There’s a reason the Cardinals have the nickname “Steelers West”. Okay, not only is Whisenhunt taking the mentality he had as the Steelers OC (not to mention some of the former Steeler coaching staff) but he also has been slowly acquiring former Steeler players, most recently, cornerback Bryant McFadden. It was no secret that Whisenhunt is looking at reshaping the Cardinals defense into a 3-4 defense and it was also no secret that he wanted McFadden, and he got them.
Of course, in the land of the black and gold, the city of Steel, the original Steelers, we’re watching them leave. Well, not really. Only two major losses through free agency. Wide receiver Nate Washington and cornerback Bryant McFadden. Can’t blame them for taking the money, both have two superbowl rings. But for the most part, while other teams were trying to bring in players to help their chances, the Steelers were trying to shore up the contracts of the one’s they currently have.
There were some quiet acquisitions, mostly to the practice squad. Of course, with Washington’s leaving, it now opens up the opportunity for Dallas Baker to contend for the 3d receiver slot.
Now with the majority of contracts being laid out and at least in negotiation stage, there is some movement inside the Steelers camp. No, not signings, but at least interviews. This week the Steelers will have interviewed former Buccaneers Wide Receiver Joey Galloway and Titans FA cornerback Chris Carr. Of course the interesting of the two is Chris Carr.
Two glaring and immediate needs for the Steelers lay with the offensive line and the return for Special Teams. The acquisition of Chris Carr could become a viable weapon when it comes to punt and kick returns. Of course, there is the added benefit of adding depth to the position at cornerback.
Last season, special teams had improved immensely in it’s kickoff and punt return coverage, but was still glaringly weak when it came to actually returning the ball. It was inconsistent at best and at worse, well, being ranked 29th in the league for punt and kickoff returns kind of explains it all. Should the Steelers acquire Carr, then this could possibly address the need in this area.
Of course, don’t look for the Steelers to use FA to build on their strengths, but more to address their immediate weaknesses. The acquisition in FA last preseason of running back Mewelde Moore was to address a need that was glaringly apparent when Willie Parker went out for the season with a broken ankle in the St. Louis Rams game. Moore proved to be invaluable in this past season when he became the starting running back when both Parker and rookie draft choice, Rashaad Mendenhall went out with injuries.
Despite, the interview process, no matter how many come through the gates to talk to Steelers management, those of us who have followed the black and gold know that, as with every FA period, this one will be another without excitement or major splash. Is it time for the draft yet?