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2 hours ago, wwhickok said:

Even though DeCastro is gone, I really hope they don't overpay Turner. [b] He has not been any healthier [/b] than DeCastro recently and he played horrible as well in 2020.

He would make a perfect Steeler then. Looking at his stats he's missed at least three games the past four years. Not exactly encouraging. 

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1 hour ago, MOSteelers56 said:

Does that mean he hurt himself doing something else? Could this just be a retirement?

Could be that he re-Injured himself during the off-season which is what lead to where we are…I can’t see the Steelers vindictively using the designation, so I’ve just assumed theres a clerical reason. But just assuming it leads to retirement. 

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59 minutes ago, wwhickok said:

Trai Turner was signed to a 1 year deal 

Turner has a similar career arc to Decastro. All pro talent for the first big chunk of his career, then injury troubles. The main difference is Decastro was an elite pass blocker and Trai was a run blocker. I hope he’s healthy. 

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Just now, MOSteelers56 said:

Turner has a similar career arc to Decastro. All pro talent for the first big chunk of his career, then injury troubles. The main difference is Decastro was an elite pass blocker and Trai was a run blocker. I hope he’s healthy. 

I agree. Trai makes sense given that they want to improve the running game. If he is healthy, its a decent signing depending on money. 

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The OL rebuild continues...they’ll add another top 3 round pick at it most likely next offseason.

Also with that cap room, might make sense to pay up for an OL in FA.

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11 hours ago, MOSteelers56 said:

Turner has a similar career arc to Decastro. All pro talent for the first big chunk of his career, then injury troubles. The main difference is Decastro was an elite pass blocker and Trai was a run blocker. I hope he’s healthy. 

I think that is what we are all hoping (healthy Trai).

My opinion on the departed/retired OL's and DeCastro being released: 

First, you hate to see it from a guy who was drafted to be part of the heart and valves of the OL. He is a HOF candidate like Pouncey and has been a very good teammate and Steelers. My disappointment is that the group that they assembled were not able to bring home the trophy. Honestly that probably had to do more with personalities or actions by players at the skill positions (Holmes, Wallace, AB, Bell for example, I omitted Sanders because the team chose AB over him) than the OL. But even with that, the OL began to decline and probably would have declined faster sans the years of Mike Munchak. 

I love Villy for the soldier and man that he is more so than the football player he is and OL. I honestly thought he was often over-rated in terms of play. Not saying Villy didn't develop into a good LT. Especially from where he came from and what he achieved, but I don't believe that he should be classified as very good, great or elite. Some of the pro bowls he made, I feel, was because of his high character, popularity and patriotism more than outstanding LT play. He was solid in protecting Big Ben's blindside. 

Pouncey was a leader and heart of the OL.  He was tough fiery and would punch you in the mouth. But, he also struggled in terms of getting a push in the run game. Losing Bell hurt him because Bell's strengths played well to Pouncey talents of creating a seam and shielding rather than blowing people off the ball. He was a far better pass protector than run blocker which was good for our franchise QB. It seemed like defenders started to figure out how to play Pouncey. Even with those critiques, he was always a top ten Center and one of the best pass blocking Centers in the NFL. He should have a bust in Canton one day.

DeCastro was a prototypical Steelers OL. He didn't say much and he went out and competed. Up until a few years ago, the only player that I saw who really gave DeCastro fits was the Eagles Fletcher Cox. It seemed like Fletcher Cox was wearing different colored jerseys more and more over the past few years. I don't believe that DeCastro lost it (fire/ability) or anything, but like Pouncey, the beating of playing years of NFL football and teams better preparing or scouting you. I do believe that the injury bug caught up to DeCastro and the fact that O-lineman are like fraternity brothers and losing Big Al, Foster, Pouncey, and Feiler took away some of the fire as well. DeCastro will be on the minds of many HO voters and I hope he makes it in. Objectively, I think he deserves it. 

All that said, on paper the Steelers OL looks to be much weaker.  In reality, I am not so sure. New OC, new RB, and different types/styles of OL's. Big Ben is older and really should have some support (run game and defense). I think if the Steelers knew that they were losing DeCastro earlier, they may have retained Matt Feiler.   I think Feiler would be is a solid RT. In fact, a much better RT than OG. Problem is that the Steelers have Zach Banner. Banner should be a road grader and is one OT that the Steelers have who will knock you on your butt. Problem is the concern of recovering from a knee injury. Chuks was drafted to play LT and there will be a learning curve there, but I do believe he has the potential to be decent at LT. However, that doesn't necessarily help the stability of the OL right now.  I think that we expect great things from Dotson at LG, but I wouldn't mind seeing him next to Banner on the right side. Add a Freiermuth or the swing OT as a TE and you can move some bodies on that right side. With signing Turner, I am not sure if the Steelers put him on the left or right side, but either way, the OG play with Turner and Dotson should be more consistent and better than 2019 and 2020 in terms of the run game. 

Center is the ??? Is it Green, BJ, or JC?  In my eyes, I would like to see Green at C.  I think BJ would be a great rotational piece at G or C and JC got thrown to the wolves and I am sure he is looking to prove his worth and show last year was a fluke. This reminds me of when Coach Cowhers OL had to transition to better protect Ben. One big difference is that the Steelers have more overall talent (although much is unproven). While I am sad that the Steelers OL which was once considered one of the NFL's best has changed, it may actually be better suited for what the Steelers need to do for 2021 and post Big Ben.  Center and LT will provide the biggest questions, not to mention potential depth (sans BJ Finney). 

 

 

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The oline appears to be weaker in pass protection and stronger in run blocking.  To me, this is setting it up for Ben's retirement.  when Rudolph or whomever steps in, they will have a strong running game to lean on.  Just like Ben did when he come in.  Is a strong running game needed in todays NFL?  Can't hurt but the QB needs to be able to take advantage of the play action.

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48 minutes ago, jebrick said:

Is a strong running game needed in todays NFL?

IMO there are two ways to build an offense today - Through the OC and through the QB. Going through the QB has a higher ceiling, but is harder to find. Going through the OC can be easier to maintain, but more difficult to get over the hump during crunch time. 

There's more and more teams building up front and around run games that are driven by the OC and a capable QB, not the QB and a capable OC. The Browns, Titans, Vikings, Colts, Rams, 49ers, and Saints are all teams within the top half of offenses in the league that have limited QB play - relying heavily on OC abilities and running game. Even the Ravens and the Cardinals are built on the ground with more dangerous QB rushing elements. If we wanted to get really technical about it we could even add the Packers who were tremendous on the ground and excellent with the PA play-calling through the year....they just...ya know....have (had?) Aaron Rodgers. 

Who knows who Canada is in the NFL or what this OLine becomes, but I would prefer to try to build it that way instead of relying on winning the QB lottery. Biggest problem though, is that most likely means you need to fire Tomlin. if you want consistency. That comment has nothing to do with his abilities and everything to do with if Canada has an amazing year as an OC....the dudes a college HC in 2022 and you start the cycle again. 

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52 minutes ago, AFF said:

Turners deal is 1/$3 mill...that should leave Steelers with roughly $12 mill in cap room.

We might have quite the flurry of activity. I think we’ll sign an EDGE guy and maybe Malik Hooker. I’d expect a TJ Watt extension too. If he wants to be back obviously.

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6 hours ago, jebrick said:

The oline appears to be weaker in pass protection and stronger in run blocking. 

I agree and that may not be such a bad thing.  The lack of a consistent running game has hurt over the past two years. Losing Bell (due to his style) hurt the rushing attack as well based on the type and style of OL. Reminds me of when the team started to transition from the manglers and maulers of the Cowher era to OL's who could move and pass protect.  The trend needs to reverse back to more physical people movers for now.

To me, this is setting it up for Ben's retirement.  When Rudolph or whomever steps in, they will have a strong running game to lean on. 

I agree with this point as well. I will add that I do think that it is for Ben's benefit and giving him more of a shot to win the big one (strong defense and a physical and punishing rushing attack).  This will allow Ben to play balanced football and play some ball control on offense. 

Just like Ben did when he come in. 

Yes. Same formula except Ben is a more seasoned QB and does have the ability to light some teams up with his arm and mind (experience).  This definitely helps him more than he and many others may want to admit.

Is a strong running game needed in todays NFL? 

Yes definitely. We get enamored by the forward pass and high scoring offenses, but the smash-mouth style of football helps wear teams down and win in the play-offs. A team that can use ball control, good defense and hold onto the football will generally beat the one dimensional high flying offenses in January/play-offs.

Can't hurt but the QB needs to be able to take advantage of the play action.

My hope is that this team does a 180* turn and gets back to physical smash-mouth football, but with the ability to pass when it needs to or wants to.  Easier said than done, but hopefully the new offensive philosophy of Matt Canada resurrects the Steelers offensive balance and attack.

 

5 hours ago, Dcash4 said:

IMO there are two ways to build an offense today - Through the OC and through the QB. Going through the QB has a higher ceiling, but is harder to find. Going through the OC can be easier to maintain, but more difficult to get over the hump during crunch time. 

I think in many cases that is correct, but I think that they have to mirror each other to be really successful or you get one dimensional, predictable, and the offense eventually sputters as teams adjust and scheme differently. We saw that happen to the Steelers the past three years with late season (December) collapses and inconsistent offense.

There's more and more teams building up front and around run games that are driven by the OC and a capable QB, not the QB and a capable OC. The Browns, Titans, Vikings, Colts, Rams, 49ers, and Saints are all teams within the top half of offenses in the league that have limited QB play - relying heavily on OC abilities and running game. Even the Ravens and the Cardinals are built on the ground with more dangerous QB rushing elements. If we wanted to get really technical about it we could even add the Packers who were tremendous on the ground and excellent with the PA play-calling through the year....they just...ya know....have (had?) Aaron Rodgers. 

Excellent examples and points.

Who knows who Canada is in the NFL or what this OLine becomes, but I would prefer to try to build it that way instead of relying on winning the QB lottery.

I also believe that the Steelers still think they are in a win now mode with Ben. Two big question marks, but also two that are easier to deal with if they can complement one another. The OL moving people with a talented young back and a complimentary back (hopefully McFarland) can help to open up some things on the field. 

Biggest problem though, is that most likely means you need to fire Tomlin. if you want consistency. That comment has nothing to do with his abilities and everything to do with if Canada has an amazing year as an OC....the dudes a college HC in 2022 and you start the cycle again. 

The Steelers won't fire Coach T unless he and the team completely implode. While OC Canada can and will be a hot commodity after a successful season. Coaching is a funny fraternity and depending on Canada's aspirations I could see him coming back, but $$$ is and can always lure even the best intentioned.  There could be more turnover in the coaching ranks as I think this may be Coach Butler's last run and the team may be eyeing Austin as a potential replacement.  

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