Pitt player in the NFL draft since picking cornerback Hank Poeat in with their second pick in the third round of the 2000 draft during Kevin Colbert's first year as Director of Football operations.

Thanks for visiting. Click here to follow Steel Curtain Rising on Twitter.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Steelers Hire Carnell Lake As Secondary Coach

Last week Mike Tomlin interviewed former Steelers standout defensive back Carnell Lake for the team's vacant secondary coach slot, and today the team offically welcomed Lake back to the Black and Gold.

In returning to the Steelers, Lake becomes the second former Steelers to join Mike Tomlin's staff. Last year one of Lake's teammates, Jerry Olsavsky accepted position as the team's defensive quality control coach.

Former players Mark Bruner and the legendary Joe Greene currently also positions in the team's scouting department.

Thanks for visiting. Click here to follow Steel Curtain Rising on Twitter.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ike Taylor to Reach Free Agency?

Ike Taylor may be headed for the open market. The Steelers had announced that they intended to sign Taylor. The Steelers were so confident that they could sign Taylor that they did not use a transition tag on him.

The Steelers may have miscalculated.

Ed Bouchette is reporting on PG Plus that the Steelers have not reached an agreement with Taylor, and that they are unlikely to do so before the 24 hour extension of the CBA expires.

This does not mean that Ike Taylor won't return to the Steelers, but allowing him to test the market injects an air of unanticipated uncertainty into the Steelers future at secondary.

Thanks for visiting. Click here to read more from the Steelers 2011 Free Agent Focus, or click here to follow Steel Curtain Rising on Twitter.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Steelers Interview Carnell Lake for Defensive Backs Coach Position

The Steelers missed out on a chance to bring Rod Woodson back as a coach, but they could very well end up with the franchise’s second best defensive back of the 1990’s.

Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette reported that the Steelers interviewed 1990’s all-star defensive back Carnell Lake for the defensive backs position vacated by Ray Horton’s exodus for Pittsburgh West.

After playing linebacker at UCLA, Carnell Lake was picked in the second round of the Steelers 1989 draft and moved on to become a fixture in the defensive backfield for a decade.

Lake’s natural position with the Steelers was strong safety.

However, on two occasions, Lake sacrificed personal glory and saved the Steelers seasons by moving to corner back. The first time was in 1995, when Rod Woodson’s ACL injury left the Alvoid Mays open to regular and frequent torchings at the hands of opposing quarterbacks.

The second time came in 1997, when Donnell Wolford proved to be woefully inadequate as a replacement for the departed Woodson.

In both season’s Lake’s position shift had a dramatic impact. The Steelers made it to Super Bowl XXX in 1995 and to the AFC Championship and (two bad calls by Chain Gailey some might argue) one game away from another Super Bowl in 1997.

Lake coached the UCLA defensive backs in 2009.

Thanks for visiting. Click here to follow Steel Curtain Rising on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Willie Colon Gets 1 Year Tender From Steelers

In news that passed without as much of a ho-hum announcement, the Pittsburgh Steelers offered a one year tender to Willie Colon. In theory, the Steelers would have the right to match any offer to Willie Colon or else get a first round pick in exchange for losing him.

The tender itself is meaningless, or almost meaningless.

Almost all sides agree that any new CBA, whether it comes in 2011 or 2012, will grant unrestricted free agency to six-year veterans which would include Colon.

Watch Tower: Differences of Perspective

Do the Steelers want Willie Colon?

It depends upon whom you read.

Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac of the Post Gazette rarely publicly disagree, but both men have offered differing opinions of the Steelers treatment of Willie Colon.

Ed Bouchette argues that the Steelers have handled the Willie Colon situation poorly, neglecting to offer him a long term deal. Bouchette reports that Colon's agent has not even talked to the team. Bouchette's point is to look to the Steelers actions. For three years he has been a restricted free agent, but the Steelers have never done more than give him one year tenders.

Gerry Dulac however, has a different take. Dulac has insisted twice in on-line chats that the Steelers do want Colon. He did not offer much evidence to back up his claim, but one would figure Dulac wouldn't make the argument if he wasn't giving his info from so source inside the organization.

Of the two, Bouchette would appear to have the stronger argument, however, Bouchette has been caught flat footed time and time again when it comes to predicting the Steelers contract moves....

In Part I of our Steelers 2011 Free Agent Focus Part II argued that the Steelers needed to keep Colon. I hope they do, but I think Bouchette is right. The Steelers inactions toward Colon speak for themselves.

Thanks for visiting. Click here to read more from the Steelers 2011 Free Agent Focus, or click here to follow Steel Curtain Rising on Twitter.

Steelers Free Agent Focus: Unrestricted Free Agents, Part II

Lock out or no, free agency will come to the Steelers at some point. Part I covered the first group of Steelers 2011 Unrestricted Free Agents, and today we look at the rest:

William Gay

– Joined the Steelers as a fifth round pick in 2007 and saw action in all 16 games as a rookie. For his sophomore encore, Gay started 4 games and then split time with Bryant McFadden. He moved into the starting role in 2009, and struggled mightily, but bounced back in 2010, perhaps making the play of the game in the AFC Championship against the Jets.

Cutting to the Chase on William Gay: Playing as a third corner, William Gay recorded two sacks and defensed more passes in 2010 than 2009. Budding into a number 3 corner is plenty of an accomplishment for a 5th round pick.
  • NFL teams need a good 3rd corners and William Gay should be that man for the Steelers.

Keyaron Fox – Joined the Steelers in 2008 as an unrestricted free agent, and led the team in special teams tackles. In 2009, he started three games for Lawrence Timmons and spelled him for long stretches at other points, playing quite well. Fox saw far less playing time in 2010, largely due to the return of Larry Foote

Cutting to the Chase on Keyron Fox: In 2009 Fox looked to be growing into a strong number 3 inside linebacker. After Super Bowl XLV, Fox’s idiotic penalty, as the special teams captain, makes him emblematic of a look emblematic of a special teams unit that, while it improved, could not transform itself into a bankable asset.

  • Word is that Fox will not be back. Perhaps not an altogether wise decision, but certainly an understandable one.

Anthony Madison – Joined the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2006 and worked himself into a special teams demand. After signing him to a 7 figure deal in 2009, the Steelers cut him and, as John Harris predicted, rued the day. They got him back and in 2010 Madison did double duty as a dime back.

Cutting to the Chase on Anthony Madison: As a corner Madison will never strike fear into the hearts of opposing quatertbacks. Nonetheless, his one sack and interception show that he is more than just a body out there, and he continues to excel on special teams. Versatility is a virtue.

  • The Steelers tried life without Anthony Madison once and lived to regret it. Hopefully they learned their lesson.

Trai Essex – Joined the Steelers as a third round pick in 2005, and has played in all four exterior line positions, and did some double duty in 2010 at tight end. Nonetheless, Essex has never managed to nail down a starting job.

Cutting to the Chase on Trai Essex: You expect a third round pick to develop into a starter, and in that sense Essex is a failure. But such a measure proves to be too narrow to fairly evaluate Essex. Essex is a good number 6 lineman, and we repeat, versatility is a virtue.

  • Essex will not get offered a ton of money, and the Steelers will probably get him back.

Mewelde Moore – With little fanfare the Steelers signed Moore as an unrestricted free agent from Minnesota in 2008. After being the unsung hero of the Steelers Super Bowl run in 2008, Moore saw a drop off in his play in 2009. His numbers continued to drop in 2010

Cutting to the Chase on Mewelde Moore: The drop off in Moore’s rushing and passing numbers is a little deceptive. Some of it had to do with Isaac Redman’s emergence, and Moore did make some key third down conversions.

  • Moore is not going to command a fortune, regardless of what happens with the CBA, and he could be a very cost-effective investment for the Steelers.

Willie Colon – Joined the team as a sixth round pick in 2006 and even prior to Bill Cowher’s departure the coaches wanted to work him into the starting line up. He beat out Max Starks for the starting job in 2007 and held that job down through 2009. Disaster struck in the 2010 off season, forcing Colon sit out the year with a Achilles tendon injury.

Cutting to the Chase on Willie Colon: Maurkice Pouncey would have unseated Colon as the Steelers best offensive lineman had Colon played. Despite repeated denials from the coaches, rumors continue to circulate that Colon’s natural position is guard. The Steelers would like to keep Colon, but his agent doubts that is possible.

That wraps up Steel Curtain Risings' Steelers Free Agent Focus on unrestricted free agents. Check back for a quick look at the Steelers restricted free agents. Coming to a lockout near you.

Thanks for visiting. Click here to check out the rest of Steel Curtain Rising. Or, click here to follow this site on Twitter.