Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Monday, May 25, 2009

What's on your noodle?

Since it went so well the last time, anything new on your noodle now?


kyle said...

You mentioned liking what you've seen out of Brandon Williams. I saw another reporter mention that too. What about him do you like? I checked his stats when they picked him up and he's never had a pro catch and his P/KR averages are pedestrian. Is he showing a lot in drills, other than speed?

acrollet said...

Hey Dale,

apologize if anything's a repeat. How has Mendenhall been looking? Do you think that BA will move towards more of a 2 back system this year? It sure seemed to work well in the patriots game last eyar... Speaking of the hated patriots, everyone seems to be annointing brady's return as something similar to the second coming, only in pads. Do you think that the patriots match or exceed their 2007 season? (at least in ppg, going undefeated again seems unlikely just because it's so hard to do)

Anonymous said...

Okay, the sun came up today and Im still waiting... Let's get to the extension of Heath Miller, like YESTERDAY! Coach has to see it- Tone, Ward... then its blah blah blah, no offense to Sweed (it took Ward quite a few years to break in) but Miller is our 3rd best RECEIVER. Dont wait for the 2010 season and him technically becoming a RFA, DO IT NOW! Please.

datruth4life said...

Dale, how would you characterize the team's offseason as well as its draft? Does this team looks stronger on paper to repeat than the last time? I believe that team was doomed from the start with Ben's accident and Cowher being in his final year hanging over the team's head.

Any discussion on Tomlin getting an extension? Also, the Starks comments seem a bit troubling. It never helps negotiations when a player goes public and calls out the front office.

Do you get as tired answering these questions as we do asking them, since we all won't know the answers to most of them until the pads go on?

BMF said...

Dale, what's the deal with the zone blocking scheme? They had zero success with it last year because they have a bunch of big, slow linemen trying to block in space. I'd like to think that drafting Urbik and signing Kemo instead of finding some better athletes means that they're going to switch back to a man scheme, but a big part of me seriously doubts they will for the same reason Bruce Arians and Larry Zierlein still have jobs.

So how bad does the team have to be at running the ball before they'll change things up? 3 YPC? I know, I know, they're "good enough to win the Super Bowl", but we just about lost the Super Bowl because we couldn't break the goal line on either side of the field.

Any insights from your perspective?

emac2 said...

Do you think the Steelers have difficulties tipping their offensive plays or line calls?

More than most teams?

How many people on the sidelines know each play well enough that they would have to watch their body language?

Justin said...

I'm looking at the safety position and, provided the team doesn't bring in another body to compete at St. Vincent's, they're pretty much locked into Carter and Mundy backing-up Troy and Clark. Derivative of all this... (1) are there any vets out there to bring in? (2) making the 53 would be the next logical step for Mundy, but do the coaches think he can he handle it? (3) what does this mean for 2010 with Clark and Carter in their final years? Thanks... love your writing.

Brandon said...

I don't know where to start projecting the CB position. It's a classic "good problem" with all 9 guys (Taylor/Gay/Townsend/Madison/Ratliff/Bryant/K. Lewis
Burnett/R. Lewis) having a reasonable shot to make the roster. How many CBs do you think make the final 53 and, assuming Ike, Gay, and Deshea are locks, how do you handicap the rest of the field? Incidentaly, I liked what Roy Lewis flashed last camp. Is he destined for the practice squad again?

Dale Lolley said...

Williams has shown good hands and speed. He also continues to get open, which means his route running must be pretty good as well.

He flashed at mini-camp with some very nice catches and has continued to look good.

Arians isn't going to change his scheme dramatically. I'll be at OTAs again tomorrow, so I promise to keep an eye on Mendenhall.

I think the Patriots are going to be very tough this season. I think they and the Steelers are clearly the class of the AFC, with Indianapolis and San Diego just a notch behind. Tennessee and Baltimore will take a step back but still be solid teams.

I think the Steelers have had a very solid offseason. Only a couple of losses from a championship team. Solid draft.

No, I don't think the Steelers tip their plays any more or less than any other team.

The CB question and safety question go hand-in-hand. I think this may be the year they shift Townsend to S. He could play another two or three years as a backup S, fill-in nickel corner. That could leave Carter on the outside looking in.

As for the blocking scheme, the talent on the offensive line hasn't been great. Also, when you run a lot of two tight end stuff with no fullback, everybody has to do their job because there's nobody left to clean up the mess. If one guy gets beat, the whole play can blow up.

Mohammed said...

Dale, I attended a Steeler basketball game a week ago, and I saw Dennis Dixon being one HECK of an athlete. Anything in the OTA's that would back up that statement, QB wise? Also, me and my friend keep talking about our power running game. I say we're fine, with Parker and Moore and the "lighter" backs, with Mendy being the guts and glory type. Is that how you pretty much see it to shape up? Not to mention some up and coming free agents we have. Thoughts?

Blount Trauma said...

Dale, there was some hype about UFA QB Mike Reilly. Have you seen him throw a ball yet?

Anonymous said...

Any news on an extension for Heath Miller? Also, Im thinking we may just use Starks and Colon this next year with replacements at both OT next season. Im thinking Capizzi or Hills at be a future draft pick at RT. Your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Any news on an extension for Heath Miller? Also, Im thinking we may just use Starks and Colon this next year with replacements at both OT next season. Im thinking Capizzi or Hills at LT and maybe a future draft pick at RT. Your thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

I like Jason Capizzi. He's a good story - local kid makes good. But I don't understand all the love he gets. There's nothing wrong with the kid making the team. I think that would be great. But future starter? I'm not seeing that. Hills has to show me something at Latrobe this year. He looks bigger and he's working hard, but we'll see.
If there's no new CBA, Colon will be restricted again.
And if they don't get something done with Starks again, they could just keep on franchising him. They won't go into a season with two new starting tackles. That's too important a position.

Reilly looks OK. He's been better than McCabe thus far, but we'll see.

Parker's still going to be the starter and they'll give Mendenhall the opportunity to be the short-yardage/changeup guy with Moore as the third-down guy.

datruth4life said...


What roles do you think the Steelers rookies will play this year? Do you think the Tank will be that short yardage back rather than Mendenhall?

As far as Capizi, it's not the fact that he is a local kid for me. Just look at his feet (especially for a man that size) and his pass protection skills versus the feet and pass protection of Willie Colon and tell me who has the most ability and potential as the team's future RT?

From what I've seen in preseason games, I just think Capizi can be a solid OL if given a fair shake for a team that needs good, young OL.

Patrick said...

yeh again no offense, but I'll be surprised if Capizzi makes the team.

Dale, god forbid we lost our starting QB to a long injury (trying to avoid the jinx without using names) who do you think would be the back up this year Dixon, Batch or a FA/Vet trade. I can't see Batch winning more than 10 games without an unbelievable running game and Dixon is the wildcard - he could add something intereseting. What do you think would happen?

That is the only thing I see preventing the Steelers from being the AFC champions honestly.

Anonymous said...

I dunno I think there is a decent chance Capizzi makes the roster while foster is on the PS. He would have made it last year if he hadn't go injured, the Steelers proved that when they resigned him to the team later in the year.

Viz-Burgh said...


Couple questions that hopefully could be answered by what you're seeing in OTAs;

1.) Frank the Tank - Are the Steelers lining him up at FB at all in coaching sessions or is he strictly a RB?

2.) Mike Wallace - I know he's fast but the questions about him were about his hands and route running. How does he look in those aspects?

3.) Is AQ Shipley doing any long snapping in ST drills? I know he has some experience there & could either save a roster spot or be a solid emergency LS so James Harrison doesn't have to do it again.

4.) Impressions of Joe Burnett thus far? Does he look like a playmaker, quick in and out of breaks?

Anonymous said...

I couldnt agree more with Viz-Burgh. AQ does have long snapping experience, and coach love "position flexibility", having him LS as well as backup for a year would be great. How has he been doing thus far? Oh, and for those who dont know, AQ stand for Alejandro Quintaplous Shipley. Our starter next season.

Dale Lolley said...

I haven't seen Shipley do any snapping yet. They have Warren and the kid from Pitt doing it for now. That covers them. Doesn't mean he won't, but he isn't right now.

I think Dixon has a shot to be No. 2, but let's be honest, without Roethlisberger, this team would be in trouble anyway. They'd win seven or eight games, but Ben's the franchise.

I haven't made note of Summers lining up at fullback, but that doesn't mean he hasn't. Sometimes you miss things. And they line up with a fullback so infrequently in these things - they mostly work on passing - that's it's easy to miss.

As for short-yardage, the job is Mendenhall's to lose at this point.

Wallace's hands look decent. As for his route running, that's tough to tell at this point.

Burnett does look like a playmaker. In fact, I've liked what I've seen out of all of their return guys thus far, but nobody's hitting them yet.

Viz-Burgh said...

Thank you Dale. Point by point answers to my questions. Couldn't ask for more!

Andrew said...

With all the talk of valuing continuity on the o-line, what do you think the chances are that we see any change in the lineup come September? If so, what do you think the o-line might look like? Thanks.

manosteel9423 said...

Dale, I was very happy with the Ramon Foster pickup after the draft. I know its tough to get a gauge on linemen in shorts, but how does he look out there? I see NFL starting potential on tape.

Dale Lolley said...

Foster is a big-bodied guy. Haven't seen enough of him to form an opinion, but he certainly looks the part. Future might be at guard, though I'm just saying that based on body type. I'll get a better idea when I see him at training camp do some of those drills.

I see them opening with the same offensive line they walked off the field with at the Super Bowl, but they want somebody to push Stapleton. Essex could be that guy, though they'd like it to be Urbik. He's got a lot to learn, though. I think Urbik could replace Stapleton at some point during the season.