I wish there were a way to measure what people often call the “hometown discount.” Thats what a player will give to the team they play for on their contract, if they like playing there. It would be one way to tell what players are just in it for the money.

It would also tell what teams/cities are considered by the players as the best places for a player to play. There would be stats for which teams lead the league in hometown discount, and those teams would be the teams/cities that players consider to be the best places to play. Those are the teams that players sacrifice the most money to play for.

Every year the Pittsburgh Steelers would be at the top of the list. I think more players give more of the of the money they COULD earn, back to their fans and teams than just about any other team. Maybe the Patriots? That would be about it. Its one way how they keep their across the board talent and keep in contention nearly every year.

This year, the team that is finishing last in the league in hometown discount is the ravens. That would be very hard to argue with right now.

The Steelers are a bit limited in their choices at running back right now. Last year the backs were considered a strength, with Dwyer, Redman, Batch, Mendenhall and the fast rookie Rainey. How things change. Mendy and Rainey are gone, and none of others looked consistantly good last year.

Right now, Dwyer has to be considered the starter, Redman the back up and short yardage back, and Batch the 3rd down back. I don’t think that’s enough and I doubt the Steelers disagree. They will most certainly draft a back and try to sign some free agents post-draft, cheap. If they get someone who can get some carries and quality yards right away, even better.

The Steelers will have a new blocking scheme this year, one that comes with their new line coach. They should also start the year with a young o-line that figures to be improved, at least for run blocking. I think that Dwyer, who seems to hit the holes more accurately and harder than the others, will benefit the most from it. Whoever they draft needs to fit their new scheme too, someone who hits a hole hard and fast and relentlessly.

I think the ground game will be improved in 2013, after all it’d be hard to be worse. The new zone blocking scheme, a second year with the new offensive scheme of Haley’s, and the young talented offensive line that fits the blocking scheme, all should merit some improvement. What will take the ground game from decent to good will be up to the backs.

Gotta love all the cleveland ravens fans suddenly around here. Its not like they are actual fans of the ravens, much less football fans. Haters always seem kind of pathetic. My fave part is how half of them snivel about how old the steelers are, then snivel again when they get younger. Meh. They’ll go back in the closet soon enough.

The steelers aren’t that old as a team anymore and getting younger all the time.

On offense the o line will have two 2nd year guys (adams and decastro), one 3rd year (gilbert) and one 4th year (pouncey.) The fifth starter will either be old man colon or another 2nd year guy in beachum. With two #1 picks and two #2 picks, thats a lot of young talent right there.

Both wrs are going to be 4th year guys (brown and sanders.) The tight end will be a 2nd year guy (paulson) until miller gets back, and a draft pick. The fb is a 2nd year guy (will johnson) and whoever ends up at running back won’t be over year 3 or 4. Ben is the oldest there and he’s not that old as far as qbs go. Considering all the youth and injuries, it really shouldn’t be a surpise the offense didn’t play as well as it could have last year. With even average health, it should be much improved.

The d is a bit older but not as much as you might think. Combined with the sudden flood of cornerbacks littering the market, harrisons release means lewis will quite likely be resigned. We might have older safeties but lewis, allen, gay, brown, victorian and whoever they draft from the deep cornerback class more than make up for ike. I am hoping allen gets moved to safety eventually to replace either clark or polamalu. He’ll get playing time there anyways this coming year. The other safety spot might well get restocked with adraft pick, or even another an ex corner, it seems they’ll have plenty of corners. #1 pass defense without turnovers or much of a pass rush last year. They might be even better this year and certainly deeper.

For the line, keisal and hampton are old, but still playing well, and everyone else is young. With harrison gone, the linebackers are suddenly a lot younger as well, with only foote being older.

Those of y’all hooting and hollaring are doing it awfully prematurely. Last year the steelers had the #1 defense in the league. It likely won’t fall that far, and the offensive should be significantly better. From where I sit, the Steelers have a pretty decent future and I don’t care for a nanosecond what any bunch of football-ignorant trolls think.

Last year’s draft brought us three new names worth keeping an eye on: guards DeCastro and Beachum, and tackle Adams. Decastro is already penciled in as the right guard of the future. Adams will either pay right or left tackle with Gilbert at the other. Who is where still remains to be seen.

Beachum is the interesting case. The Steelers rave about his iq, both football-wise and otherwise. He started out last year getting work at guard and finished up playing a very servicable right tackle after Gilbert and Adams both went down. This year, he do anything from a line swing role (the Steelers reportedly feel he could play every position, if needed) to starting at left guard. depends on who resigns as to what the Steelers want to do with him.

Colon could return if he takes a big pay cut. Will Foster return as well? He will undoubtedly get some attention during fre agency and he doesn’t realy fit the new blocking scheme the new o-line coach plans to install. Foster is another player who can play both guard and tackle in a pinch. After starting the bulk of the last three years, I’d bet he undoubtedly wants to continue to do so, and get paid like it.

Pouncey is of course set at center. His back up the last few years has been Legursky, who’s heart and mind are far better for football than his short and unathletic body is. Still, that said, he fits the new scheme better than the old one does.

In general, considering the new scheme, I think the Steelers will keep open minds on all possible options. Free agency has yet to play out and there are still more contracts issues to resolve, and then comes the draft where even more players might be added. Injuries laat year gave some players, like Beachum, a chance to show their stuff earlier than the Steelers would have liked. There are many possible parts to the offensive line puzzle. It’s go to be a lot of fun for us fans as the Steelers start sorting them out.

A lot of people say that the Steelers need to draft a safety due to age concerns with their current duo, Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu. However, this year’s draft has greater depth in cornerbacks. I have long been a proponent of the thinking that for free saftey at least, you might be better off moving a player there from corner. The free saftey needs cover skills more so than a strong safety, who spehds more time in run support. The free safety is the last line of all defense, but specifically pass defense.

The Steelers happen to have just such a candidate in Cortez Allen. Allen showed in the last few games of laat year that he can not only cover well, but get turnovers, an element missing from the defense in general the last few seasons. I think he has the skills to be an excellent free safety. At 6-1 and well over 200 pounds he actually has the size to play either safety spot. He was the payer the Steelers put 1-1 with Rob Gronkowski when the Steelers played the Patriots. If Allen can – and did – excel at an assignment like that, he has a strong and versitle skill set indeed.

The Steelers current cornerback roster is loaded. Allen, Ike Taylor, Curtis Brown, Josh Victorian, Van Dyke, and Keenan Lewis if he can be resigned. Add in new signee Willie Gay, and there is considerable depth.

In my opinion, the Steelers are best served by picking up even more talent from this draft rich in CBs – and using this depth to fill future holes at the safety position as well. Allen to free safety is a move than puts a talented youjngmplayer is a position to use his skills to their fullest. Could either Lewis or Gay play free safety? If so moving the versitle Allen to strong safety covers both positions.

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