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Steelers will be breaking in lots of new parts this week

Mike Tomlin AP

If anything, the Steelers pride themselves on continuity.

But when they line up for OTAs this week, they’ll put a different look on the field on both sides of the ball.

As noted by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, they’ll have at least three new starters on defense, a significant shift away from some experienced players.

Jason Worilds is expected to replace James Harrison at outside linebacker, Steve McLendon goes in for Casey Hampton at nose tackle and Cortez Allen will replace Keenan Lewis at cornerback.

All three of the new starters fit the Steelers mold of promote from within, having been stashed in reserve in recent years — Worilds and Allen were drafted, McLendon was an undrafted rookie signing who has developed during stints on the practice squad.

But the out-with-the-old isn’t just limited to defense.

The elder backup quarterbacks Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich are gone, replaced by Bruce Gradkowski and Landry Jones. It’s a subtle switch, but that’s 22 years of experience out the door.

And with two new offensive coaches and a special teams coach to integrate, the Steelers need all the getting-to-know-you time they can get this offseason.

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31 Responses to “Steelers will be breaking in lots of new parts this week”
  1. steelbydesign says: May 20, 2013 9:35 AM

    I love how every decision made is critiqued.

    The Steelers have been called old for the past few years, they get younger at QB and now it’s them getting rid of 22 years of experience. ::eyeroll::

  2. thesteelers says: May 20, 2013 9:39 AM

    This is why we have six rings and you do not.

  3. crownofthehelmet says: May 20, 2013 9:42 AM

    As long as Dick is running that defense, doesn’t matter who they plug in.

  4. sellout1983 says: May 20, 2013 10:00 AM

    I don’t really see this article as a critique. I think you’re being overly sensitive about your football team.

  5. andrewproughcfe says: May 20, 2013 10:06 AM

    Worilds, McClendon and Allen have all got quite a bit of experience as role players and spot starters due to injuries.

    The bigger changes will be Bell at tailback, and finally seeing our new o-line play together as a group.

  6. jtbsteeler says: May 20, 2013 10:13 AM

    They said we had an old slow defense now that the got rid of two of the oldest players there’s yapping about losing experience. THe same for Charlie and Leftwich. This will be the #1 defense again. LOL Three years running.

  7. gbmickey says: May 20, 2013 10:25 AM

    The Steelers wiill win 8 games max next season.

  8. lovefootball4life says: May 20, 2013 10:27 AM

    I’m not a Steelers fan but they’re not really new parts. They’ve been on the team, just their time to step up and there are guys who will be ready if they can’t. Every team goes through this every year. 3 out of 11 new starters isn’t that crazy.

    Fully expect that the defense will be solid again. As a fan of a rival I’m still holding out hope the offense is a mess. :)

  9. oldirtyman says: May 20, 2013 10:42 AM

    Hopefully these new starters can stay healthy during the workouts and training camp. McLendon has some big shoes to fill, Hampton took on a lot of blocks to free up the LBers. I think Worilds will step up to the challenge and have a solid year with many sacks.

  10. cannonballdookie says: May 20, 2013 10:54 AM

    I am more worried about Woodley and Polamalu becoming impact players than I’m worried about the new guys fitting in. McClendon has been great every time he had to fill in for Hampton. Keenan Lewis only started for a season, and with Jarvis Jones, the team may have pass rushing depth.

    The primary concern will be the offense. Heath Miller is a bigger loss right now than Mike Wallace but the offense will be less explosive. I’m curious to see how Bell fits in and how Sanders plays with more playing time. Things should be ok but I’m not expecting a division win with some of the transitions.

  11. juanweiner says: May 20, 2013 10:55 AM

    Big question is who will be the first major injury………….you know its gonna happen.

  12. citizenstrange says: May 20, 2013 11:30 AM

    The defense will still be very good. The big problem is that even with the number one defense in the entire NFL Roethlisberger still couldn’t get the Steelers into the playoffs last season. If the Steeler defense slips to say number four or five the Steelers will be lucky to get three wins.

    The Steelers need a quarterback who can still get a win even when the defense gives up over 17 points …. something Roethlisberger could not do even one time last season.

    Roethlisberger can score over 30 points once or at the very most twice each season.And now that he has taken to consistently throwing soul crushing, game ending pick sixes and pick threes he can no longer even ride the defense to the usual six or seven 13-9 wins each season.

  13. Joemontanaflacco says: May 20, 2013 1:28 PM

    “As long as Dick is running that defense, doesn’t matter who they plug in.”

    So what happened last year?

  14. Steeley McBeam says: May 20, 2013 1:46 PM

    Joemontanaflacco says:May 20, 2013 1:28 PM

    “As long as Dick is running that defense, doesn’t matter who they plug in.”

    So what happened last year?

    ————–

    Last year they had the #1 ranked defense in the NFL. Any more questions?

  15. jftreshj76 says: May 20, 2013 2:08 PM

    or…….22 years of youth in the door.

  16. Joemontanaflacco says: May 20, 2013 3:23 PM

    “Last year they had the #1 ranked defense in the NFL. Any more questions?”

    Ranked #1 in terms of WHAT? They LOST half the games. Are you saying it was all due to special teams blunders, fumbles, and pick sixes? Don’t think so.

  17. steelcurtainn says: May 20, 2013 4:04 PM

    The Steelers had the number 1 OVERALL defense last year it really isn’t that hard to understand. The ability to put up points at crunch time and close out games was really the steelers problem last year.(not to mention injuries) Markus Wheaton and Leveon Bell can fix that problem real quick, plus keeping the offense healthy. A couple losses by 3 points to the cowgirls and bungles (which could have been wins for the steelers but were not) and they stand having the same record as the lucky ravens 10-6……Go figure…….

  18. Nofoolnodrool says: May 20, 2013 4:15 PM

    Ranked #1 in terms of WHAT? They LOST half the games. Are you saying it was all due to special teams blunders, fumbles, and pick sixes? Don’t think so.

    It’s quite obvious you don’t think…so don’t post about something so obvious that most of your high school classmates understand easily. The defense can’t win by themselves number one or not. Not too hard to figure out, in a team sport it takes both sides to win. Someone who just started watching football would get that so why not you?

  19. bobzilla1001 says: May 20, 2013 4:44 PM

    Last season, the Steelers’ defense ranked fifth in points allowed. Meanwhile, the Patriots’ offense ranked No. 1 in scoring, averaging roughly 34 points per game.
    I did the math: Had the Steelers’ defense been supported by the Pats’ offense in 2012, their record would’ve been 15-0-1.
    Give that some thought.

  20. blackngold4life says: May 21, 2013 1:07 AM

    LOL SO TRUE ↑ Think we even lost a game where the other team didn’t Ben score a TD.. Now that’s sad! The Redzone play calling has to be better and Ben has to get better down there. can’t put up points between the 20s

  21. z71kris says: May 21, 2013 8:54 AM

    I only wish they could keep Charlie on the team somehow for the younger guys. The knowledge he has of the game can only be surpassed by a very few guys playing right now.

  22. bobzilla1001 says: May 21, 2013 9:47 AM

    People are so mesmerized by Roethlisberger’s uncanny abilities to keep “plays alive” between the 20s, they are too willing to overlook his failures in the red zone.
    Another reason Roethlisberger has NEVER taken heat from the fans and media is because the Steelers usually win … albeit with their defense.
    The Steelers’ offense has stunk since 2008. You can blame the “play calling,” but the common denominator has been THE QUARTERBACK. SuperBen is simply above any blame, criticism or accountability. He walks on water.
    Secondly, I don’t see how Charlie Batch’s alleged knowledge and experience have been all that beneficial. He was a good backup QB and a great teammate. But beyond that …
    The player they should’ve kept around as a mentor is Hines Ward. Funny how undisciplined that group became the minute he left the building.

  23. Joemontanaflacco says: May 21, 2013 10:29 AM

    “It’s quite obvious you don’t think…so don’t post about something so obvious that most of your high school classmates understand easily. The defense can’t win by themselves number one or not.”

    Here’s something my high school classmates and our English teacher understand. A defense can’t win by “itself” not “themselves.” And bobzilla1001, I did some math, too: A defense which allows the opposing team to score the most points in a game does not = a No. 1 defense. Also, 11 post season touchdowns + 0 interceptions = records held ONLY by SB MVPs Joes Montana and Flacco.

  24. bobzilla1001 says: May 21, 2013 11:44 AM

    So if the offense scores 3 and the defense allows 4, the defense should be blamed for the loss? Sure. Makes sense…
    Bye now.

  25. Nofoolnodrool says: May 21, 2013 12:20 PM

    Here’s something my high school classmates and our English teacher understand. A defense can’t win by “itself” not “themselves.” And bobzilla1001, I did some math, too: A defense which allows the opposing team to score the most points in a game does not = a No. 1 defense. Also, 11 post season touchdowns + 0 interceptions = records held ONLY by SB MVPs Joes Montana and Flacco.

    Regardless of it or them your logic is not only flawed it is nonexistent ……as in there is no logic. So here is some advice….we all know you hate the steelers….we all know you are blindly impressed by Flacco… And we know you never make sense…give it a rest skippy we are not impressed with another raven fan boy so go troll a raven thread or do some homework….bye.

  26. gmarsteller says: May 21, 2013 2:58 PM

    While the defense may have been ranked #1, they let the team down early in the season when the offense was clicking blowing 4th quarter leads.

  27. bobzilla1001 says: May 21, 2013 5:46 PM

    Blowing fourth-quarter leads?
    The only game that the defense “blew” was in Oakland.
    Let’s stop pretending that the defense routinely allows 30-10 leads to get away. The offense simply has not put weak teams away … by, you know, SCORING POINTS EARLY. That’s been a problem for years, including in Super Bowls 43 and 45, and in the loss to Broncos in the 2011 postseason.
    While it’s up to the defense to hold opponents check, it’s up to the offense to put teams away. Averaging 20 points per game doesn’t cut it.

  28. rockinrodie says: May 21, 2013 7:48 PM

    The defense wasn’t properly conditioned last season, that’s why 4th quarter leads vanished. And Ben was in the MVP conversation before his shoulder injury. So I’m asking all fans to relax, look at the big picture and realize this team rarely has back to back sub par seasons. Anyway, it’s always good when they fly under the radar. Let Cincy and Balt think they’re the top teams. Remember the ’97 and ’04 teams? Both were projected to do nothing.

  29. bobzilla1001 says: May 21, 2013 10:58 PM

    What fourth-quarter leads vanished? Against the Titans, the offense carried a whopping 13 total points into the fourth quarter. Three quarters, 13 points, against a putrid team.
    I can assure you that NO quarterback of a 22nd-ranked scoring offense will ever been named league MVP. Before Roethlisberger’s injury, the offense ranked 19th.

  30. blackngold4life says: May 21, 2013 11:46 PM

    Can’t really call 3 and 7 points leads..the only game the Defense slippd up on was in Oakland. Total blame is on the Offense and its “Leader” for lack production RBs WRs and O-Line included

  31. overseerjwilliams says: May 22, 2013 7:11 AM

    The steelers are a great organization I have been a die heart fan since 1971 if the offense pick up sustain 5 minute drives and score at least 24 points we can beat anybody with the defense we have

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