Pittsburgh Steelers 2011 Free Agency Grades: Part 1

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Inked (cont.)

Chris Hoke - Hoke has played in all but 4 games since 2004.  And with that comes the experience and familiarity with a defense that the Steelers need in that position.  But Craig, isn’t Casey Hampton healthy and still playing for the Steelers?  True, Hampton is back for his 11th season.  But that’s just hit – 33 years old and 325 lbs (he’s probably more).  At NT, that body has had to take a ton of punishment trying to explode with all that weight on the snap of the ball.  Hoke is no spring chicken either, but he does a really nice job plugging up the running lanes and taking an extra o-lineman with him in the process.  This is a good stop gap move for the Steelers just in case either one of these guys needs some extended rest.  It’s only a one year deal, and I look for the Steelers to add either via free agency or draft next season to find Hampton’s (and Hoke’s) replacement.

Grade: B+

Sepulveda breaks his hand after congratulating former Steeler Jeff Reed. Courtesy of zimbio.com

Daniel Sepulveda - He’s walking, now he’s not.  It appeared at first that the Steelers were going to let Danny Boy walk this time into the IR sunset, but someone in the FO had a change of heart.  The Steelers have two (I’m pretty sure two) other punters currently on the roster during camp.  Wouldn’t either one of those do?  Danny is more injury prone than the guy who’s prescribed to wear bubble wrap as ‘bumpers.’  I don’t know why the Steelers signed him on.  The terms have not been disclosed, but it better be for only a year.  I’m tired of him flirting with us fans with his good punting skills and then ditch us for the season when he hurts his ankle… again.

Grade: D-

Mewelde Moore - Moore just signed a contract to return.  Terms, undisclosed.  This slams the door on Tikki ‘You Know You Want Me’ Barber indefinitely.  After Baron Batch’s stellar day yesterday in camp and the signing of Moore, the Steelers will find their third down back between those two.  I just hope it’s Batch because I love that guy already.  As for Moore, he needs to find a way to pick up the blitz better and root those feet into the ground or Ben’s going to be looking for more life insurance this season.

Grade: C+

Dennis Dixon - I don’t blame Dennis for wanting a starting job somewhere, but ya gotsta earn that right son.  Three seasons and hardly anything to show for but a TD and 2 INT’s in three starts.  He is injury prone as he’s shone that the last two seasons (thank God for dependable Charlie).  Not sure what chops he has to just walk away at first and let your agent try and convince other teams that he is starting material – especially after the QB smorgasbord around the league the past five days.  Wrong time to be walking away, my friend.  I think he realized that and realized his only hopes of playing any football and winning a ring are with the Steelers.  Dixon got a one year deal (terms not yet.. blah blah blah you get it).  Do the Steelers need Dixon as a back up?  Not if Ben, Charlie and Byron all stay healthy this season.

Grade: D+

 Well that’s eight players who have re-signed with the Steelers.  Some good, much of it ‘meh.’  I think the Steelers could have let some of these guys walk and saved some money to sign other FA’s or RFA’s – as we’ll see in Part 2 of Free Agency Grades on Wednesday (or maybe even tonight!)  So what’s the final grade for current team free agents?

Grade: B-/C+

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  • JonHopkins

    who is the idiot that keeps gay around?? get rid of both their asses

  • JoshuaBurns

    I’m glad to see the Ike was resigned since he was one of the only people I didn’t see getting burned. McFadden was on of the CB’s that was killing us last year in the secondary. If I didn’t already have his number memorized I could have last season watching him turn around and realize that the guy he was covering was 10 yards ahead of him.

    I’m still confused as to why we kept Gay. He did come up with a few key plays last season, much to my surprise, but not enough to justify shopping for a quality nickel defender. Dixon is the other one that I’m scratching my head about. He is just kind of there and that’s it. I was hoping that he could step up during the Ben drought, but he clearly showed that he just doesn’t have the swagger to handle himself out of the pocket. Good thing we still have Charlie and with Byron as a “viable” back up it just seems like too much.

    I don’t know why everyone is all hyped up over Plaxico and Tikki. Have seen our WR’s? You are talking about Mike Wallace who says he’s going to hit 2000 yards (he probably doesn’t realize that we still have Bruce as the Offensive Coordinator, but good luck). Antonio Brown and Emmanual Sanders who are developing wonderfully and of course “twinkle toes” Ward who will block and catch up the middle. He’s probably on his last season, but he plays hard all game, every game. I have no qualms with Moore. He didn’t get that many touches, but he maximized every opportunity and he has proven that he can crush up the middle when Rashard get’s skiddish.

  • craig.gottschalk

    @JoshuaBurns

    The jury is still out for me on Ike. I can’t wait to see what kind of money they threw at him. Gay is totally a head scratcher. As like Dixon, it seems like a waste of time and money to even have these guys on the roster. Maybe they are thinking that Charlie or Byron won’t have anything going for them this season and will need Dixon – Dixon WAS the starter last season and managed the game well despite his experience.

    Yeah, I was never on the Tikki or Plax bus. Good riddance to both of them. Who knows how big Wallace’s numbers will be this season? They could be huge as Arians favors the pass over the run. I think you are a bit mistaken as to the kind of coordinator Arians is. He likes the pass, and the team passed the ball more than ran last season. Bottom line – Plax had no place in the offense.

    As for Moore – In my opinion, a third down back is supposed to be a better blocker than rusher or receiver. Those are utility skills as ‘outs’ for a QB who can’t connect with his 1st-3rd options. Moore is not a great blocker, and if Batch can keep performing the way he did on the first day of pads, then Moore is a waste of a sign.

  • JonHopkins

    @craig.gottschalk@JoshuaBurns we were watching the same games last year right?? things would have gone a lot better last year with better play calling. especially that loss to Ravens. that could have been avoided, even with back up QBs, if they had been throwing the ball. and look up the post season attempts. 91 passing, 97 rushing. actually, look at the regular season stats. 479 passing attempts, 471 rushing attempts. browns, Chiefs, Titans, Jaguars, and Bears were the only ones to have fewer pass attempts. play calling in the SB was better, the only problem is Roethlisberger threw 2 interceptions

    im not talkin a drastic change here, but the ball does need to be thrown more. you talk about about all these receivers we got, why wouldnt you use them more?? especially with a QB that can get the ball to them. i get that Brown and Sanders were both rookies last year but from what i remember, they have proven themselves to be real weapons if given the chance. unlike one receiver that is still on the team for some unknown reason. and while i would have loved to have Burress back, him and Ward were pretty much dead even stat wise, there really isnt a need for another receiver. should have been talkin with corners instead of him

    chances of getting him probably wouldnt have been very good but they could have reached out to Asomugha. hes taking less money overall with the Eagles than he was getting from the Raiders. and if they would have come to some kind of agreement, at least 4 of those DBs could easily be let go to free up some money. mainly Gay and Mcfadden. i was happy with Mcfadden a few years ago, but i think he forgot how to play after being in Arizona

    i will admit that when it comes to sorting out the money thing with the new cap, im clueless. so all that may have just been wishful thinking

    back to the Arians thing, i know for a fact that myself and many other will not be happy until that dude is gone. if he doesnt get his shit straight this year then something needs to be done