Monday, September 13, 2010

What the Starks injury means

Let the scrambling begin.

With NFL.com reporting that Max Starks will be out a month with a high ankle sprain, the Steelers took a big hit on their offensive line.

Starks' injury leaves the Steelers without both players scheduled to be their starting offensive tackles coming out of mini-camp. Right tackle Willie Colon was lost prior to the opening of training camp with an Achilles' tendon tear.

The injury to Starks leaves the team with Jonathan Scott, who replaced Starks Sunday, Flozell Adams, signed to replace Colon, and Tony Hills as the only healthy tackles on the roster.

Starting right guard Trai Essex has also played tackle during his career, while second-year player Ramon Foster has lined up at right tackle in preseason games.

The early favorite to replace Starks in the next three games - the Steelers have a bye week in Week 5 - will be Hills.

He made big improvements during training camp this summer to make a push to earn a spot on the roster.

One emergency option for the Steelers would be to re-sign former starting center Justin Hartwig – who visited the Cincinnati Bengals Monday. That would allow the team to move Essex to left tackle, slide Maurkice Pouncey to right guard and insert Hartwig at center.

But that would be tearing up the entire line, so the first option will be using Scott or Hills.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

What sort of "big improvements" did Tony Hills make his year? All the negatives from the last few years described him as being weak with poor hand work to complement his quicker feet.

Where did he improve? Strength? Skills? Is he an NFL tackle now?

SteelRose said...

Jonathan Scott is taking over the LT spot. Hes played for Coach Kugler before. Youre an idiot if you think were going to butcher the oline just to fill 1 spot. You must be a relative of the Trib's Scott Brown. When Colon got injured he wanted to butcher the line too. Keep up this kind of thought process up and youll lose interest in your blog.

Anonymous said...

Steelers would bring back Urbik or Shipley before Hartwig. Hartwig burned his bridges on the way out of town with his sulking after losing out to Pouncey.

Cajunyankee said...

Big improvements can be made in knowledge of the offense and knowledge of what his position requires and improved techniques from coaching and better conditioning and strenght from NFL conditioning coaches. Troy P. is NOT as fast as many think he is though he is very quick. What makes him appear so fast is his intellect. His ability to read the play and how quickly he decides what to do and where to be. The game has slowed down for him. Maybe the game is slowing down for Tony Hills also and his decision making process is quicker and better.

Cajun-

John said...

Stay classy SteelRose.

@Dale - Do you think the OL performance is all because of a better center or a combo of Pouncey and the new coach?

Anonymous said...

"That would allow the team to move Essex to left tackle, slide Maurkice Pouncey to right guard and insert Hartwig at center."

NOOOO

I pray that never happens. Pouncey is a beast out there. Can't have something like hartwig there again

Hills has no game experience. but if they think he's ready then by all means put him in. Prove why you were a 4th round pick!

Anonymous said...

Steelrose must not read very well.
Dale said the first option would be to use Scott or Hills and NOT tear up the line. Come on! Read the whole post before you comment.
My idea for a third option if this one or tearing up the line don't work: Clone "Redzone" three times and put him in at every position on the line except for Pouncey at center.

Mrs. Isaac Redman

Anonymous said...

Well, I think LT needs to be by committee. Let's face it, if you havent played an entire game yet, you think you are going to on the road against a physical Titans team?? No, it has to be done by several players to get refreshed, and still have legs at the end of the game! Whoever plays the best, plays the 4th qtr!!

Patrick said...

the above comment may be the dumbest post on here yet.

Ben said...

I thought Adams started out pretty good but looked tired in the 4th quarter. He's not a spring chicken and not exactly noted for his conditioning anyway. Keeping him a bit fresher by giving whichever of Hills or Scott doesn't start at LT would probably give us a better OL over the whole course of the game.

Dale Lolley said...

I won't dignify your response with a comment Rose. You don't like the blog, you're welcome not to come here. No skin off my nose.

I thought Hills was an obvious cut at the beginning of training camp. But when they got into the games, he showed that he could hold his own. He has improved his strength a great deal. He's always had pretty good feet. I think he also now has a better grasp of what's being asked of him.

You can credit Kugler for that.

Anonymous said...

Patrick, you are a moron. I guarantee you someone will start getting beat by the 4th qtr on the left side! I'll be at the game, I'll let you know....

Manosteel9423 said...

Anonymous poster above...

The reason he thinks its a stupid idea is because its a stupid idea! The offensive line is all about cohesion and playing together. Rotating players in and out of the game would greatly disrupt that cohesiveness. The whole point of using Hills or Scott and not breaking up the line by moving Adams or Essex is to incur the least possible amount of change.
Continuity. Very important. This isn't the D-line where you can rotate guys and not lose anything.

Patrick said...

I'm sorry you had to explain that.

I think that would be the first time in modern football that a team intentionally rotated starting left tackles.

adamg said...

Scott will probably start, but Hills looks pretty athletic and quick. I think he might actually be a better match up for the new, smaller, faster DEs now being used as rush ends.

kelly said...

I think Hills should start. Then we have Scott to back up both tackle spots. I like how Hills looked in the preseason; he had good feet and really finished his blocks in the run game.

Anonymous said...

I think Steelrose should start, get killed, then never post here again.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, Dale said something some idiot didn't like. Losing... interest... in... blog...

keevin said...

i like giving Hills a shot, he looked very good in preseason.

I said all along they should move Essex to tackle though. and insert Legursky or Foster inside

SteelRose said...

See? And I thought this was a forward thinking Steeler blog, a semi-educated Steeler blog. but, as usual, its nothing but a yinzer parade. Know this- I called us drafting Pouncey, I called him starting at center, I called the final cuts, I called the 53 man roster, and as Coach Tomlin said in his conference today- I called the Jonathan Scott start IF Starks cannot play. Not Hills, not Essex, not Adams. Surely not butchering the line to fill 1 spot, or resigning a cast off and giving him the very spot we saw him get his ass kicked out of. If you paid attention to detail, watched the game instead of drinking your asses off, and open your eyes to how our tema operates- you all would have known all of this too. Oh, and dont throw stones at my early 2011 mock draft. I hit 6 out of 10 last year, and Ill do better than 50% again. Peace. Oh, and watch- Essex will be replaced sometime this season. Coach Kugler will see hes nothing but settling for a filler at RG. Foster is my personal preference, but Bruno could do it also. Oh, for those that dont know, Bruno is Legursky's nicname.

Patrick said...

SteelRose needs to get laid.

Anonymous said...

Well, I called Obama winning. I called the real estate crash. I called Enron stealing money from it's investors. I called the fourth Indiana Jones movie. I called every single world series winner in the last ten years. I called the saints winning last years superbowl, in 1998. I called Troy's injury last year the day he was drafted. I called the Pirates would have a losing season. Ok, that last one wasn't true. I called that you would call us drafting Pouncey. Man I wish I could prove all that like Steelrosey.

Anonymous said...

we are all a bunch of younzers who drink iron city and we wear members only jackets on the weekends and we also think Steely McBeam is rockin mascot. Dale is our leader and if you don't like it please feel free to go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I wish Steel Rose would start a blog so that I could go on it and marvel at his predictions of the future. It would be so much more "interesting" than living in reality where mere mortals like us don't know the future.
Here is a prediction you can take to the bank. "Redzone" will set the rushing record for most short yardage first downs ever made in a season (if that statistic is kept somewhere in the annals of NFL history). You heard it here first. SteelRose can't take credit for this one.

Mrs. Isaac Redman

Anonymous said...

I predict someone will win the superbowl each of the next five seasons. Wait wait! Unless there's a lockout!