Pittsburgh Steelers Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert just wrapped up his meeting with the media at the 2009 NFL Combine. Below are some highlights of his press conference.
On the Steelers finding the right guys to fit the system:
“They have maintained a consistent philisophy of the type of player they want. You had that continuity with coach Knoll, coach Cowher, and coach Tomlin. When you have continuity in coaching, it\’s easy to match the talent to the philisophy to groom players to replace other players.”
“I think the Steelers always look for good players, great people, healthy…it\’s really a nebulous characteristic. We always talk about the Steeler Way. It\’s all about trying to do the right thing all the time.”
On the Steelers 2008 Draft Class:
“Rashard Mendenhall would have helped us had he not gotten injured. Limas Sweed played behind three pretty good wide receivers and certainly has growing to do. Bruce Davis certainly has a lot of growing to do. Dennis Dickson-We felt that he progressed really well.”
On Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison:
“James Harrison has certainly earned that designation. He\’s obviously an awesome player that helped us get where we got this year.”
On free agent cornerback Brian McFadden:
“He is a priority. We understand that we\’re not going to be able to keep this team together. We will continue to negotiate with all of our free agents.”
On RB Rashard Mendenhall:
“He\’s way ahead. He could\’ve returned at the end of the season, and for the playoffs (if not for injured reserve rule). Full recovery.”
On college game adjustemenyts to pro game:
“I think you\’re going to see that as time goes on, you\’ll see use of spread stuff as Dennis Dixon comes into the league. Offensive line techniques will be different.”
“It makes process more difficult.”
Asked about the annual projection process for 3-4 teams looking for outside linebackers, Colbert said this year’s crop is very strong, he also added that cornerback is another one of the stronger positions in this draft. Colbert also had a number of interesting comments on how the growth of the spread offense in college football affects the prospect evaluation process for just about every position on both sides of the ball. He also downplayed the changes we might see in free agency this spring due to the future labor uncertaintity in the league. He thinks most teams will approach business as they always have, although he said “caution” would be the word of the year.