IX- It appears we have a good competition for ILB going into preseason football. The Steelers signed Larry Foote, which gives the Steelers three guys who could start at the position (four if you like Fox at the buck). I am sure the majority of Steelers fans were worried about James Farrior's age, and apparently Mike Tomlin was as well (thanks to SteelerBuddha):
"Any time you have 35-year-old, you better strengthen yourself from a depth and competition standpoint because that's inevitable, that's part of the game. He's been extremely blessed to play as long as he's played it. He continues to play it at a high level in my opinion, but I'm not going to take that for granted as we push into August of 2010."
I am glad that Tomlin is keeping a close eye on Farrior after he had a questionable season. Whatever happens this year, I am so glad we got to have such a great player on our team. Thank you James!
X- Well they finally did it. They changed the overtime rules...in the playoffs. The new rule mandates that if the team that wins the coin toss kicks a field goal the other team's offense gets a shot on offense. Then if the other team also kicks a field goal the normal sudden death rule is imposed. In my opinion, this is much better than the current regular season OT system. It forces the coin flip winner to make a play at the end zone when they get into field goal range. That is football, unlike that play it safe for the field goal stuff we often see in NFL overtime. What do you all think? Also, can someone let Donovan McNabb know about the new OT rule?
XIII- I am going to go on a rant, that I have argued over the last few days. I have been jumping around to all of the Mock Drafts that have been going on around SBN to offer some Steelers insight where I can. It gets under my skin when people have us picking Iupati and they say our OL "sucks" because of the high sack totals. Let me start by saying I like the idea of drafting Iupati, because I believe it will give us a great pull in the running game.
However, I do not agree with people who think that Iupati will magically cure our sack problem. Ben's style of play makes it incredibly difficult on any OL. Often, his extended plays require OLs to try to hold their blocks over the 3-4 second norm. "Well our sack totals were better when we had better OLs like Faneca and Smith." The sack totals for '04 and '05 were 30 and 23 respectively compared to 46 and 50 in '08 and '09. However, comparing these numbers is tragically flawed. Consider that Ben had 563 drop backs in those first two years compared to 975 drop backs in two recent years. Therefore, lets consider the sacks per drop back rate. In '04 it was 9.2%, '05 was 7.9%, '08 was 8.9%, and '09 was 9%. To me, that speaks volumes.
Besides the occasional mental errors, I believe our OL is good and it would be difficult for one OL to magically make them better in regards to sacks. The only thing that could keep Ben off the turf is changing his style of his play. However, that is a different discussion and I probably should have made this its own post. /rant
XIV- I like to spotlight good things players do away from the football field, because it draws them away from that stardom and makes them more realistic to me. There is a great article on Steelers.com, that talks about the Special Bond between James Harrison and a young girl named Kendle Haught, bound to a wheel chair as a result of Muscular Dystrophy. It is a touching story and worth a read.
XL- It is not really that big of a deal, but I figured I would mention it. The Georgia police have rescinded their request for Ben Roethlisberger's DNA. I say it is not a big deal, because it does not imply innocence or guilt. I believe they could not extract any DNA from the girl, so Ben's DNA would be pointless. This simply pushes us further into "he said, she said" uncertainty. Awesome.
XLIII- On that same note, if you did not already know, Ben is scheduled to meet with Goodell (I think possibly today). I assume he is just going to warn Ben that he is tip-toeing a thin line and he should be careful in the future. I do not see how Goodell could possibly suspend Roethlisberger for allegations and no convictions. That would set a bad precedent heading into future "situations" with players.