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So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

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So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby Triple-S » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:56 pm

...as the dominant teams in the AFC North?

I ask this after viewing a piece by James Walker in the AFC North blog on ESPN claiming he still saw the Rats and Inbred as the top 2 teams in the division 3 to 5 years from now.

While I unfortunately cannot blame him for his choices due to the fact that the Steelers and Ravens unfortunately have two of the better FO's in football, and lets face it, the Browns have hired guys like Dwight Clark and Phil Savage who've not been able to do a damn thing outside of embarrassing us year after year.

I am frightened at the thought of these two teams being the dominant forces in the North, but unfortunately, it certainly wouldn't surprise me. I'm praying the Browns get things turned around, and quickly so this will all be a distant memory.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby hiko » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:56 am

I've learned to stop worrying about them. I just worry about the Browns. If the Browns can build a decent team, they can beat anyone. This isn't baseball where we're stuck in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox. Take care of our own business, worry about the Steelers and Ravens when we play 'em. They'll have down years here and there.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby Govbarney » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:50 am

Comes down to QBs. Theirs are better then ours. until that changes we will continue to look up at them.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby JCoz » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:46 pm

I agree with Hiko for the most part.

That said, Steelers dont have a real chance of decline IMO as long as LeBaugh is still coaching thier defense. He is the glue. That isn't to say that he hasn't groomed someone to sufficiently handle the task after he's gone, while they still have a franchise QB at least. After the both of them are gone for whatever reason, maybe the Steelers see some extended down time.

As for the Ratbirds, that's quite a bit harder to predict, but Ozzie is clearly one of the best GM's out there, and he combined with a franchise QB, should Flacco ever develop into one, would make thier "imminent" decline a pretty hard sell.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby mattvan1 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:43 pm

.......attending Temple University, graduating with a B.A. in communications and mass media. He resides in the Cleveland area.


So what makes Mr. Andrews more knowledgeable about the AFC North than 90% of the people posting on these boards?

Tell me, please. It's about time we, as a sports thirsty public, stop the fellation of all things ESPN simply because people such as Mr. Andrews have the capability to blog under their byline.

I'll tell you when the Steelers and Ravens will decline........when the Browns stop being their bitch.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby Prosecutor » Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:13 pm

I think the Ravens are coming to a crossroads in the next year or two. A quick check of their roster shows 15 players over the age of 30. Some of them are role players and backups, but here is a list of key players that are very long in the tooth:

Ed Reed (33 in Sep)
Willis McGahee (30 in Oct)
Derrick Mason (37)
Ray Lewis (36)
T.J. Houshmandzedeh (34 in Sep)
Todd Heap (31)
Kelly Gregg (34)
Matt Birk (35)

I don't know what they have in the pipeline to replace these guys, but that's a lot of talent, leadership, and experience that they will lose over the next 2-3 years. Reed, for example, is already showing signs of age as he has missed a lot of games in the last couple of years.

Obviously they are a great organization and as long as Ozzie is running the personnel department they should do a good job of adding young talent, but they definitely have a challenge ahead of them, especially since they are always drafting late.

The Steelers lose players like Santonio Holmes, Jerome Bettis, Randle-El, Plaxico Burress, and Alan Faneca, but they just keep rolling. They always have a talented young player ready to step in. I'll believe that they're in decline when I see it.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby Prosecutor » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:04 am

I pulled this information on the AFC North salary cap situations off the Bleacher Report:

Here is a look at where AFC North teams stand, via ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton:

Baltimore Ravens

Cap situation: $5.33 million under

Skinny: The Ravens are in decent shape. Cutting backup running back Willis McGahee will shave $2.5 million off their cap, according to Clayton. Taking the franchise tag off Pro Bowl defensive lineman Haloti Ngata and working out a long-term contract is another move that provides cap room for Baltimore to make a few moves in free agency.

Cincinnati Bengals

Cap situation: $35.9 million under

Skinny: Cincinnati is significantly under the cap, and with proposed mandatory spending, the usually reserved Bengals will be forced to be major players in free agency. The only question is will the Bengals, who have a scant front office and no general manager, make the right calls? Free-agent corner Johnathan Joseph should be back in play now that Cincinnati has more than $35 million to spend. Cincinnati also is in the market for a starting running back.

Cleveland Browns

Cap situation: $33.3 million under

Skinny: The Browns also will be major players and have plenty of holes to fill. Cleveland still needs starters at defensive end, safety and possibly the entire right side of the offensive line. President Mike Holmgren has the green light from owner Randy Lerner. So look for the Browns to make a couple of significant signings and add depth at other spots in an effort to narrow the gap this year with the Ravens and Steelers.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Cap situation: $10.51 million over

Skinny: The veteran Steelers are the most cash-strapped team in the division. We broke down several options for Pittsburgh to get back under the cap, but don't expect the Steelers to do much in free agency. Cornerback is a major question and probably the only place the Steelers will spend big bucks this summer, whether it's to re-sign Ike Taylor or add someone else.


There's nothing in this about the Steelers or Ravens being in decline, but the fact that the Steelers need to cut $11 million in salary while the Browns will be adding at least $30 million tells you the talent gap is going to be closing in the next few weeks.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby Prosecutor » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:17 am

Looking at the Steelers roster, they've got a few graybeards themselves:

Flozell Adams 36
Ryan Clark 31
James Farrior 36
Larry Foote 31
Casey Hampton 33
Chris Hoke 35
Brett Keisel 32
Antwaan Randle-El 31
Aaron Smith 35
Ike Taylor 31
Hines Ward 35

They're also $10 million over the cap.

With the Browns and Bengals having to spend $30 million in free agency whether they want to or not, the Steelers having to cut $10 million, and the Ravens standing pat at $5 million under, I really think this division is going to be surprisingly competitive this year, or next year at the latest. For now the Steelers and Ravens have the big edge in experience and quarterbacking, so there's no reason they shouldn't come out on top. The Browns are implementing new systems and are going with an inexperienced QB, and the Bengals QB situation is still up in the air as far as I know.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby General » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:15 am

Prosecutor wrote:Looking at the Steelers roster, they've got a few graybeards themselves:

Flozell Adams 36
Ryan Clark 31
James Farrior 36
Larry Foote 31
Casey Hampton 33
Chris Hoke 35
Brett Keisel 32
Antwaan Randle-El 31
Aaron Smith 35
Ike Taylor 31
Hines Ward 35

They're also $10 million over the cap.

With the Browns and Bengals having to spend $30 million in free agency whether they want to or not, the Steelers having to cut $10 million, and the Ravens standing pat at $5 million under, I really think this division is going to be surprisingly competitive this year, or next year at the latest. For now the Steelers and Ravens have the big edge in experience and quarterbacking, so there's no reason they shouldn't come out on top. The Browns are implementing new systems and are going with an inexperienced QB, and the Bengals QB situation is still up in the air as far as I know.


The Browns should rebate that cash to the fans for the 12 year masquerade as an NFL franchise.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby Triple-S » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:35 am

Baltimore, I see a possibly aging defense and a "Good" but not "Great" QB. Certainly he's not Trent Dilfer or Chad Pennington, but he's not one of the Elite game-changer QB's you have in the league like a Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger, Manning or Brady. It will be also interesting to see how this team looks when Ray Lewis (15 years in the pros and still hasn't shown any signs of slowing down) and Ed Reed (injury-prone) hang it up.

Pittsburgh? Seems to just stumble on talent year after year. Give away a SUPER BOWL MVP for next to nothing? No big deal, just find some 2nd or 3rd rounders and plug them in. (meanwhile the Browns are debating if Robo and MoMass will finally show something in this new offense). Doesn't matter that TheRapist gets injured by a subpar offensive line, just plug in Dixon or Leftwich and it looks like they've not missed a beat. The only real time I've seen this particular team in a weakened state was when Polamalu goes down.

I'm really intrigued though as to how going West Coast in this division will go. Browns are still some years from the twin titans that top the North, but I'm still convinced their inching forward.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby leadpipe » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:00 am

Hiko is correct.

Gotta be able to make your own team not a laughingstock before worrying about anyone else even matters.
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Re: So when will the Steelers and Ravens decline....

Unread postby DrPoove » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:42 am

leadpipe wrote:Hiko is correct.

Gotta be able to make your own team not a laughingstock before worrying about anyone else even matters.

Yup. Clean up your own house before worrying about the others.

We can bitch all we want about the "character" issues the Inbred and Ratbird players may have but their FOs are not going to just go stupid overnight. Benedict Ozzie and the Rooneys run a good ship when it comes to talent evaluation and structure so expect either of them to decline is not wise.

To be the man, you gotta beat the man, so let's become the man and F everybody else.

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