Saturday, January 13, 2007

Meet the Next Coach of Your Pittsburgh Steelers! Part II

Okay, since I've seemingly turned into an insomniac the past week or so, and have nothing better to do at 1:45 in the morning than to read the ol' comments (while watching "Reindeer Games", no less ... but it's in HD!), I figure I might as well write some stuff down. So let's get to it:
  • SteelerBill leaves this link, which frankly, is a little disconcerting:
    Chan Gailey might not be the final candidate for the Steelers' head-coaching job when he talks to team officials today at their UPMC offices on the South Side.

    The Steelers have made recent inquiries about former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman, and they were trying to reach him the past two days. Sherman, the assistant head coach/offense for the Houston Texans, was en route from a second interview he had in Arizona Thursday for the Cardinals' head-coaching job.
    Not good. Especially after hearing some Packers fans talk about the Sherminator.

    Bouchette mentions that the Steelers just might be trying to hedge their bets by widening the candidate pool, and even if the Cardinals offer Whisenhunt the job this weekend, Pittsburgh doesn't need to rush their decision. So while the Steelers have talked to Gailey and might bring in Sherman, I feel confident in speculating that neither of these guys will get the job. And I say this not just because I don't think they're best qualified, but also because (a) Gailey's 55 and I can't imagine he has designs on coaching for another 10 years. Or, more specifically, I can't imagine him coaching the same NFL team successfully for another 10 years. And (b) word on the street (PFT, I think) is that Sherman wanted $4 million to coach the Cardinals.

    I remember reading somewhere that Cowher made $2.5 million last season, and this Dulac article speculates he would've earned $4.5 million in 2007. Maybe the Rooney's would be willing to pay their new head coach -- especially if it was an in-house guy -- that kind of dough, but I somehow doubt it.

    Frankly, I think both Gailey and Sherman are just window dressing because of age and ridiculous salary demands, respectively. (Also, do you think Sherman would want some GM-type duties too? And how in the hell would that work with Kevin Colbert? Yeah, I don't see this happening.)
  • Rob leaves this comment:
    ...I think we should just go for the best athletes we can find regardless of position. I hate that drafting for need thing because your perceived needs can vanish in the course of a few games in the NFL. I thought ... that our CBs were set for a few years ... Taylor and McFadden and Colclough...errrr...not exactly! Now if the next Ogden or Lambert is there when we draft, fine and dandy. But we don't have to go very far back to remember some of the regrettable reaches and mistakes that drafting for perceived needs has wrought ... Scott Shields, Jamain Stephens.

    I don't think this team is close to another championship ... which is my main point I guess ... O-line disintegrating (a little too pessimistic? Start with Hartings retiring, Simmons [is] a liability, Faneca aging, Starks a RFA ... something has to give folks) the LBers settling into mediocrity and the aforementioned shaky CBs ... to go along with awful special teams and the many changes at coaching other than HC? I think we are looking for the best athletes available.
    Alright, I don't disagree with the 'best athletes available' argument but I also think it's important to have a plan.

    Rob's right -- the secondary was a lot less reliable this season than I expected but (and somebody can correct me if when I'm wrong) I'm pretty sure secondary play doesn't correlate very well from one year to the next. And I have no idea why. The fact that it happens is reason enough not get to worked up about an off year. (And don't forget, Clark, Polamalu and Colclough were all injured during the season.)

    That said -- and I know DJ and Eric feel otherwise based on their comments in a previous thread -- if a cornerback the Steelers like is available at 15, I'm fine with them taking them, assuming there are no offensive linemen worth that pick. I have a few philosophies in life. One is to avoid eating paint if at all possible. The other is that you can never have enough good cornerbacks on the roster.

    And Pittsburgh needs to address the linebacker position too, but we were saying this a year ago. I'm not suggesting it's a non-issue, but here's the thing: teams don't very often you find a quality middle linebacker in the first round (I'm too lazy to look, but I think Vilma was the last MLB taken in round one ... right after Ben maybe?). And while I've written that finding a 3-4 OLB in the first round is just a waste of time because there are so few college guys who can quickly make that adjustment, Shawne Merriman has changed my thinking on that. Pittsburgh should drug-test all potential first-day potential OLB prospects. Whoever fails the drug test gets drafted. I think that's the obvious takeaway.

    I'm still not convinced the offensive line needs a complete overhaul; Chukky Okobi played well in Hartings' absence and there are rumors that Kendell Simmons might actually be a better center than guard. I'll admit he had another inconsistent season, but so did the whole unit. Ideally, the Steelers would draft a dominant offensive tackle who could step right into the starting lineup; find a athletic linebacker (Kendrell Bell and Odell Thurman were both second-rounders -- and say what you want about Odell the human being, but Odell the football player was pretty good ... and yes, I realize I sound like Marvin Lewis); and get a defensive back to wrap up Day 1. Discounting all the supplemental picks we're sure to get, Pittsburgh should draft a punter in the fourth round. And I'm not even kidding. Get some 22-year-old who routinely snaps off 60-yarders. Given the Steelers' hit-or-miss fourth-round record, what do they have to lose? How often aren't (college) punters who we thought they were (as professials). And then, after all those needs are addressed, Pittsburgh can throw a bone to all those fans clamoring for a big running back to replace compliment Willie Parker.

    I know Duce Staley was a big fat bust this year, but while people were Chicken Little-ing the running game woes early in the season, Duce's inability to stop eating long enough to get on the field didn't cost the Steelers one game. Najeh was more than adequate; in fact, I'd liken his contributions to the running game and special teams in 2006 to that of Quincy Morgan's to the passing game/special teams a year earlier.

    That's enough bitching for now. Plus, I'll most certainly change my mind on who the Steelers should draft at least a half-dozen times before the end of April
Oh, yeah, consider this the Saturday game thread too.

Let's gooooooooo Colts. Let's gooooooooo Saints.