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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Thoughts on Rooney's statements

Steelers president Art Rooney II said a number of things of interest this week, including the fact that he'd like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to retire as a member of the Steelers.

That wasn't always necessarily the case. When Roethlisberger was accused of rape in Georgia back in 2010,  it was very nearly the end of Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers, of course, decided to hold onto Roethlisberger rather than trade him, and he's been a model citizen since. He got married, quit putting himself in situations where he could be accused of anything and even opened up with the media more so than ever before.

Rooney said the Steelers won't necessarily work on a contract extension this offseason with Roethlisberger, who has two years remaining on his current deal. And while it's true the Steelers might not HAVE to do so, it would benefit Pittsburgh to sign Roethlisberger to an extension.

The Steelers could lower Roethlisberger's 2014 cap hit by as much as $4 million next season even with a deal that pays him in the average range of Joe Flacco's $20 million per season, while also giving the quarterback a hefty signing bonus that would be incentive for him to get a deal done as well.

Rooney also said he was happy with the progress the offense made this season, noting that many of the team's issues were defensive.

That said, he correctly noted the issues with the team's defense.

"We need to be better. There's no denying that," Rooney said. "Whether it's age-related or otherwise, I'm not too concerned about the age, it's just about getting better."

That will be the team's main focus this offseason.

The offense has the potential to lose only two cogs - wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery.

It expect the Steelers to make a strong push to sign at least one of those two, with Cotchery being the most likely.

That means retooling the defense with draft picks/free agents will be the offseason priority.

I would expect a change at free safety, where Ryan Clark has roamed since 2006.

Clark was a solid player for a lot of years for this team. But with the change in the NFL rules to take away big hits in the secondary, he's become something of a dinosaur. The free safety in today's NFL doesn't need to be as much of a big hitter as he does someone who can take the football away.


Anonymous said...

Dale, I know this has been brought up many times on this site but what are your true feelings on the way the steelers handled the Keenan Lewis situation? I know you said before that he wanted to play for his hometown team but I'm sure we could have kept him if we made a serious offer. Every time I watch the saints play I get a sick feeling in my stomache! He's played lights out the entire year and even better down the stretch. Dare I say... The best corner in the league?

BlackNGold said...

I wouldn't say best in the league, but definitely good. I still put guys like Peterson, Sherman, Haden, Tillman, Verner, Talib and Grimes ahead of him though.

marc said...

well, I guess you didn't see lewis' feeble attempt at tackling lynch near the goaline on his 31 yard TD run.

marc said...

were you thinking of doing anything on the blog about the teams playing for the conference championships next week?

I just found it so amazing, especially after the discussion on here last week, how the teams who ran the ball best won and the two 300+ yard passers both lost. of course there are other factors, but as I stated before, I don't believe the league is that much different than it was 10-12 years ago.

consider that seattle and new England ran the ball over 65% of the time and S.F. ran the ball 55% of the time. does weather factor in, sure, but that's one of the reasons you need to be able to run the ball late in the season.

anyways, I was just curious.

TarheelFlyer said...

The unknown in the Lewis situation is his desire to play at home. We don't know what kind of factor that was in the process. It is okay that Lewis says he never even got an offer, but it is also possible that in his exit interview or at some point he implied to Tomlin/Colbert that it didn't matter what they offered him.

I think everyone would admit having Lewis tied up for the next few years would be better than having Ike this year or next if for no other reason than age.

When it comes to pass versus run, I think the difficulty that many who just want to throw the ball all over the place seem to forget is that teams, any team, that can run the ball when they want to controls the line of scrimmage, the clock, and the ball. Bell will be HUGE for us next year.

Anonymous said...

...but it is also possible that in his exit interview or at some point he implied to Tomlin/Colbert that it didn't matter what they offered him.
From the PPG:

Lewis left his exit interview with coach Mike Tomlin on New Year's Day feeling good about the team's desire to sign him to a new contract.

"I'm hoping they do something so I can get back," said Lewis, who led the NFL in passes defensed. "They said they wanted me to come back."


"I want what I feel I deserve. I'm not trying to ask for way more. If they can work out a good deal with my agent, I'll be here. I'll always give them top priority because they're the team that drafted me.

Dale Lolley said...

About a month into last season, I was on the re-sign Lewis bandwagon. But as I studied their cap situation more, I realized they really couldn't afford it. He's a solid cover guy who's not going to give you a lot of interceptions.

I wouldn't say he was the best corner in the league. You can't not get picks and be that. He's a good player, obviously. They didn't foresee Ike Taylor falling off as quickly as he did. That said, Ike is still a solid corner. He just can't go one-on-one with the other team's best play-in and play-out. That's a lot of pressure on one guy, especially when the safeties were so concerned about helping out with the run defense.

I thought once they scrapped doing that, his play improved and it gave Cortez Allen more of a chance to shine.

Would Lewis have come back? Sure. But the Steelers couldn't afford it.