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I don't like the way this sounds. How about they start the best 5.
June 4, 2008
For Sporting News
PERSONNEL ANALYSIS: Even though coach Mike Tomlin said right tackle Willie Colon will get a look at guard, it is not in the plans for Colon to be moved to that position. That means he and Max Starks, who was signed to a $7 million tender as a transition player, will battle again for the starting spot on the right side.
Colon won the battle last year in training camp, mainly because the coaches were upset that Starks reported to camp overweight and then played sloppy in the preseason. Starks, though, redeemed himself late in the season when he played very well at right tackle when Colon was injured and left tackle when Marvel Smith was injured. It seems unlikely the team spent that much money on Starks in the offseason to have him sit on the bench again. . . .
Don't look for rookie outside linebacker Bruce Davis, the team's third-round choice, to play much this year, despite the team's assertion that he could see time in pass-rush situations. Davis, a converted defensive end, is the type of player with which the Steelers have had success in the 3-4 defense. He is rangy, quick and athletic and can get pressure on the quarterback. But the team won't take out Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison or even LaMarr Woodley, last year's No. 2 pick, in pass-rush situations. Even Woodley, who did a good job applying pressure, played sparingly as a rookie in the regular season.
SCOUTING REPORT: There are no concerns about Smith's recovery from back surgery, which forced him to miss the last two games of the season. Smith could have played in the postseason if the team advanced to the AFC title game. Smith has become even more valuable to the offensive line with the loss of Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca. Smith is a solid pass-blocker who uses his athleticism to get into proper position, but he also has developed into a good run-blocker because he quick enough to get to the second level and handle linebackers.
DEFENSIVE ENDS ANALYSIS: The starters -- Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel -- are more than solid. Smith, in particular, is one of the most underrated ends in the league, a two-gap player who is strong against the run and tough to get off his feet. Keisel, though, needs to finish more plays and provide more sacks. The problem: The depth is meager. Travis Kirschke will be 34 and has been bothered with chronic back problems. Nick Eason has problems against the run. Grade: C-plus. Pro Bowl-caliber players: Smith.
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