Monday, February 12, 2007

John Clayton's Mini-Preview

With a column titled "Never to Early to Look Ahead to 2007 Season," John Clayton once again shows why he's one of our favorite football writers. For Steelers fans here's his brief take on what lies ahead for our favorite team (emphasis added)

"New head coach Mike Tomlin needs to maintain what Bill Cowher built for years. The job won't be all that easy. He kept Dick LeBeau around to help with the 3-4 defense, but Tomlin may try to turn the Steelers into a hybrid 3-4 and 4-3, with the 3-4 being the base. Bruce Arians takes over as offensive coordinator. He wants to spread the field with four receivers, something Ben Roethlisberger likes, although Roethlisberger first has to buy into the change from Ken Whisenhunt to Arians. He also has to adjust to Ken Anderson as the quarterbacks coach. The Steelers need to find a big back to complement Willie Parker. T.J. Duckett could be that back at the right price. The Steelers have a tough assignment in replacing center Jeff Hartings, who retired. Tomlin also has to decide whether he likes vocal Joey Porter at outside linebacker. Cowher left Tomlin a playoff-caliber team. The Steelers have nine free agents who are all backups. It's up to Tomlin to get Pittsburgh back into the playoffs."

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