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Old 07-11-2010, 08:01 PM   #1
PhilLEEs 2011
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Philly, PA
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Default Scout Another Team

Overview: Underachieved last year with an extremely sorry showing from Jake Delhomme (8 TD, 18 INT, 4 fum). Jake should have never been given that big contract and was a turnover machine last year. Matt Moore leads the team into this season in a division dominated by the defending Super Bowl champion Saints.

Look Out For: Matt Moore. He took over the starting QB duties for the last 5 games of the season leading them to a 4-1 record in that time, crushing both Minnesota and NYG and beating a resting NO team. Completed 62% of his passes while throwing 8 TD's and 1 TD in those 5 games. He's one of the guys you tend to root for as he went undrafted, impressed in training camp for the Cowboys but was waived, and has now found his way as a starter in the league. If I remember correctly the 'Boys didn't want to give him up. He developed a good bond with Steve Smith, who had 3 receiving TD's in 4 games played with Moore.

What I love: The running back tandem of Williams/Stewart. I've praised my love many times for DeAngelo on this board saying that if he was given 300+ carries he would be in the AP, CJ, and MJD discussion of top running backs. When you pair that with Jonathan Stewart who many believe to be a top 10 RB in his own right you have the most dominant RB duo in the league. The 2 combined for 28 total rushing TD's in '08 and 17 total rush TD's in '09 (with Williams missing 3 games).

What I dislike: For a team who has shown some confidence moving forward with QB Matt Moore as their starter, they drafted 2 QB's in this year's draft...Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike. They didn't own a 1st round pick and then spent their first pick of the draft on a position that shouldn't be a need, waiting til the 3rd to draft WR LaFell. Taylor Mays, Javier Arenas, and a guy like Carlos Dunlap to help replace Peppers were all still on the board and taken right after the pick.

Question Marks: Two of them. How do they begin to replace the production from Julius Peppers? Will Steve Smith be completely ready to go by the beginning of the season? Peppers left a big hole in their defensive line when he left via free agency. Tyler Brayton is their lead returning sack guy with just 5.0 last year. Will they find ways to put pressure on the opposing QB? Also the broken arm Steve Smith suffered in a flag football game has to be on their minds. He's not expected to miss time, but not expected to play any preseason either and could be set back by this. Muhsin Mahhamad's retirement would put 3rd round pick Brandon LaFell #1 on the depth chart for opening day if Smith can't go.
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Old 07-15-2010, 12:45 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Posts: 13,382
Default Re: Scout Another Team

I'll scout the Steelers. Or, at least try to. Being that they are a division foe, I'm pretty familiar with them

Looking back at 2009: Coming off a Super Bowl, there was no reason for Steelers fans to think that the 2009 squad couldn't reach certain heights, but a major injury to team leader Troy Polamalu buried those hopes. There is no replacing that guy, and the pass defense proved to be a weakness without him. The Aaron Smith injury, although it wasn't discussed as much, was also extremely significant.

As a whole, the defense wasn't.......bad, but it wasn't what it was the year before. When a crucial stop needed to be made, the absense of Polamalu was definately felt. There was noone in the defensive backfield for the opposition to fear.

On the offensive side of the ball, the team was a pass happy unit. It wasn't "Steelers football" the way your father/grandfather remembered. Big Ben posted huge numbers, Holmes had a big year, supplanting Hines Ward as the top option. Heath Miller did his thing, and Rashard Mendenhall stepped onto the scene in a big way. Obviously, with the final record being 9-7, what was the problem? Pass protection, and the inability to get short yardage plays.

Finally, there seemed to be a real lack of focus. Losing games to the Browns, Raiders, and Chiefs, among others, was quite surprising. If they had won one of those games, they would have made the playoffs. When you win the games against the good teams, which they did, and lose to bottom feeders, that says something.

Looking ahead: The schedule is favorable for them early on, as Byron Leftwich will (likely) lead the charge. If they can maintain an amount of respectability in that time, there is certainly a good chance that they will be in the NFC North hunt. It's been an awful offseason for them, and losing Santonio Holmes will hurt. It will be interesting to see if Mike Wallace can become a top WR target.

Defensively, Polamalu being back and healthy will improve things dramatically, but one thing I'd be concerned about, if I were a Steelers fan, is the age of this unit. Farrior, Harrison, Smith, Hampton, Kiesel, Clark, etc are all on the wrong side of 30. While I don't think they will fall flat on their face, I think there is a chance that their play will drop below their typical standard.

Final record: 10-6. Still a lot of talent, and I'd hate to face against this team in the playoffs, but there are some question marks and age issues. This team has had a brutal offseason, so we shall see their character.
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