Friday, March 02, 2007

And That Is That

Well, I can't say this is a complete surprise although I'm not crazy about it. Now that Joey Porter's out in Pittsburgh, there three questions worth asking: First, who'll drive the Peezy Mobile at Latrobe? Second, does this mean it's OLB/DE in the first round and nothing else? Third, are the Steelers going to be a 4-3 or 3-4 team?

I'm kidding with that third question, though it seems some people are still skeptical. Let me see if I can clear this up (and like Glenn, I'm officially tired of talking about it and free agency hasn't even begun): I wrote Wednesday that Wexell had a source on the Steelers that the team is "sticking with the 3-4 defense." That's not to say they will only feature the 3-4 -- they've never done that -- it just means that Tomlin ain't going 4-3, Cover-2 anytime in the near future. What does "near future" mean? Well, I have no idea, but if the new head coach was in a hurry to make the switch -- and by "hurry" I mean in the next year or two -- you'd think Pittsburgh wouldn't have wasted interview time on the tweeners at the Combine.

Now, you can question whether Wexell's sources are solid. Fair enough, but I trust Wex and I'm guessing Wex trusts his source; otherwise he wouldn't have printed it. And unlike some sites, where "team sources" is seemingly synonymous with "hey, I just made this up and I think it's funny", Wex's sources have never been wrong in the 12 months I've been working with him. So take that for what it's worth.

But whatever, it's not worth quibbling over, especially the first week of March. We'll all find out soon enough. And even though I understand steeltom's frustration, dude, dial it back a notch ... let's all play nice. I mean, when Glenn get's all worked up -- and this response is definitely a keeper -- you've probably said to much. I'm pretty sure both he and Finnegans Wake can read and neither strike me as elitist. Now, if you want to call somebody elitist, what about DJAnyReason? He's going to Mike Tomlin's alma mater (and Thomas Jefferson's but who's keeping score) for lawyering school. He's training to be an elitist.

In Joey Porter-related news, Eric asks this question:
whether it's 4-3, 3-4 or whatever, i just don't get the porter release.

it would seem to my uneducated eye that porter was pretty good in coverage and might have been moved to MLB in a 4-3. i don't think last years dip in sacks was a sudden inability to rush the passer either (the steelers were trailing it seemed every week, all the time). so which ever front you choose, i'd think porter would come in handy.

the only thing i can think of is porter and his agent let it be known that porter would become a problem if he didn't get a new deal and the steelers decided to keep the money and save the headache...?
Here's what I know (and by "know," I mean "speculate"): The Steelers were in contract talks with all their big-name 2008 free agents except Porter. Obviously, Aaron Smith got his deal done, and maybe we'll hear about a few others in the coming weeks. Porter was due a $1 million roster bonus this week, but there was no guarantee he still wouldn't hold out without a new deal. Basically -- as I understand it, anyway -- he forced the Steelers to release him or give him a new deal ... like now. I can understand why Pittsburgh might be hesitant to pay him a million bucks only to have him sit out training camp, and maybe longer.

I agree, as much as fans like to pan Porter, he is underrated in coverage and he will be missed. Not only as a player, but as a team leader. There are some rumors that the team will re-sign him, but I don't see that happening. Now all that's left is for the Patriots to sign him, and wait for another seven or eight years of dominating Joey Porter football. Then -- and I'm almost 100 percent sure about this -- fans will pan the front office for not giving Peezy a new deal and letting him win three more Super Bowls in New England. You know, just like most of them will tell you about Mike Vrabel.

For the record, I don't blame Porter either. Sure, he'll be 30 this season, but hell, he could have four or five good years left. Willie McGinest was pretty damn good in New England's system near the end of his career.

Now, I guess, I have to start boning up on the stud DE/OLB draft crop. There's no way in hell the team can draft Levi Brown now, right? (Actually, I'm sure there's a lot Pittsburgh can do, I just like to end these posts with a semi-ridiculous question.)