Loose Slag from the Still Mill (July 31st, �01)
- If they play and practice well, Troy Edwards and Plex Burress must start in the latter part of preseason.� Hines Ward is a nice complimentary/�third� receiver, as is Bobby Shaw.�� But the 2 most explosive, impact-oriented receivers on this team are Plex and Edwards.�� And, if they are going to provide impact, they both need to be starting with their starting QB the final 2 games of preseason if the team truly wants to upgrade from its perennially 29th-ranked passing offense.�
- Speaking of Ward and Shaw, I�d personally love to see more 3 and 4 WR sets in the �base set�.�� Why?�� For starters, it would spread the field and allow Doughboy Bettis some creases to run --- creases in which there�s less congestion for the lateral-movement-impaired Bettis to operate.�� Sure, this would require �but he�s a great blocker� Mark Breuner to sit on the pine in this formation.�� Great.�� Breuner�s �presence� in a game allows defenses to literally ignore the stiff and crash hell-bent at the RB.�� Further, it would create mismatches in the passing game where Shaw and Ward would be covered by DBs who are not starting-caliber CBs.�� Shaw literally ate up this kind of coverage last year in leading the AFC in YPC.� There�s no sense in waiting for a 3rd-and-long play to reap the benefits of Shaw�s 16 YPC average.��
- Some may recall that much of my objection with the Jon Witman signing was the mere fact that this was a player who:
a. was coming off a season-ending leg injury, and
b. has had a chronically bad back for about 4 years.�
Anyone recall how long it took Woodson to recover?�� Greg Lloyd?� Chad Scott?� Justin Strelzyk?� And a funny thing occurred last week at camp -� Witman�s back acted up.� Gee, what a stunning surprise.� And then Witman commented in the Trib Review about his leg, "I'll probably never be the way I was, but I'm a lot better than I thought I would be," he said.��� Hey, he said it, not I.�
- The same TR article had a blurb about TE Mark Breuner.�� Seems that every year, Breuner �writes a number on a piece of paper and tucks it away in a drawer. The number represents his targeted amount of receptions for that season. "I haven't reached it yet, but I have a good feeling this year," he said.�� Let me help you out, Mark: �19�.
- There�s been some occasional chatter about Clark Haggans.�� My take, based on what I saw last year?�� I was impressed with his instincts and nose for the football.�� I�m eager to see how he looks this year, but, again, I saw some nice things about the guy during preseason last year.� I�m not as worried about his �forty� time as I am his ability to stuff the run at the point of attack; sniff/string out sweeps; and harass (note I said �harass�, not �sack�) the QB.��
- Some have emailed me, asking me my thoughts about the DW and Chad Scott extensions.� I was actually in the midst of moving when the extensions took place, so that precluded me from writing an article.�� I�m pleased that both men are locked up.�� Having said that, I�d like to see Chad Scott step it up and be a bit more aggressive this year.� Note that I didn�t say �foolish� or �riverboat gambler�, but simply more aggressive.�� Chad has been notorious �- perhaps due to a gimpy knee �- of going thru stretches where he gives up 12-14 yard cushions.�� The size of his new contract dictates that he needs to use that size and athleticism of his, and minimize those fatty cushions.�� The one remaining man who MUST be extended is none other than Earl Holmes.� It�s a shame that it hasn�t been done already, although Colbert was productive in dealing with DW/Chad, and there are 5 weeks left to get this task done.�� I�m expecting Holmes to have a monster season, and if allowed to enter the UFA market, he�ll be lavished with some healthy offers.��
- While it�s nice that Rooney has finally allowed the moths to escape from that airtight wallet of his, I still maintain that this could have, and should have, occurred 2 years ago.�� Every business in the world makes capital investments based on projected future revenues.�� Once that football stadium was approved for state funding and architectural drawings completed, Rooney had a minimum guaranteed revenue stream starting in �01, based on PSLs, naming rights, increased number of season tickets, and luxury boxes.�� There�s not a single valid reason on earth why Rooney couldn�t have made capital investments (read: FA signings, extensions, etc.) starting 2 years ago, other than myopic, stubborn stinginess.� Why do firms build new plants, such as BMW�s building of a plant in Spartansburg, SC?� Because they expect more revenues to stream in once the plant is built.�� They borrow now to earn more revenues later.�� Every firm, every government, and every individual in the country operates this way.�� (Why do people spend thousands of dollars attending college full-time, when they could be working & earning money instead?�� Answer:� to invest in themselves, so that, 4 years later, they�ll presumably be making more money than if they�d never gone to college.)�
- Here�s what I think must be done with this convoluted mess at backup QB.� Cut Graham now, and give more work to Martin and Maddox, both of who clearly need all the reps they can get.�� If Stewart breaks a collarbone or tears up a knee, simply re-sign Graham at the veteran minimum.� After all, once Graham is cut, do you really think any other NFL team is going to rush out and sign the guy??
- I�m surprised that no one has been able to come up with a slower, more pass catching/RAC deficient trio that Bettis, Witman/Kreider, and Breuner.�� C�mon guys...there has to be some other trio that can claim this dubious honor...right?