Monday, January 21, 2013

What's Next

Get ready for two weeks of intense media frenzy over the Harbaugh Bros. and RAY LEWIS, RAY LEWIS, RlAY LEWIS, Joe Flacco, Colin Kaepernick, Ray Rice, Harbaugh Bros., Harbaugh Bros., and RAY LEWIS, RAY LEWIS, RAY LEWIS.

Tune out the noise of the next two weeks, and tune in for the game.

Wethinks San Francisco presents matchup problems on offense for Baltimore.  The Ravens have been susceptible to the run all season, and the 49ers can run the ball, have the talent to run the ball and aren't afraid to commit to running the ball , primarily with Frank Gore, but also with designed runs for the exceptional Colin Kaepernick.  The Ravens will have a tough time preparing for Kaepernick (duh).  And the Niners' offensive line, with Joe Staley and Mike Iupati leading the way, is the kind of mauling, mobile physical force the Steelers should have built.

On the other side, Joe Flacco throws probably the best deep ball n the game, and the Ravens do have the threat of Ray Rice.  On defense, however, even though the Ravens played well yesterday, they aren't a dominant squad.  Again, their run defense can be had, and to be fair to Tom Brady, New England's receivers on Sunday had at least six drops, including three by Wes Welker.

Here we go, Steelers ... 
As for the Steelers, it's time to get serious about the Senior Bowl, free agency, the salary cap and the NFL Draft in April.  It's a bit too early to project moves, but the Steelers have so many holes, they should just take the best player available in the draft, which is usually a good approach in any case.

The Steelers will have to shed salaries to consider moves in free agency, but they may be able to lure a restricted free agent such as New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory, who entered the league four years ago as an undrafted free agent -- which means he wouldn't cost a draft choice.  The Saints would be able to match any offer Ivory would receive, though, so there are no guarantees.

The Steelers will let Rashard Mendenhall depart via unrestricted free agency, and we wouldn't match any offer that Jonathan Dwyer might receive in restricted free agency. We'd try to keep Isaac Redman, also a restricted free agent, but he may get an offer the Steelers won't choose to match.

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls believe in building a team from the inside out, which brings us to the NFL Draft.

If available, Alabama guard Chance Warmack (6'2", 322) would merit consideration at Pick No. 17.  He ate up Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in the BCS Championship game, and the Steelers could plug him in at left guard to solidify the middle of the offensive line with center Maurkice Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro.  Re-sign Max Starks to play left tackle, and let Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert battle it out at right tackle.  Kelvin Beachum would be available for position versatility at guard and tackle. Re-sign Doug Legursky as a backup at center and guard.

With the pending departure of cornerback Keenan Lewis, the Steelers might also consider Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes (6'1", 217) in the first round.

If they are looking to beef up the defensive line, the Steelers might consider Alabama DL Jesse Lewis (6'3", 320) who appears to fit the mold of a Steeler d-lineman.  The Steelers need playmakers, however, and the team has so many holes ...

It's early, but it's later than you might think.

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