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Steelers Preseason Thoughts

Steelers had a rough night against the Skins in their first preseason game. It’s preseason, it doesn’t matter, etc. Even so, it was a little concerning to see how poor the secondary, O-line and ST’s played. Hey, that sounds like last year! The secondary in particular was basically non-existent all game and made Rex Grossman look like the second coming of Joe Montana. And while it’s true that Troy and CB Ike Taylor were both out, I’m not sure it even matters. As was shown last year teams are simply not throwing their way when they are in games and instead are finding success by going after FS Ryan Clark and CB’s Gay and McFadden.

It was a little strange to see Keyaron Fox playing for the Skins Friday night. Meanwhile, Larry fuckin’ Foote is still on the Steelers roster. Why? Who the hell knows, I guess he knows the defense inside and out and therefore belongs on the team.

The State of the WR Corps – Antonio Brown looks like a man on a mission so far in preseason. It’s nice to see some in the media taking note of youngster Tyler Grisham. The kid looks like a scrappy fighter. I would say with the FA signing of former Jet, Jerricho Cotchery, that Grisham’s chances of making the team took a nosedive but  Arnez Battle, who is primarily a ST’er, looked horrible at WR against the Skins. With the stupid new kickoff rule, it’s very arguable  that pure special team players like Battle become less important to teams. Then we have Limas Sweed, he seems to be the real longshot at making the team. He wasn’t even on the field against the Skins, which is a pretty bad sign. I really feel he was never given a legitimate shot at becoming a starter for this team. Youngster Armand Robinson seems to be impressing some folks. I haven’t seen him enough to make a call, but it looks he’ll probably be a PS player this year.

Why is Willie Colon Still On This Team? – Steelers continue to address the O-line like they’re on the short bus going to Kennywood. Willie Colon, the master of the false start, was re-signed to a 5 year contract worth 30 million. Just horrible. Jonathan Scott is the current starter penciled in at LT after longtime OT Max Starks was finally let go. Some fans are praying that Starks or old man Flozell Adams are eventually re-signed, is Jonathan Scott really that bad? All 3 players are overly large, slow, un-athletic tackles, makes no difference among the three of them. Long time guard Chris Kemoeatu is returning along with B-level guard Ramon Foster at the other end. Center Maurkice Pouncey is the only legitimately good O-lineman penciled in as starter.

It’s time for the Steelers to finally enter the 21st century in regards to the O-line. Are the Steelers a running team still? Hell no, so why is the FO and the coaches continually drafting, signing and starting big, fat and/or slow un-athletic O-linemen who are horrible in pass blocking? In the 2011 Draft the team took Florida OL Marcus Gilbert who looks to be a clone of Max Starks. The team should look into hiring some new scouts or talent evaluators specifically for this area of the team. It’s true that the Steelers haven’t exactly ignored this area in recent years, they have just failed spectacularly in addressing it.

Is Tomlin Biased Against White Players? The last couple of years forces me to ask this question- Is Mike Tomlin biased against white players? Let’s look at a few examples and the overall state of the team.

Kraig Urbik – The former 3rd round draft pick is now going to be starting at guard for the Buffalo Bills. Urbik was never given any sort of shot at making this team, even though the right guard situation (where Urbik will be starting for the Bills) has been a black hole for some time.

Doug Legursky – The try hard Center/Guard is continually given the cold shoulder in regards to playing time. Last year, when numerous injuries literally forced the coaching staff to play “Legs” at guard, he looked better than arguably half the starters. He was promptly put back on the bench a couple weeks later.

The QB situation – Seriously, Charlie Batch AND Dennis Dixon are both still on this team? In 2011?? What are the odds that 3 out of the 4 QB’s on any team in the NFL are black? It’s like having 3 out of 4 starting white WR’s on a team. It’s just not possible UNLESS there is an ulterior motive going on. I like Batch, but he shouldn’t be on the team at this point in his career, Dixon has literally proven that he doesn’t belong in the NFL. As a fan, I want the best possible players on the team, this kind of BS maneuvering by the coaches and/or the FO is pretty offensive on a couple different levels.

– The Skill Positions – Are there any white players at skill positions on this team? Other than Big Ben and Heath Miller (both of which were 1st round picks before Tomlin was hired), no. And Miller is continually underused on this team.

Players Drafted and Developed Under Tomlin – The only two white players to be drafted under Tomlin (both in his first year, 2007) to actually find playing time are none other than TE Matt Spaeth, who has been consistently mediocre and pretty much a waste of space and Daniel Sepulveda, the punter. There have only been 5 white players drafted (2 of which were late round camp fodder type guys) in 5 drafts under Tomlin. That is 5 players out of 41 drafted. No white players have been drafted in the past two years (17 picks). Those kind of numbers certainly do not match up with racial percentages in the league.

My point with this is that there seems to be a bias, whether from Tomlin, other coaches and/or the FO on this team, which if true, damages the teams chances of fielding the best team possible. Not good.

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