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Bending steel

Update [2007-12-20 22:27:35 by VanRam]:I got caught up in something at work. I'll make this the open thread. There's quite a game going on...

Update [2007-12-20 11:1:29 by VanRam]: DOINK! Not even a guild writer could sum up 2007 quite like this Speaking of 2007, this is a damn good article on the Rams predicament with fans.

Do you think Isaac Bruce would take a hometown discount to play for the Rams next season? Should he take a hometown discount to play in St. Louis next season? For a player with his age, one thing he'll have to consider is the role he would play with another team, would he get a role significant enough to match the role he's played with the Rams, would another team take a chance on him for a price close to the $5 million he's under contract for in St. Louis?

Bruce is a pretty important sports figure in St. Louis, and, as the Post Dispatch pointed out, he is the face of this franchise. With 46 receptions, 607 yards and 3 TDs, he hasn't had a terrible season considering the offense's season long struggles (which make Holt's season that much more impressive), and last year he topped 1,000 yards. He's definitely not washed up. My hope would be to lock him up for the rest of his career at a reasonable price tag that gives the team a chance to invest some of that expense into their future. It's still a tough call, and business may win out with the Rams needing to start getting younger at the position and lots of money already tied up in two other receivers, Holt and this spring's acquisition of Bennett.

Of course, it all comes back to the o-line. With a solid o-line, we get an effective Bulger again. With an effective Bulger, guys like Bennett and McMichael who've had lackluster seasons should be good again. With those variables ironed out, the money becomes a bigger issue with other looming holes on the team.

It's Thursday and because it's that strange time of year and also since five different networks have their hands in the NFL pot o' gold, that means "are you ready for some, Thursday Night Football?"

Since we're talking about Isaac Bruce, he hasn't played a game against the Steelers since 2003. In that game, he had three catches for 73 yards. Each reception was for 20 yards or more. That game was the last time the Rams and Steelers met, with the Rams winning 33-21.

The secondary made some glaring mistakes in coverage against the Packers last week. While the Packers spot a much better passing game than the Steelers (32.1% DVOA vs. 14.5% DVOA), mistakes will burn you no matter who's passing and catching the ball. The opportunity for the secondary here lies in Ben Roethlisberger's propensity to make bad decisions and throw ugly passes into coverage. Still, with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, it's not like Roethlisberger's having bad season.

The thing I worry about the most for the Rams in this game, is the offensive line's match-up against the Steelers defense. This line hasn't held up well to the poundings issued by opposing defenses, and second half adjustments by opponents have really exploited the line's vulnerability. The Steelers defense, despite a couple bad weeks in a row, has at least as many looks and configurations as the Rams offense on a good day, and they can make plays with the best of them. Hopefully, Bulger's got a good flak jacket for this game...just in case.

I'll have an open thread up this afternoon ahead of the game.

More from the Steelers POV at Behind the Steel Curtain.