Thursday, July 31, 2008

Move Along Everybody, Nothing to See Here

"“We’re pretty well set . . . [w]e’ll see what happens with the center thing once we get into the preseason games. But I’d have to say we’re pretty well set.”

So says Steelers offensive line coach Larry Zierlein in recent comments to the press. The comment raises a number of questions:
  • Why in the world did the Steelers utilize the transition tag on Max Starks? : We acknowledge that this is a question that was asked by quite a few much earlier, but we are also naive enough to believe that Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin, et al are skilled and intelligent enough to make sound personnel moves. If the "battle" between Willie Colon and Max Starks has been decided after a few days then perhaps are faith is a bit misplaced.

  • Chris Kemoeatu wins the starting left guard position from the PUP list? : Who knew that replacing Alan Faneca would be so easy? What's interesting is that, as we write this, according to the Steelers' official roster there is no left guard. Just an oversight we're sure.

  • Is Larry Zierlein the right offensive line coach for the Steelers? : This item from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in which Max Starks and Willie Colon state explicitly that Alan Faneca, not Coach Zierlein, was the man in charge last season makes us wonder if Mr. Zierlein has the emotional makeup to lead his group of players.

  • What exactly is the point of training camp? : We understand that the NFL is a year-round endeavor and that organized team activities (OTAs) throughout the offseason help inform personnel decisions. But -- and again our naivetee may be showing through -- we have lived under the delusion that training camp is where players actually earned the right to be a starter in the NFL. Additionally, under Bill Cowher, training camp was often a place to create a sense of competition and urgency that was designed to build momentum going into the regular season -- something that we also endorsed. A statement like the one from Coach Zierlein leaves us with nothing except questions and concerns.

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