Recent Posts (Page 1187)

  • Number #8 on the List of All-Time Best Players of the Cowher Era

    For 15 Days we will be counting down the Top 15 Greatest Steelers of the Bill Cowher Era. The list will have both offensive and defensive players, and in doing the list no kickers or punters were selected. Below is our number choice of the day building towards the number one Steeler of the Cowher Era.

    Number #8

    Alan Faneca OL 1998-Present:

    Alan Faneca

    Despite the issues he know faces as he claims this will be his final season in a Steelers uniform, there is no question that one of the best offensive lineman in the last decade of the Pittsburgh Steelers is Alan Faneca. The New Orleans native has had a splendid career in Pittsburgh, and is in at number 8 on our Top 15 of the Cowher Era.

    At 6-foot-5, 307 pounds, Faneca is the best offensive linemen that you’ve never heard of outside of Pittsburgh. It took a few years for the rest of the NFL to notice, but nowadays, Faneca is by far known as one of the best guards in the National Football League. Better at run blocking than protecting Big Ben, there have been plenty of plays over the years where a running back will take off becuase of a Faneca block that springs him free.

    Faneca’s shining moment as a Steeler came two years ago, as he was the key block on Willie Parker’s key 75-yard run that was one of the big moments in Super Bowl XL. The highlights on Super Bowl XL time after time show the block that Faneca put on that sprung Parker free. If it were not for that block, Parker may have been stopped for 3-4 yards. Instead, 75 yards later he was in the end zone that gave the Steelers a 14-3 lead.

    The Steelers chose Alan in the first round, 26th overall in the 1998 Draft out of LSU. After redshirting in 1994 at LSU, he caught on quickly in college as he was voted the South East Conference freshman of the year by Knoxville News Sentinel in 1995. In 1996 he was chosen for the All-American 2nd team, and in 97 he was a first team All-American. He started his last thirty six games at LSU and only allowed one sack in his last season.

    Upon entering the NFL, he started his first year behind guards Will Wolford and Jim Sweeney, but injuries pushed him into the lineup that season, and he quickly showed why he was worth the 26th overall pick. That season he earned himself the Joe Greene Award as the teams top rookie and he had attained All-Rookie honors. The next year, he was a starter, and then in 2000 he really began to shine, as he helped the Steelers reach fourth in rushing. In 2001 he was also a big part of the Steelers re-birth as they reached the AFC Title game in their first year in Hinez Field.

    In 2002 he reached the Pro-Bowl for the first of many times, and then in 03 he showed his versatility by going from left guard to left tackle due to injuries on the team. Alan has gained All-Pro honors in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006, as well as a 2nd team bid in 2003, despite playing Tackle the majority of that season and has been to the Pro-Bowl six times while starting in five.

    Much has been said about the battle that Faneca is having with the Steelers off the field right now, but there is no question that on it, he is one of the best offensive linemen the Steelers have ever had, and he is by far the best guard the team had in the Bill Cowher era.

    Tomorrow: Number #7

     
  • Steelers 2006 Regular Season NFL Run/Pass Ratio and 07 Outlook

    NFLGridironGab.com has an article breaking down the 2006 Regular Season NFL Run/Pass Ratio Significance, and what the Steelers look like for 2007 in their eyes:

    Pittsburgh 53% Pass to 47% Run

    2006: Pittsburgh shockingly turned from their smash mouth ways of running the football 35 times a game, to passing more often with QB Ben Roethlisberger last season. Even though RB Willie Parker had a tremendous, eye-opening year, rushing for close to 1,500 yards on the ground behind Guard Alan Faneca and friends. The Steelers threw 23 interceptions and got sacked a total of 49 times.

    2007: Expect Pittsburgh to come back down to earth and run the ball 55-60% of the time. “Fast Willie” Parker is too good like a Rolls Royce, to park in the garage on a hot, summer day. You have to use more of Parker and let him run by defenses for long gains. I also see that Roethlisberger will rebound with 25 touchdowns to 15 picks.

    Click here to read the entire article on all 16 AFC Teams

     
  • Steelers Release Three Rookie Free Agents

    The Steelers made some minor moves on Thursday as they begin the process of tweaking their roster for training camp which starts on July 23rd in Latrobe. The team released three rookie free agents, Wide receiver Eric Deslauriers, running back Paul Mosley and fullback Aaron Robbins. Deslauriers was signed by the Steelers as a rookie free agent out of Eastern Michigan, Mosley out of Baylor and Robbins from Wyoming.

     
  • Polamalu looking to sign, but when?

    Here’s a two-part question for you: How much do we really know about veteran agent Marvin Demoff, the agent of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu? Considering his track record, how much do we want to know? Certainly enough to know that anything is possible with Demoff – ranging from a speedy contract resolution between Polamalu and the Steelers, to a prolonged contract stalemate, and all the possibilites in between. In other words, expect the unexpected.

    Demoff is what you’d consider an old-school negotiator based in Los Angeles who has a history with the Steelers, although not necessarily a great one. He represented Rod Woodson when he was drafted in the first-round back in 1987. Woodson held out, missed his first NFL training camp and didn’t sign until October. Now on the other hand, Polamalu, the Steelers’ first-round pick in 2003, didn’t hold out, signed in July and participated in his first NFL training camp. Demoff, depending on the client in question and the client’s needs, can be either accomodating or stiff.

    Polamalu’s original contract ends following the 2007 season. The Steelers really don’t have to do a thing. They can permit him to play out his deal and then slap a franchise tag on him for the next two seasons if he doesn’t agree to their terms. Not exactly a nice way of conducting business with one of the Steelers’ best and most popular players, yet the price that one sometimes must pay to do business. Especially with a smaller-market team such as the Steelers.

    Demoff is attempting to hammer out a deal for Polamalu this offseason since the Steelers typically do not negotiate deals during the regular season. Keep in mind that Polamalu has a year left on his current contract, so basically what happens between right now and WEEK 1 vs. Cleveland may be revealing. Not signing Polamalu this offseason doesn’t mean a new deal won’t get done. But at the same time it could possibly send the wrong message to players and fans.

    Considering that linebacker Joey Porter was released after not securing the contract he wanted, and given that unhappy Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca has already promised to leave when his contract runs out after next season, the Steelers need to re-sign Polamalu as a sign of good faith, if anything else. So far, Polamalu is adopting a low-key, goodwill approach in negotiations. That could change if Demoff, who’s already shown the Steelers that he can drive a hard bargain, is unable to secure Ed Reed type of money for Polamalu. So the $64,000 question is this: Which Demoff do we get this year – the Woodson or the Polamalu version? Only time will tell.

     
  • Polamalu Extension a Must For the Steelers

    With the current state that the Steelers are in with a new coach, a new playbook on offense, and a division with two other teams that have continue to give the black and gold fits, there is one thing the Steelers need to do now to set their course in the right direction. Give Troy Polamalu an extension. If the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to succeed in the hostile AFC North with the pesky Bengals and brash Ravens, there is no question they cannot afford to let their best defensive player reach free agency at the end of 2007.

    Sure they could start the game of placing the franchise tag on Troy, and that would be fine, as it would basically force him to stay in Pittsburgh. But why the team would want to even play around with such a notion would be beyond me. The key to a defense that has already lost Joey Porter and last season was not as good as in years past is a safety in Polamalu that can make plays all over the field.

    Early indications is that the Steelers are going to run all kinds of different looks on defense in 2007, with multiple players playing the “roaming” role that Troy has played so well in that past. That is fine. In allowing Troy the option to roam or to play his safety spot, he becomes that much more of value to the Steelers. Don’t also forget at that point he can become a teacher to those players that are trying to learn the role. Let’s face it, how distracting is it to an opposing QB to see Polamalu race up to the line the moment before the snap of the ball, surely to cause havoc.

    The team has already released emotional defensive leader Joey Porter, and frankly, that is okay. Sure it would be great to have Porter around, but let’s be real, he was not as disruptive last season as in year’s past, and a recent CBS Sportsline column labeled him “The most overrated player in the game.” While I would not push it that far, I do think that even at 30 years old, Porter maybe is losing a step, and has seen better days. Then there is the firestorm over the whole Alan Faneca situation. The offensive linemen wanted a new deal, the Steelers didn’t give him one, so now he is going on record stating that 2007 will be his last year in Pittsburgh. Once again, those things will happen. Would love to have Faneca back in 2008, but if not, life will go on.

    As for Polamalu, replacing a player that is as dedicated, loyal, and as good as Troy is not going to be easy. He is without a doubt the best player on defense, and for a team that plans on running as many formations as the Steelers, his extension is a must. It won’t be cheap for the Steelers, but the alternatives are a bit scary with Polamalu in a different uniform.

     
 
 
 
 

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