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Today, we turn things over to Me & You, with a reminder that our chat will start promptly at 1:30 this afternoon.
--- YOU: I’m rooting for the Baltimore Ravens, and would root for them regardless of who they were playing, so long as they aren’t in the Steeler’s path. I respect the Ravens and want them to carry the AFC North banner to Super Bowl victory. I find the Steelers and Ravens to be remarkably similar teams. Colbert/Newsome; Polamalu/Reed; Hampton/Ngata; Harrison/ Lewis; Woodley/Suggs; Roethlisberger/Flacco, Hines/Bolden – etc. I find it hypocritical to support the way the Steeler’s build their team, and not like the Ravens. The Steelers are still my team and root for the Ravens to lose until the Steelers are eliminated, so I must ask:
Am I a Traitor?
ME: In the truest sense of the word, you would only be a traitor as a Steelers fan if you rooted for the Ravens when they played the Steelers. Think of yourself as a true American. We fought two very bitter wars against England, yet swooped in to join them to beat back the Germans in World Wars I and II.
--- YOU: I just couldnt watch the game but lesser of two evils won. Did read/hear about Belicheat's pout. And its hard to agree with
Suggs but he's got my vote for saying it the way it is about the Pats. Gotta root for Ravens in SB if for no other reason than
to preserve Steelers 6 SB lead...Hope you are wrong about Pens peaking too early.
ME: Maybe they’ll let this one end in a tie.
--- YOU: Thanks as always for the great work. I have a non-Steelers question, but one on which I'd like your perspective: Tom Brady's aggressive-looking slide at Ed Reed in the AFC Championship Game.
I saw a little buzz about it late last night, but almost nothing from the major sites today. To me, that looked like a full-on attack move, the same kind of behavior that got Ndamukong Suh in big trouble and his name dragged through the mud (though Suh wasn't a first-time offender). Yet Tom Brady takes a kick at an opposing player and it's not okay to discuss the possibility of unsportsmanlike conduct?
Now it's possible that slow motion replays and repeated viewings have convinced me of aggression that wasn't there, but we generally don't see a QB slide with his leg up and cleats out like that. It looked aggressive to me. What's your take?
ME: The Ravens have complained about it. I watched the game but somehow missed that slide, although I’ve seen a photo of it. Since you are not supposed to touch the quarterback once he goes into his slide, Brady may have just been trying to protect himself when he saw Reed coming at him. OK, that’s giving Brady too much credit. It was a downright dirty move.
--- YOU: Everybody knows that the Steelers' running game has been subpar, and Lord knows I am not a Mendenhall fan - I have never forgiven him for the fumble against the Packers in the Super Bowl - but I cannot help but think that a lot of their issues in the running game relate to the offensive line. 2 straight years of plug and play changes/injuries/lack of continuity on the O line - it has to have some impact, doesn't it?
ME: Of course it does. The Steelers need to identify their five starting linemen and those five players need to stay healthy and, of course, play well. I read somewhere that all five San Francisco linemen have played every game.
--- YOU: In your morning slog you suggested that the Ridley fumble was "controversial." Initially I thought it was helmet-to-helmet, but later read that it doesn't qualify if the running back lowers his head. What was controversial about the fumble?
ME: I didn’t think it was a fumble.
--- YOU: Saw a recent article that may explain that record, 8-8. Tomlin has been here for 6 drafts. Virtually no one remains from the first 3. Not exactly how you build a winner.
ME: Here is what they have left from those three: 2007, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley. 2008, Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Mundy . 2009, Ziggy Hood, Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis. That’s not bad on the surface because there are six starters. However, they could lose three of those, plus Mundy as free agents this year. That would leave three playes left: Timmons, Woodley and Hood. Even at that, it’s not “virtually” no one remains.
--- YOU: Ed, what are your projections about which veterans Colbert will part ways with?
ME: It’s not just Kevin Colbert who is involved in these decisions, Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney II have their says in the matter as well. There also is a difference between parting ways and a player leaving as a free agent. Larry Foote and Casey Hampton, for example, are free agents. If they sign elsewhere, did the Steelers part ways with them? Foote has said he wants to come back or won’t play elsewhere. Hampton said he wants to play in 2013 regardless. I think Foote will be back and not Hampton. Max Starks and Ramon Foster, both UFAs, probably will leave. Mike Wallace will find his pot of gold somewhere else. They have a shot at getting Keenan Lewis back, but they also have a shot at losing him. Rashard Mendenhall is going to make someone a good free agent pickup on the cheap.
--- YOU: Just wondering if the Steelers have considered moving Harrison to the inside backer position at a reduced salary? He would be a good fit I believe and would put our four best linebackers on the field at the same time.
ME: There is absolutely no good reason to take one of their best outside linebackers in history and move him inside. If he can no longer play outside linebacker because of age or injury, then cut him, but you don’t put him inside.
--- YOU: Ed, which players currently on the Steelers roster do you expect to elevate their play next season? Are their high quality starters waiting in the wings that are not so obvious to us armchair GMs?
ME: No, there are not. Cortez Allen may be one, but he elevated his play this past season. They still have hope for Curtis Brown and they would love to see Cameron Heyward blossom in his third season.
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