Despite all the facts that have been presented, questions keep coming this way through Twitter and email as to what other teams’ free agents the Steelers might sign and whether they will put the franchise tag on Mike Wallace.
Kevin Colbert already declared the Steelers will not use the franchise tag this year so, unless you think he’s bluffing, that’s that. They also will barely have enough room to re-sign their own players, let alone someone else’s free agents.
The Steelers could lose every one of their free agents, and they might have to lose a few more veterans if they don’t agree to take less money in 2013. They are so far over the salary cap that they would not be able to fill a 53-man roster without doing all of that.
The bloodletting that occurred last year when they released three longtime stars could be a drop in the bucket as to what occurs over the next month, which could resemble their March Massacre.
After all the dust settles, they could sign a free agent or two, but they won’t be on anyone’s A list.
Onto some stuff and your questions:
--- Mike Tomlin still has one hire left on his coaching staff. He could use it to hire an assistant special teams coach as he has had since he arrived in Pittsburgh, or he could use it elsewhere as he hinted he might do at the end of last season.
--- Dave Wannstedt taking a job as special teams coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs was surprising. The last time he was a special teams coach was 1977 with Pitt. He was defensive coordinator in Buffalo before Chan Gailey and his entire staff were let go after the season. Wannstedt gave Tampa coach Greg Schiano his first NFL job with the Chicago Bears in 1996. He likely will have more say than as a special teams coach in Tampa, where he replaced Bob Ligashesky, Mike Tomlin’s first special teams coach, who was fired.
--- Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald will present their stories of discrimination Friday night at 7 on the Characters Unite show on the USA Network. Polamalu recorded a quick promo for the show. You’ll have to paste this into your browser:
--- YOU: Do you see Ben taking a step forward or sideways / back next year in his 2nd year with Haley? I liked how our offense was performing up to Ben’s freak injury. It seems we got away from the ball control and use of the dump off after Ben returned. Losing Wallace may be a positive as it forces us to work the middle and underneath. I can’t think of any deep threats that Brady or Manning have that is far superior to ours.
ME: Ben Roethlisberger’s play has been consistently good through the years and I don’t see him taking a step backward next season. I’m convinced his arm was not strong after the injury and he could not make some of those throws to the sideline. He will need more help at wide receiver and running back, though, than he got in 2012 and the new-wave offensive line has to play better and stay healthy.
--- YOU: This has bothered me for some time and I finally came across your name on the internet as a person that could answer my question. “Why hasn’t Andy Russell been elected to the Hall of Fame?” As far as I’m concerned he had a major role in developing and assisting Lambert and Ham at linebacker. As you know both are in the Hall and that might be why Andy isn’t. Should 3 linebackers from the same team be in the Hall? Anyway, if you look at Andy’s record you would have to come away with the idea that he, at least, should be in the voting. Just look at his record, especially when he played for 12 years and was all pro for 7 of those. I know your very busy, but this has bothered me for a while, so if you could give a brief response as to why, I’d appreciate it. I feel he deserves being in the Hall as much as the other two.
ME: In my early years, I once wrote this: “Future Hall of Famer Andy Russell . . .” We’re still waiting. When Myron Cope received the broadcaster award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he went into a long rant during his acceptance speech about Russell not being in the Hall; that’s how passionate Cope was about it. Russell would have to be nominated by the seniors committee and, frankly, I don’t know that there’s much support for him. If anything, L.C. Greenwood would be the next Steelers player to receive that nomination. Russell was a good linebacker who played on a lot of bad teams early in his career. He deserves a look at least.
--- YOU: In this copycat league, what do you think the Steelers should copy from the Ravens or 49ers? There’s not much we can copy from the 49ers given our different personnel, but I would think we could copy the heavy use of multiple TEs by the Ravens. Also, the Ravens are not afraid to make a FA splash or 2 compared to us.
ME: The Steelers need to copy no one. They’ve had enough success for the past 40 years that other organizations copy them. They had a down year, which for them is 8-8 and for many others would be 4-12. They certainly aren’t going to go to multiple tight ends since at the moment, their only good tight end is rehabbing from knee surgery and might not be ready to start the next season. As for making a free agent splash, that’s not what they do, and they cannot afford it because they have a history of re-signing their own players without letting them go and signing someone else’s players to make a “splash.’’ Believe it or not, for the most part, the Ravens have done the same thing.
--- YOU: Obviously, Jerome needs to get a gig on ESPN or NFL Network if he expects to get into the HOF.
ME: He had one, on NBC, and was not retained. That didn’t help Cris Carter during his first four years of eligibility when he did not make it. And it didn’t seem to help Michael Strahan this year even though you can find him on TV more than any other HOF candidate, and who some thought was a slam-dunk to make it in his first season. The Bus will get in, and he won’t need a TV gig to get there.
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