Sunday, July 29, 2012

Steelers Confirm Wallace Won't Be Traded; LaMarr Woodley Talks Defense

It seems Mike Wallace has even less leverage than he had before...if that's possible.

"Mike Wallace is not available for trade", Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told ESPN's Ed Werder. 

If It Ain't Steel never thought so anyway. Neither proposed it as a possibility nor insinuated as much in an article. We are aware, though, that there were rumblings along those lines. Disgruntled Steelers fans had suggested it enough, but there was even such a suggestion by another Ed. 

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted the article "Trading Wallace Best For Both Sides" in which he suggested a scenario in which it could be accomplished. He wrote: "The Steelers give another team or teams permission to talk to Wallace to try to work out a deal. If they do, Wallace would sign his one-year tender with the Steelers, who then trade him to the other team." 

Interesting. Intriguing. Impossible. 

Not a chance it happens. Not just because of what Colbert said, but because, even as Bouchette would say later in the article, it sets a bad precedent. A move like that is all that would be needed for other players to refer to Wallace's situation and pout and hold their breath until they got what they wanted. It's a bad move and a potential distraction. 

Another reason it won't happen is because no team is going to pay the necessary money and fork over the draft choice. Steelers can win as they are right now. Wallace is a luxury, not a need, and they will wait for him to report. 

When will that be? Wallace has until 4 p.m. EST on November 13th to sign his tender or he will not be permitted to play in the NFL this year and would still be a restricted free agent next year. 

Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday wrote that Wallace’s asking price is in line with the five-year, $55,555,555 contract signed by Tampa Bay receiver Vincent Jackson. Jackson’s deal basically breaks down to $26 million guaranteed over the first two years. The Steelers would be looking more in the $8 million per year range. 

My guess is that it's still possible. The cap space is about $1.5 million, after the $8.5 million signing bonus given to Antonio Brown, with another $2.742 million already on the books from the Wallace tender. So, there's basically about $4.25 million in salary cap space. Just enough room for $10-$15 million guaranteed in a Wallace contract. 

I don't know if it's probable, but it's possible. Much more possible than a trade. 

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LaMarr Woodley spoke on the 2011 Steelers defense recently and had some very honest comments. Comments we'd suggested also regarding the ability of numbers to be deceiving.

"The ranking was high, but I don't think we played good defense last year", Woodley said. "We didnt get that many turnovers, we didn't get to the QB that much. So I dont know how we were ranked that high." 

From your lips to God's ears. The Steelers defense, as you remember, was ranked No. 1 last season in terms of yards allowed.

"Last year it happened a lot," Woodley continued, "we gave up a lot of big plays at crucial times. If you want to be a great defense, you have to cut out the big plays."

What did Mark Twain once say (or actually attribute to Disraeli)? "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." 

The fact that so few passing yards were allowed masked their being gutted on the ground. They allowed more yards on the ground than they had in years. A very unSteeler-like 99.8 yards per game. Add the lack of turnovers and the fewest sacks in eight year and you have a team who's one-and-done in the playoffs. 

Woodley's assessment is correct, therefore, that sacks and turnovers, splash plays, are major keys to taking the defense to that next level that it was so obviously lacking last season. 

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Remember Greg Lloyd's nickname? "Just Plain Nasty." Well, Willie Colon wants to bring back to Pittsburgh that moniker, but to apply it to he, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro - the Steelers new interior offensive line.

Colon stated, "Being in the interior along with Pounce and DeCastro, we will have a chance to really show our aggressiveness. And we plan no doing it....I think we're a team that's gonna run the ball a lot more." 

Personally, I like that statement. A lot.