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Welcome to SteezBros! SteezBros is a Steeler Blog run by three brothers who are all huge Steeler fans. If the true definition of fan is fanatic, we fit the bill. We were born into Steeler fandom. Love of the Steelers goes back many generations in our family. It's in our blood. You can read our "Welcome to SteezBros" post in the archive if you are interested in more information about us and the blog. Thanks for reading and check back often!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It Starts at the Top

While front office staff members from New England and Baltimore become general managers around the league, all is quiet at the Steelers front office. The Steelers have been one of the most consistent and successful teams, but other teams have not shown much interest in stealing staff members from Pittsburgh's Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert. But, don't mistake lack of interest as a lack of talent. Colbert has made some great moves that have enabled this team to make it back to the Super Bowl. Maybe if the team brings him its sixth Lombardi Trophy, I'll even forgive him for the Sean Mahan fiasco. Despite losing key players and a Hall of Fame coach, the Steelers front office did an incredible job re-signing core players and filling in the gaps via the draft and free agency.

Here is a timeline of significant off season moves since Super Bowl XL:

February 6, 2006: Steelers win Super Bowl

Free Agent Departures
Chris Hope - Hope played a major role at free safety and allowed Troy Polamalu to play to his strengths, mainly roaming around all over the field causing havoc. Hope signed a $30 million deal with the Titans. He was a pro bowler in 2008.

Antwaan Randle El - Randle El was the #2 wide receiver behind Hines Ward and was a stellar kick and punt returner. Pittsburgh wanted to keep him, but couldn't outbid Daniel Snyder and the Washington Redskins's $31 million offer.

Kimo Von Oelhoffen - He was a solid starter at right end and played a major role in the Steelers playoff run by tearing Carson Palmer's ACL

Free agent signings
Ryan Clark - The Steelers never shake things up in the offseason, but seem to find serviceable players at discount prices. The Steelers signed Clark for $7 million for four years. At the time, Clark seemed to be a good stop gap until the Steelers could find a young safety (See Smith, Anthony) to pair with Polamalu. Clark has turned into the perfect Steelers free safety. He almost never gets beat deep and makes receivers pay for going over the middle. Hands down, the best free agent signing (from outside the team) for the Steelers since James Farrior. Clark is paid less than $2 million per year. What a deal!

James Harrison - When the Steelers gave Silverback a four year, $5.5 million contract in the off season, it was to ensure linebacker depth and retain a good special teams player. Little did any of us know that he would turn into the best linebacker in the league. Well, maybe someone knew. Harrison's agent said this at the time "He won't start this year, I don't imagine. But if anything happens to Joey (Porter) or one of those guys, he's going to be the man. He'll be the next great linebacker in Pittsburgh. That's what we're hoping for."

Willie Parker - Following Parker's 75 yard TD run in the Super Bowl, the team signed him to a four-year $13.6 million contract. Parker turned into the full time starter and a pro bowl runner. Not bad for $3.5 million per year.

Brett Keisel - Keisel played well in the playoffs and proved to the team that he could more than handle Oelhoffen's duties. Keisel signed a four year, $13.1 million deal. A nice bargain for the player that Keisel has become.

Santonio Holmes - The Steelers traded up to the #25 spot to get Holmes and were criticized for giving up draft picks. No receivers were chosen up until that point and many experts thought that Chad Jackson, a WR from Florida who was rated equally with Holmes, would be available. Jackson is now out of the league and Holmes is one of the key reasons Pittsburgh's in its 7th Super Bowl.

Anthony Smith - The third round pick was thought to be the future at free safety after flashing some major skills in the preseason. Currently, he has been inactive for the Steelers playoff run. But, he's still on the roster and has played well on special teams.

Willie Colon - He was picked in the fourth round and currently starts at right tackle. He's one of the worst right tackles in the league, but he is the starter in a Super Bowl.

June 12, 2006 - Ben Roethlisberger gets in motorcycle accident.

2006 Season: Steelers finish a disappointing 8-8. Miss the playoffs.

Free Agent Departures/Retirements
Bill Cowher - The beloved coach of the Steelers decides to take a break. After 14 successful seasons and a Super Bowl XL ring, he earned it.

Jeff Hartings - The pro bowl center retired and our O-line hasn't been the same since.

Joey Porter - The Steelers defensive and motivational leader left Pittsburgh for Miami when the Steelers refused to make an offer in his price range. It looked like a dangerous move at the time. The Steelers only had an unproven back up ready to take his place. Luckily, his name was James Harrison.

Sean Morey - He was the only stand out on a terrible special teams unit. He decided to seek warmer weather and now plays for the Arizona Cardinals.

Free Agent Signings
Mike Tomlin - Most of Steeler nation, including Alan Faneca, was hoping for Ken Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm to get the job. Instead it went to a relatively unknown defensive coordinator in Minnesota. Tomlin has done things his way from the start and has already won over the city of Pittsburgh. This hiring more than makes up for several bad free agent signings this off season.

Aaron Smith - He's the keystone of the Steelers defense, but rarely gets recognized. The Steelers went against their normal MO for this signing, because Smith was already 31 years old. Nonetheless, signing Smith to a four-year deal worht $25 million was one of the best moves this team could make.

Troy Polamalu - He's one of a kind and there was no way that Pittsburgh would let him leave. Troy is the best strong safety in the league and allows Dick LeBeau to create schemes that other coordinators couldn't dream of. At five year for $33 million, I'd say it's a steal.

Sean Mahan - Let's not discuss this.

Kendall Simmons - It seemed ridiculous to give Simmons a deal worth $6 million per year, especially when the team refused to sign Faneca for $7 million per year. This was a bad offseason for free agent signings. Simmons is a terrible right guard and the offensive line has been better with Darnell Stapleton starting.

Darnell Stapleton - He was an undrafted center from Rutgers, but he stepped in as the starting right guard when Kendall Simmons went down. He is far from superstar, but he's done an admirable job for a guy that had no experience prior to this year.


Lawrence Timmons - With an aging group of linebackers, Colbert and Tomlin decided to draft a playmaking linebacker from Florida St. It was an interesting pick, because most viewed Timmons as a raw talent. He played very little in his rookie year, but has progressed nicely. Even though Timmons doesn't start, he has given the defense speed, coverage, and explosiveness in the nickel and dime package.

LaMarr Woodley - Another linebacker. This team needs offensive lineman! But wait, Woodley has turned into a superstar at LOLB and was a huge upgrade from Clark Haggans. Woodley was a steal in the second round and, in 2008, combined with Harrison to become the top Steelers sack duo of all time.

Matt Spaeth - The decision to draft a tight end in the third round was not well received, but Speath has done a nice job as the #2 tight end and played well when Heath Miller was hurt. He has nice hands, but is an average blocker and gets tackled easier than Shaun Alexander.

Dan Sepulveda - The team traded up to draft Sepulvada, finally realizing that special teams are an important part of the game. Steelers nation was pumped when they found out that their punter hits like a linebacker. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in preseason and the team has been forced to survive with the pu-pu platter of Mitch Berger and Paul Ernster.

William Gay - This was a great draft for the Steelers as their top 5 picks have all contributed to this team. William Gay has played very well in the nickel and dime defenses. The defense continued to play at a high level this season when Gay was forced into the starting line up because of injuries to Townsend and McFadden.

2007 Season: The Steelers start out hot and win the AFC North. They finish slow and lose a home playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Free Agent Departures

Alan Faneca - He's one of the best offensive lineman to ever play for the Steelers, but he was nearing 30 and his price tag was too high. The offensive line continues to decline.

Sean Mahan - The Mahan experiment failed. He was traded for a 7th round pick and a case of Iron City.

Free Agent Signings
Big Ben - After getting to the AFC Championship in his rookie year and winning the Super Bowl in his second year, Big Ben got the $100 million contract he earned. If he can win on Sunday, he'll be well on his way to Canton.

James Farrior - The unsung hero of the Steelers defense got a contract extension in the off season. His leadership and guidance has been invaluable for young linebackers such as Woodley and Timmons, and inexperienced linebackers such as James Harrison.

Max Starks - Designating a back up tackle as your transition player and paying him $7 million to ride the bench seemed foolish. However, with the injury history of Marvel Smith, this move turned out to be quite prescient. Starks doesn't deserve $7 million per year, but he has played well at left tackle. Without him, I don't think the Steelers would be in the Super Bowl. Therefore, I'm happy to say it was money well spent.

Mewelde Moore - This was a classic Steelers free agent signing. Moore wasn't a marquee name. It didn't make any headlines. But it drastically improved this team. With the injuries to Parker and Mendenhall, Moore stepped in and played extremely well. The offense was forced to shift to a quicker passing attack and Moore's receiving skills have given Ben a reliable check down option. The Steelers probably won two extra games this season because of Moore's play.

Keyaron Fox, Patrick Bailey - Both have contributed to vastly improved special teams coverage.


Rashard Mendenhall - He was hurt early, so the verdict is stil out.

Limas Sweed - Poised to break out in the Super Bowl.

2008 Season - Advanced to Super Bowl, result TBD

Since Super Bowl XL, the Steelers lost a Hall of Fame coach, their best linebacker (Joey Porter), best lineman (Alan Faneca), a pro bowl safety (Chris Hope), best returner (Randle El), a pro bowl center (Hartings), and their best special teamer (Sean Morey). Nonethelss, the 2008 Steelers are in the Super Bowl.

The moves in 2006 were spectacular (Harrison, Clark, Parker, Holmes, and Keisel) and the draft in 2007 landed a stud (Woodley), a potential stud (Timmons), and three contributors (Spaeth, Sepulveda, and Gay). Not to mention the signing of Mike Tomlin. In 2008, the team re-signed Max Starks and signed Mewelde Moore.

Well done, Kevin. Well done.

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