My Two Cents.

imageFinally, some real Steeler news with the advent of the free agent signing period. The worst part of the silly season is over, at least until the draft is over . . . .

My favorite signing so far is the three year contract for “Big Play” Willie Gay. Aside from being the team’s most consistent cornerback, he is as mentally tough as any player on the roster.

Once the favorite whipping boy of more critical fans. Gay not only survived the torrent of catcalls for his ouster, he has improved to the point where keeping him was critical to the continued improvement of the secondary. Ike Taylor might have had a lot to do with Willie’s mental toughness. . . .

The signing of Ramon Foster is a relief. With Foster and Beachum potential free agents and Mike Adams missing all last season with and injury, we needed a signing to stabilize the offensive line. We now will have the same offensive line we played with most of last year.

Foster has come a long way since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He went from being an injury replacement for Chris Keomatu to beating him out and making him expendable. He is now a solid, if unspectacular, mainstay at left guard, an a leader in the locker room. . . .

I’m praying hard for Martavis Bryant. Word is that his current violations are missed drug tests rather than failed ones. Bryant’s agent claims he is battling depression. I wish him nothing but the best in defeating his depression, a strong and crippling foe. At this point, my concern is for his personal well being. He needs to get better before he can concentrate on his career. . . .

Reportedly, the Steelers have made an offer to LT Russell Okung, and are meeting with other offensive tackles. The front office appears serious about adding an experienced OL to protect Big Ben. I’m on board with that.  Ben is irreplaceable; money for his protection well spent.  The Steelers wisely see the next few seasons as prime opportunities to make a Super Bowl run. I have concerns about Okung’s health and even more about his price tag, but the Rooneys know better than me.   Making Ben’s protection a top priority could pay off big. . . .

I wasn’t as thrilled as many with re-signing of Darrius Heyward-Bey. While his special teams play was great, he still had too many drops.  My ambivilence evaporated with the news of the possible suspension of Martavis Bryant. . . .

The signings of Robert Golden and Roosevelt Nix made me happy. Both made great strides last year. Don’t you just love it when undrafted free agents succeed? The tradition continues — Donnie Shell. Willie Parker. James Harrison. Ramon Foster. . . .

Nobody can replace Heath Miller, but I’m excited about Ladarius “Pee Wee”Green (love that nickname). A 6’6”, 240 LB. tight end who runs a 4.5 forty makes nice new toy for Benny’s toy box. . . .

I’d love to see the Steelers keep Sean Spence, Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Boykin.  I’m not holding my breath, but these guys can play.

4 comments

  • I am afraid Spence is gone. He has the talent to start for several teams in the league.

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  • Toronto Steeler Fan

    I find the lack of reported visits by/interest in FA defensive linemen interesting. McLendon is out there interviewing with other teams, and so it seems that he and the Steelers are not close on financial terms, but other than the DL from Detroit who was in town recently, there have been no other DL FA names linked to the Steelers (unlike the parade of OTs that have come through town).

    It leads me to suspect that they view the current backups on the roster (Walton, McCullers and Robert Geathers) as more capable than most of us out here do, and that they probably expect to draft a high-level prospect early to round out the rotation. It may also mean that they view McLendon as less valuable and more expendable going forward than most of us out here do.

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    • cold_old_steelers_fan

      There is a lot of coverage in Winnipeg about the 20 NFL scouts who descended on Winnipeg to see a 5 tech D-lineman from the University of Manitoba Bisons. One of the scouts was from the Steelers so they may be looking for people in the draft to fill the gap. If they are sending people to Winnipeg to look for d-linemen then they are beating all the bushes to get the personnel they need. It is hard to get further off the beaten track without leaving North America.

      Here is a link to the news item. http://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/bisons-football-player-catches-eye-of-nfl-scouts-1.2816328

      At the end of the video clip is a list of the kid’s numbers. Apparently he is top 5 in several categories but he is extremely raw. Vaughn Martin raw (Chargers picked him up in 4th a few years ago but didn’t manage to coach him up).

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  • Signing your own guys has one big advantage over free agents. You know exactly what they can do, and you can plug them in right away. All of the guys who have been signed have shown they can contribute.

    As far as Bryant is concerned, the organization is showing very tough love. This is, in some ways, similar to what they did with Ben after Nevada and Georgia. They went along with (or even helped orchestrate) the suspension, and said get your life together or you are gone. Then they provided all the help they could. With all that help, with the love of a good woman, and with spiritual direction, Ben turned his life around. That story ended with Ben becoming a team leader both on and off the field.

    In this case, it’s even tougher because we’re dealing with substance abuse/addiction and probably mental health issues (depression). The Steelers have been incredibly supportive of Bryant. Ben called him EVERY DAY while he was in rehab, and the team made sure his Mom came to Pittsburgh to live across the street from him during the season. The Steelers have wrapped their arms around Martavis Bryant, and yet he was still unable to follow the NFL drug testing protocol.

    The fact that the Steelers haven’t cut him indicates that they are willing to give him one last chance. And the fact that they are not fighting the year-long suspension means they are not going to try to rush him back. He needs to get well, and that’s going to take time. But the team can only do so much.

    If Martavis Bryant cannot take advantage of this year away from the game to get well and be able to conform to the NFL’s substance abuse protocol, then the team will move on without him. It is as plain as that. We hope and pray for a happy ending, but we all know that this is the last chance. We’re on your side, Martavis, but it’s all up to you, big guy.

    Liked by 1 person

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