Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Larry T. and Gary R. Are Rookies

While we wait for Saturday night, and for what promises to be another exciting 10-12 minutes of preseason football, the talk around these here parts has primarily been about Larry Timmons and his inability to make it through a complete practice without grabbing his nuts in agony. As Rob D comments, he, like most readers, isn't really worried about Timmons. (I've made my case, but of course, have something to add ... and I'll get to that shortly.) But he is worried about Willie Parker and the Mysterious Ailment.

Willie didn't dress during my two days at camp last week, but he participated in some running back drills early in practice and looked fine. And now it looks like he'll play. But that doesn't guarantee anything beyond the Redskins game, and Jim Wexell has a nice write-up on Gary Russell. I love Verron, but if Russell and Carey Davis make the cut -- along with FWP, Najeh and Danny Kreider -- I'd be cool with that.

Plus, it would just give more credence to my DON'T DRAFT RUNNING BACKS ON THE FIRST DAY mantra that everybody already pretty much agrees with. (It's kinda like arguing that ice water is a much better way to quench your thirst on a hot day than, say, Jägermeister. Yeah, no shit.) In addition to having two, young, relatively healthy runners, Pittsburgh will also get some special teams help. I realize Haynes was a valuable special teamer, and a better third-down back -- both as a blocker and a pass catcher -- but he's forever battling injuries and that's kind of a problem.

But back to Timmons. If I remember correctly, I wanted Adam Carriker, Patrick Willis, or Levi Brown should any of them be available at 1.15. All three were gone, and frankly, there wasn't a lot left that particularly interested me. Here's the second half of the 2007 first rounders, and nobody jumps out at me as worthy of the 15th overall pick.
16 Justin Harrell

17 Jarvis Moss

18 Leon Hall

19 Michael Griffin

20 Aaron Ross

21 Reggie Nelson

22 Brady Quinn

23 Dwayne Bowe

24 Brandon Meriweather

25 Jon Beason

26 Anthony Spencer

27 Robert Meachem

28 Joe Staley

29 Ben Grubbs

30 Craig Davis

31 Greg Olsen

32 Anthony Gonzalez
I would've been fine if the Steelers took Beason, Spencer, Staley or Grubbs, but preferably only after a trade down. And if the o-line generally, and Max Starks specifically have another craptastic effort Saturday, I might be on the "Pittsburgh shoulda taken Staley/Grubbs with the 15th overall pick ... and maybe even traded up to make sure they got one of them" bandwagon.

But Randy Steele makes an important point: fans aren't so much calling a Timmons a bust (well, the smart fans, anyway), they're just frustrated because no one knows what he can do. I'm willing to wait, because, well, Timmons didn't have much of a role on the 2007 team to begin with. It would be nice if he could play a little special teams, and, you know, learn a little something about the defense by some other means than mental reps, but there's really no reason to rush the guy. (Unless you think fans' impatience is a legit reason). Instead of getting all huffy about Larry T., we should all worry about the more immediate problems: which running backs will make the final 53, and how long until the Steelers call Todd Fordham to replace Max Starks at right tackle (hello, 2003!)