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Loose Slag from the Still Mill (July 31st, 01)

July 31, 2001 by Still Mill


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?


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