Steelers Tried to Add Another Safety

By Ed Bouchette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 7 years ago

Good morning,

The Steelers lost out on one player, maybe two who might have helped their secondary Wednesday. They reportedly put in a claim for safety D.J. Swearinger, a 2013 second-round draft choice waived by Houston. So did seven other teams and Tampa Bay, highest on the waiver pecking list, was awarded Swearinger.

Then, the Baltimore Ravens signed veteran cornerback Kyle Arrington, 28, surprisingly released by New England. Arrington was to earn a $3 million salary with the Patriots, who reportedly wanted to lower it. Instead, a team that is weak at the position lost one who had played six years. Maybe the Steelers had no interest or felt he was not worth the price, I’m not sure. But their chief competitors did and landed him. Arrington, who comes from the Baltimore area, signed a three-year deal.

Onto some Ask Ed questions:

--- YOU: I can't believe how defiant the Patriots are being. I can't believe any of this really....And now there is talk that Brady is going to take this to Federal Court? Hopefully Kessler makes him aware that once he does that, Attorneys for the NFL will subpoena his phone / text / email records.... Do you actually believe he would go to that length just so that he can prolong his punishment? Would he not be handing over his guilt on a silver platter? What are your thoughts on this? I'm stunned by all this.... He should take his medicine and go home.

ED: It sounds like bluster to me. It’s how people sometimes react to the initial shock of being punished or hearing bad news – “I’ll appeal, I’ll get them, I won’t stop fighting until I get justice,” etc., etc. The threats also could be a lame attempt by them to scare the NFL into reducing the punishment on appeal. I would expect neither Tom Brady nor the team to take this to court. If anyone could have taken the league to court, it was Ben Roethlisberger, who was never charged with a crime, only admonished publicly by a Georgia prosecutor. Roethlisberger, though, was initially suspended for six games by Roger Goodell and told if he followed a series of events laid out by the commissioner that included therapy sessions, that he might reduce the suspension. Roethlisberger followed the instructions and the suspension was reduced to four games.

--- YOU: I was reading about the new Titans QB, Marcus Mariota, and how Dick Lebeau said he was going to put some pressure on him. How much of an impact do you think the defense has on its own teams offensive development? I know it comes down to having the talent on offense but if you have that and get to hone it against a top notch defense led by a genius coordinator I would think that would be a major advantage in the developmental process. Was that a small part of what helped Ben become so good? I would think it would also make it much easier for a team to vet the talent they have as well.

ED: First, you must understand that there are no live practices with all-out blocking and tackling other than the occasional goalline drills they run once or twice during training camp, which usually consist of six or seven plays. Some practices in camp do get intense and maybe they could design some things to try to put pressure on the quarterback with blitzes, etc., so he would at least see what that can be like. But none of it will be real-life; Mariota won’t experience that until he plays in the preseason and maybe not even then as teams hold back many of their blitzes and pass-rush schemes. Plus, Dick LeBeau needs to concentrate on rebuilding his new Tennessee defense, which ranked 27th in the NFL in yards allowed last season, and tied for the third-most points allowed.

--- YOU: I know that the Steelers tend to keep higher profile veterans that they resign. Given the number of OLB's currently on the roster, what are the chances that, say, Shawn Lemon shows that he can be an NFL player? Would they consider releasing James Harrison? A 26 year old in his prime or a stopgap insurance policy that is on a snap count limit and might have one season left? I have loved watching James play and hate to think of him being done but I have to believe that given the choice between the the two players the team should look to the future.

ED: It would be rare for the Steelers to invite one of their great players back and then release him. Harrison, whose one-year contract expired, had another option or two and chose to return to the Steelers. They do have other choices and will always make room for someone if he shows he can help them. Lemon will get that chance, as will others.

--- YOU: A couple summers ago former Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham was a neighbor, why he was in Frisco, Tx I have no idea... When I talked to him a couple times he was very friendly and articulate, though he did articulate "We hate you guys" when I told him I was a member of Steelers Nation. He did mention how in awe most of the team was of James Harrison's weight room work when I asked him to give James a shout out from a Texas fan. What are the chances that the Steelers bring in the former first rounder? I know he had back surgery and is healing. Is he a match for what the Steelers want to do with their tight ends?

ED: The Steelers, like most every NFL team, always are on the look-out for talent and I would not eliminate Gresham from their consideration, but he would have to show them his back has healed. Gresham, though, isn’t the kind of blocker the Steelers long have preferred at that position. The latest is the Cardinals were supposedly looking at him. He has never caught fewer than 46 passes in his five years with the Bengals, including 62 last season.