I love Erik Lambert. In what has been a typically quiet offseason for the Steelers, it can be tough to find good news out there to report or comment on with a little more in depth analysis. I tend to think we do a pretty damn good job of finding worth while things to talk about, and who doesn’t love reminiscing about the good ol’ days? So I search and scour for those ‘interesting’ stories to read up on during the ‘slow days,’ and I keep coming across Erik Lambert from Gather.com. Lambert continually reaches for the absurdity when it comes to talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers – and I love this stuff. In fact, I’ve bookmarked this guy. Whether he does it for attention like the way a shock jock pleads for it with their offhand comments, or he truly believes the absurdity he puts down on the ‘interwebs’ I don’t know.
Lambert has tossed up another softball topic to wreak havoc on yet again today. The title of the post is ‘Could the Pittsburgh Steelers Lure Chris Ivory from New Orleans Saints?’ ‘Lure’ is a word that Lambert loves to throw around in his titles and throughout his articles – as if Mike Tomlin is poking his head out of the South Side practice facilities and seductively calling over players using his index finger and calling ‘You hooooo!’ Lambert feels confident that the trading soup is a right mixture of desperation from both teams that would inject some enticement into a trade.
Lambert feels the Saints are decimated by the Bountygate and are desperate to right the ship or suffer years of having to rebuild from such a scandal. While this sentiment is not completely unfounded, the Saints aren’t in a terrible situation. They are in a bad situation, but not in one where they would trade off a running back who is developing into one of their premier backs. Ivory is one of their bigger backs and has out performed others like Mark Ingram. Are things that bad to trade off a guy who will actually help build up this team once Darren Sproles’ wheels fall off? I think not. If the Saints want to make an impact in overcoming Bountygate, they just simply need to survive the weeks most of the suspensions are worth and get back to work. Drew Brees will return as the QB and the offense will continue to produce – that is assuming that the team won’t implode without head coach Sean Payton. And there’s no trade that will fix that.
But what about the Saints trading some picks for Ivory? Well you would have to assume that Ivory is worth a couple of picks – which he’s not – and you would have to assume that the Steelers would trade away picks for a running back who may or may not be the answer for Rashard Mendenhall’s departure – which he’s not. Even if Ivory was worth a high pick – say round two or three – the Steelers would not give up early round picks. The Steelers take pride in being able to draft great valued talent and develop them into household names. The Steelers wouldn’t trade picks for Ivory, even if the Steelers were hurting for a running back – which they aren’t.
This is where Lambert always falls completely apart for me – his analysis (or lack thereof) of the Steelers situation. Lambert is worse than some political talking head who ignores the facts and only uses the talking points that’s been generated by the base. It doesn’t matter what’s taken place. What was true 9 months ago, is true today. For what? Just to make your point?
Here are the highlights from Lambert on how bad Pittsburgh’s situation is:
- ‘Not only is their best receiver Mike Wallace stuck in a contract holdout, but their best running back Rashard Mendenhall will start the season injured with no real idea when he will return.’
– ‘That means quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could throw to secondary receivers behind a suspect offensive line while handing off to back up running backs.’
– ‘If the Steelers can’t solve the Wallace problem, they may try to help Roethlisberger through trade.’
– ‘The two names that must step up are Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer.’
– ‘New Orleans needs draft picks and Pittsburgh always has them to spare. At the right price the Saints could send him to a city who loves power football.’
Where oh where to begin? The most egregious statement of them all is about Ben throwing to secondary receivers behind a suspect line while handing off to backup running backs. Has Lambert even heard of Antonio Brown? Brown, who proved to be of more worth than Wallace last season set an NFL record for 1,000 receiving and 1,000 return yards in a single season. ‘Manny’ Sanders is solid and still growing. Todd Haley’s TE happy offense has Heath Miller and Leonard Pope. Haley also loves to utilize his running backs as receivers, and that’s where rookie Chris Rainey comes in. Ben having a hard time finding an open target? Hardly. The offensive line has vastly improved with the draft – run blocking and pass blocking. Even though David DeCastro and Mike Adams have yet to take a snap, I find it hard to even come close to comparing last year’s line from this one and conclude they are the same line. Redman has yet to carry the load for an extended part of the season, but he’s ready for it. He’s built to be the back the Steelers need, and has actually had very solid games when taking the majority of snaps – something Lambert fails to realize and in fact says Redman makes a play only once in a while. And how in the world could you mention Dwyer as being the next immediate backup when you have Chris Rainey, Baron Batch and Jonathan Clay mixed in that group as well. The running back situation is the most plastic out of all the positions going into camp this season. We have no idea what that depth chart will be like. So why pick Dwyer out of thin air?
As I said before the Steelers hardly trade picks if ever at all. And, they certainly don’t have any ‘to spare’ in a trade deal. It’s an absurd idea to think Kevin Colbert would give up the thing he does best for some back who will be one of many competing for backup roles in the offense. No dice, Lambi. The Steelers are far from a desperate situation and actually sitting pretty before heading into camp. We are just weeks away, and this should prove to be one of the more fun and interesting training camps in a long time for the Steelers.
Trade for Chris Ivory? Not by a long shot. No that’s not buzzing in your head. It’s just Erik Lambert making another Steeler analysis. Keep’em coming dude. Camp is still weeks away – I need more entertainment.
Tags: Antonio Brown Baron Batch Bountygate Chris Ivory Chris Rainey David DeCastro Drew Brees Emmanuel Sanders Erik Lambert Gather.com Heath Miller Isaac Redman Leonard Pope Mike Adams Mike Wallace New Orleans Saints Rashard Mendenhall Ben Roethlisberger Sean Payton Steelers Todd Haley