Fast Billie Cowher - By John Smathers

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

Just a few observations from a season lost ... Bill CowherI know what you're thinking. You're thinking what everyone else has been conned into thinking. Bill Cowher is gone.

Before you read this, it might turn out to be true. But I'm going to swim against the tide and say that Cowher is pulling a fast one.

He has you all convinced -- including the Rooneys -- that he's really, really leaning toward catching that last flight to Raleigh and calling it a Steelers career. And that it's going to be tough decision (as a tear wells up in his eye, no less).

I am not so convinced. I believe that players and even coaches believe in the pursuit of the almighty dollar more than the pursuit of anything else, including another Lombardi Trophy, which is itself just a means to an end. Cowher has more than enough dollars but you can really never have enough, can you?

Cowher, I believe, is playing the money game right up to the final gun. And if Art Rooney Jr. doesn't blink, Cowher will be perfectly content to take his ball and go to tobacco country.

The Whisenhunt-Grimm factor could be huge leverage for Cowher. The Steelers have to consider them prime candidates to replace Cowher, but they are being wooed elsewhere. Both could be gone very soon. The Steelers could end up without all three.

Sorry, I realize that coaching an NFL team is a never-ending job. But please don't tell me that Bill Cowher hasn't had ample time to think about this since it first became big news (and a distraction, like or not) last spring. I think he's known what he wants to do for months now. But as we all know, the Rooneys tend not to negotiate with anyone during the season. But the season ended Sunday. Now we'll see.

Warm and fuzzy

Speaking of the season ending Sunday, I've got a warm, fuzzy feeling. Yeah, the 8-8 thing sucks. No playoffs? Sucks even more. But for the second year in a row, the Steelers ended Cincinnati's season in dramatic fashion. For one of the few times this season, I actually leaped out my chair to get excited about something in a Steelers game. That would be Santonio Holmes running away with the Bengals' playoff hopes.

So, Carson, how do you like 'em now? Who dey?

Let my people go ... rush the quarterback

I like to think that Kevin Colbert and Bill Cowher went online the day before the 2006 draft and took note of my mock draft, which had the Steelers trading up to take Holmes, and said, "Hey, not a bad idea."

I like to think that.

So attention Kevin Colbert and head coach _______________, I'm about to save you a lot of scouting time. Take Quentin Moses, defensive end out of Georgia with your 15th first-round pick. His 6-5, 250-ish size is a good size for an end in the Steelers' 3-4 end. Moses can pack on more size and stay at end or he could fit right in at outside linebacker, where the Steelers are getting old. Either way, Moses can get after the quarterback and he's big enough to take on blockers and play the run.

Moses can lead the Steelers defense to the promised land!

Ahem. The Steelers could lose Joey Porter at OLB this offseason or Aaron Smith at DE next offseason. At the very least, the Steelers need depth at linebacker. Remember, they didn't address the position in last year's draft.

There will be plenty to consider for this draft. Another cornerback would not be a bad move, especially if the DE/OLB pool is deep. They need to address the DE/OLB situation. Gaines Adams from Clemson will likely go in the top five, but Moses is considered the number two DE in the draft and should be available.

A sentimental favorite for me would be Paul Posluszny, everyone's All-American OLB from Penn State. He might just be there at 15. But I think the Steelers will go with Moses.

It ain't easy being green ... apparently.

I have not yet had the privilege of walking on Heinz Field turf, but from my prone position on the couch, it looks like hell. The Heinz Field playing surface looks like the worst in the National Football League. I can't claim to have seen them all, but I'd hate to see the surface that looks worse than the one on which the Steelers and Ravens played on Christmas Eve.

Worse yet, I'd hate to play on it.

The Steelers have a beautiful stadium. Why does the surface have to look so bad? Maybe they should have thought about that before $2.4 million was spent on a new scoreboard.

I'd like to hear more from the players about this ... off the record.

Deflagged

Forget about skirts, Jack Lambert. Let's do something more practical for the quarterbacks.

How 'bout flags? Yeah, why not. Better to see a quarterback 'deflagged' than to see him ... my God ... tackled.

I don't know why the league is so worried about the Carson Palmers anyway. I mean, the guy is like Superman, what with that speedy recovery and rehab and all. That's what we were told ad nauseum leading up to and well into the 2006 season.

Hey, he can take a hit. I think. Well, we'll never find out, will we? If he gets his hair mussed now, it's 15 yards and a probable fine.

What? The Giants?

If you're really depressed about the whole Steelers-less playoff thing, you can do what I do in these situations: Pick the team that you hate the most from the playoff-bound teams and root against them. That's an easy one for me this year. I'd like to see the Ravens go down in flames. After that, I don't care. Sorry to say it, but I'm not one of these fans that hangs on every playoff game. Chances are, I'll barely watch the Super Bowl.

Or you can try what I tried yesterday. Go to NFL.com and click on the link 'Adopt a playoff team.' Answer five questions and a favorite playoff team will be picked for you. Be ready to decide if you'd rather be a palm tree or an evergreen. I'm serious.

I tried this Tuesday and I was told my team is the New York football Giants. That has to be a mistake, since I don't care for Tom Coughlin, who can't seem to get a grip on things despite his drill sergeant reputation, and Eli Manning, who is a daddy's boy. I will not root for the Giants.

So I tried again today, and I ended up with the Chiefs. Well, I don't like underdogs that much and I think Herm Edwards is a joke, so I guess I'll try again tomorrow. At least I didn't end up with the Ravens.

I wonder how it would turn out for Carson Palmer.