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Steely76
08-18-2008, 03:56 PM
Defensive catalyst Polamalu might return tomorrow
Monday, August 18, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana / Post-Gazette
Troy Polamalu is a man of many talents, but his skills on the field have been missed while he has been out at training camp with a hamstring injury.

The oh-so-modest Troy Polamalu thinks the Steelers' defense doesn't change much without him.

If true the Steelers should pay Tyrone Carter as much as they do the man with the curly, long black hair that nearly prompted the NFL to pass a rule against it last spring.

Offenses have yet to devise anything to fight Polamalu's play on defense and it looks as if they will have to contend with him again, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Minnesota.

"There are rumors going around, we'll see," said Polamalu, smiling widely because coach Mike Tomlin has set tomorrow as Polamalu's target to leave the physically unable to perform list and practice for the first time this summer.

It will be their first practice in Pittsburgh after the final drill at Saint Vincent College yesterday afternoon, the door closing on camp a welcome site for Polamalu, who reported with an injured left hamstring and never practiced.

"Yeah, it is. I've just been going to meetings and watching practice like a coach. I'm a football player, not a coach, not a cheerleader."

He played the part of pied piper Saturday when, after a planned week of not running at all, he ran the fields at Saint Vincent and was joined by about 50 kids he welcomed from the crowd that had gathered for the afternoon practice. It was a day they'll all remember, including Polamalu because it was his best day since training camp began July 27. He had another yesterday, when he ran hard again with no setbacks.

"It felt good," Polamalu said.

It also was a good day for coordinator Dick LeBeau because Polamalu means so much to his defense.

"He's one of our best players, he just means that," said LeBeau, citing his strong safety's playmaking ability.

Besides making those plays, Polamalu can prevent the big ones, the intermediate gains that can turn into back-breakers, the ones "that normally might seam your defense," LeBeau said.

"He has that burst and he gets the ball on the ground and instead of a 20-yard gain it's a 7-yard gain and at the end of the season that adds up to a lot of yards. He's a valuable guy."

Polamalu wants to play against the Vikings Saturday in Minnesota, as long as he's at full strength, which will be determined later in the week.

"Yeah, I do but I don't want to play in the sense that, like you said, if I can't be myself, you know what I mean? The way I see things, as soon as they put me on the field, I'm like, 'Shut up, let me practice the new play, don't take me out of the game.' That's always every preseason football player's mind-set. It's like, 'Oh, man, preseason!' And once you get in the game, 'Don't take me out,' you know?"

Even though Polamalu played through several different injuries, including ones to a knee and rib, and did not have a sack or interception for the first time in his career, the Steelers led NFL defenses in fewest yards allowed.

"Last year we were very successful," Polamalu said. "I don't think people understand, last year we could have been the best defense in the history of football, statistically."

They ranked No. 1 in total yards, No. 3 in rushing yards allowed and No. 3 in passing yards allowed. No defense has ever gone 1-1-1 across the board, but the Steelers came close twice previously in this century when they ranked No. 1 total, No. 1 against the run and No. 4 against the pass in 2001 and 2004.

"We were a couple of plays from doing that," Polamalu said. "It's so crazy that we were that close."

Polamalu said the defense has grown increasingly complex since Dick LeBeau arrived for his second tour of duty as its coordinator in 2004.

"I was thinking about our defense, and the evolution of our defense. We were very simple when coach LeBeau came in. As time progressed, things started getting a little more complex. He's doing a lot more things with us, which has made us a better defense."

Polamalu permitted LeBeau to disguise his defenses even more because he moves so quickly before the snap of the ball, giving offenses fits. That is why Tomlin waited an entire training camp to put his star defender back onto the practice field.

"Everybody knows he's somewhat of a catalyst for our defense," Tomlin said.

What's important is the Sept. 7 opener and what follows over the next 15 games and perhaps beyond.

As Polamalu said yesterday as everyone put Saint Vincent practices behind them, "Before you know it, everybody's going to forget about this little camp."
Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on August 18, 2008 at 12:00 am

Uhhhh-ok Troy. Best defense in history.

Oviedo
08-18-2008, 04:02 PM
If LeBeau continues to blitz Troy into the middle of the opponent's OL all his athletic ability and skill will be moot. He will be injured again. Why we insist on taking one of our fastest players and lock him up with 300lb linemen is beyond comprehension.

Keep him back and play as a defensive back then he may survive the season. Go to the 4-3 and he may actually have a long career.

Djfan
08-18-2008, 04:55 PM
If LeBeau continues to blitz Troy into the middle of the opponent's OL all his athletic ability and skill will be moot. He will be injured again. Why we insist on taking one of our fastest players and lock him up with 300lb linemen is beyond comprehension.

Keep him back and play as a defensive back then he may survive the season. Go to the 4-3 and he may actually have a long career.

Word!

buckeyehoppy
08-18-2008, 06:17 PM
If LeBeau continues to blitz Troy into the middle of the opponent's OL all his athletic ability and skill will be moot. He will be injured again. Why we insist on taking one of our fastest players and lock him up with 300lb linemen is beyond comprehension.

Keep him back and play as a defensive back then he may survive the season. Go to the 4-3 and he may actually have a long career.

Word!

The purpose of being a safety is to eliminate the deep threat and contain downfield momentum. Sending #43 into the line should be a rarely played trump card. He will stay healthier and, possibly, improve his efficiency as a back if he stays home most of the time.

A well-timed safety blitz is a good thing, but it can't be effective as often as LeBeau wants to call for it. If he gets owned by some lummox who runs the 40 timed by a calendar because LeBeau thinks he needs an extra stunt, that will kill me to watch Troy getting carted off on a stretcher as much as it would kill him.

Needless to say, the :Agree vote is here with you guys.

stlrz d
08-18-2008, 09:10 PM
He said "statistically".

sd steel
08-19-2008, 12:51 AM
Defensive catalyst Polamalu might return tomorrow
Monday, August 18, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana / Post-Gazette
Troy Polamalu is a man of many talents, but his skills on the field have been missed while he has been out at training camp with a hamstring injury.

The oh-so-modest Troy Polamalu thinks the Steelers' defense doesn't change much without him.

If true the Steelers should pay Tyrone Carter as much as they do the man with the curly, long black hair that nearly prompted the NFL to pass a rule against it last spring.

Offenses have yet to devise anything to fight Polamalu's play on defense and it looks as if they will have to contend with him again, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Minnesota.

"There are rumors going around, we'll see," said Polamalu, smiling widely because coach Mike Tomlin has set tomorrow as Polamalu's target to leave the physically unable to perform list and practice for the first time this summer.

It will be their first practice in Pittsburgh after the final drill at Saint Vincent College yesterday afternoon, the door closing on camp a welcome site for Polamalu, who reported with an injured left hamstring and never practiced.

"Yeah, it is. I've just been going to meetings and watching practice like a coach. I'm a football player, not a coach, not a cheerleader."

He played the part of pied piper Saturday when, after a planned week of not running at all, he ran the fields at Saint Vincent and was joined by about 50 kids he welcomed from the crowd that had gathered for the afternoon practice. It was a day they'll all remember, including Polamalu because it was his best day since training camp began July 27. He had another yesterday, when he ran hard again with no setbacks.

"It felt good," Polamalu said.

It also was a good day for coordinator bad word LeBeau because Polamalu means so much to his defense.

"He's one of our best players, he just means that," said LeBeau, citing his strong safety's playmaking ability.

Besides making those plays, Polamalu can prevent the big ones, the intermediate gains that can turn into back-breakers, the ones "that normally might seam your defense," LeBeau said.

"He has that burst and he gets the ball on the ground and instead of a 20-yard gain it's a 7-yard gain and at the end of the season that adds up to a lot of yards. He's a valuable guy."

Polamalu wants to play against the Vikings Saturday in Minnesota, as long as he's at full strength, which will be determined later in the week.

"Yeah, I do but I don't want to play in the sense that, like you said, if I can't be myself, you know what I mean? The way I see things, as soon as they put me on the field, I'm like, 'Shut up, let me practice the new play, don't take me out of the game.' That's always every preseason football player's mind-set. It's like, 'Oh, man, preseason!' And once you get in the game, 'Don't take me out,' you know?"

Even though Polamalu played through several different injuries, including ones to a knee and rib, and did not have a sack or interception for the first time in his career, the Steelers led NFL defenses in fewest yards allowed.

"Last year we were very successful," Polamalu said. "I don't think people understand, last year we could have been the best defense in the history of football, statistically."

They ranked No. 1 in total yards, No. 3 in rushing yards allowed and No. 3 in passing yards allowed. No defense has ever gone 1-1-1 across the board, but the Steelers came close twice previously in this century when they ranked No. 1 total, No. 1 against the run and No. 4 against the pass in 2001 and 2004.

"We were a couple of plays from doing that," Polamalu said. "It's so crazy that we were that close."

Polamalu said the defense has grown increasingly complex since bad word LeBeau arrived for his second tour of duty as its coordinator in 2004.

"I was thinking about our defense, and the evolution of our defense. We were very simple when coach LeBeau came in. As time progressed, things started getting a little more complex. He's doing a lot more things with us, which has made us a better defense."

Polamalu permitted LeBeau to disguise his defenses even more because he moves so quickly before the snap of the ball, giving offenses fits. That is why Tomlin waited an entire training camp to put his star defender back onto the practice field.

"Everybody knows he's somewhat of a catalyst for our defense," Tomlin said.

What's important is the Sept. 7 opener and what follows over the next 15 games and perhaps beyond.

As Polamalu said yesterday as everyone put Saint Vincent practices behind them, "Before you know it, everybody's going to forget about this little camp."
Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on August 18, 2008 at 12:00 am

Uhhhh-ok Troy. Best defense in history.

Just curious Steely, but do you know the numbers? He did say statistically.

AkronSteel
08-19-2008, 01:24 AM
Well I like Troy's glass-is-half-full theory regarding the defenses performance last year, but........

The team did not perform well when under pressure, either at the end of games or during big games. I think the team lost what 5 games last year when teams scored on touchdown drives late in the 4th quarter? I think to some extent the defensive stats last year were somewhat of an anomoly. Yeah they played well in certain games but when the cards were really on the table the D folded. Did injuries contribute to that? Sure, but I don't think that was the only reason for the late game collapses.

:2c

sd steel
08-19-2008, 01:36 AM
Well I like Troy's glass-is-half-full theory regarding the defenses performance last year, but........

The team did not perform well when under pressure, either at the end of games or during big games. I think the team lost what 5 games last year when teams scored on touchdown drives late in the 4th quarter? I think to some extent the defensive stats last year were somewhat of an anomoly. Yeah they played well in certain games but when the cards were really on the table the D folded. Did injuries contribute to that? Sure, but I don't think that was the only reason for the late game collapses.

:2c

Well if injuries weren't the main culprit, what do you think it was. Is our personnel bad? Was it bad play calling? What do you think the main reasons were for our let down?

Did you break down the video and see where we were getting beat?

I had a boss who used to tell me, "don't come to me with problems, come to me with solutions", and although I hate hearing that coming from the boss, because i like to bitch as much as the next guy, I think this is a good forum to address the problems with solutions.

I just rewatched the Bills game, and saw that the lines weren't weak, but to me it looked like some of the playcalling was. Also the MLB's and TE's looked bad IMO. Last year I felt that the loss of Aaron Smith was huge, but I didn't study it, so I don't really know.

frankthetank1
08-19-2008, 08:36 AM
why is it that we all agree on sending troy in the middle of the d to take on nt's is a stupid idea and it doesnt work anymore, but yet they still do it? i cant understand that at all. most times when the steelers do something i dont agree with, i give the coaches the benefit of the doubt. they certainly know more about football than anyone, but using troy the way they do i just cant understand it

Oviedo
08-19-2008, 08:53 AM
why is it that we all agree on sending troy in the middle of the d to take on nt's is a stupid idea and it doesnt work anymore, but yet they still do it? i cant understand that at all. most times when the steelers do something i dont agree with, i give the coaches the benefit of the doubt. they certainly know more about football than anyone, but using troy the way they do i just cant understand it

It continues to frustrate me too. Sometimes coaches just think they are so smart (see Belicheat) that the Laws of Physics don't apply to their schemes, e.g. 320lbs is bigger than 210lbs.

The reality as you said is that the rest of the NFL knows exactly what LeBeau is going to do. It's not unique anymore particularly with most of the AFC using the 3-4.

frankthetank1
08-19-2008, 09:01 AM
why is it that we all agree on sending troy in the middle of the d to take on nt's is a stupid idea and it doesnt work anymore, but yet they still do it? i cant understand that at all. most times when the steelers do something i dont agree with, i give the coaches the benefit of the doubt. they certainly know more about football than anyone, but using troy the way they do i just cant understand it

It continues to frustrate me too. Sometimes coaches just think they are so smart (see Belicheat) that the Laws of Physics don't apply to their schemes, e.g. 320lbs is bigger than 210lbs.

The reality as you said is that the rest of the NFL knows exactly what LeBeau is going to do. It's not unique anymore particularly with most of the AFC using the 3-4.

another thing i dont understand is troy is a fast guy, why not blitz him on the edge if your going to send him? sending him up the middle negates his speed

AkronSteel
08-19-2008, 12:59 PM
Well I like Troy's glass-is-half-full theory regarding the defenses performance last year, but........

The team did not perform well when under pressure, either at the end of games or during big games. I think the team lost what 5 games last year when teams scored on touchdown drives late in the 4th quarter? I think to some extent the defensive stats last year were somewhat of an anomoly. Yeah they played well in certain games but when the cards were really on the table the D folded. Did injuries contribute to that? Sure, but I don't think that was the only reason for the late game collapses.

:2c

Well if injuries weren't the main culprit, what do you think it was. Is our personnel bad? Was it bad play calling? What do you think the main reasons were for our let down?

Did you break down the video and see where we were getting beat?

I had a boss who used to tell me, "don't come to me with problems, come to me with solutions", and although I hate hearing that coming from the boss, because i like to bitch as much as the next guy, I think this is a good forum to address the problems with solutions.

I just rewatched the Bills game, and saw that the lines weren't weak, but to me it looked like some of the playcalling was. Also the MLB's and TE's looked bad IMO. Last year I felt that the loss of Aaron Smith was huge, but I didn't study it, so I don't really know.

Yes, I broke down the tape! I think the problems were a multitude of things. Poor play was definately a contributing factor in the D's demise. Clark Haggans was terrible at the end of the year last year, he could not seal the corner. Casey Hampton was also terrible at the end of last year. In the two Jax games he was being blown off the ball by the center one on one. The center was pushing him to what ever side the play was not going to by himself. In all honesty he didn't do much in the Baltimore game either. Larry Foote has always been soft when plays are run right at him and that was no different from last year. James Harrison seemed to be done by week 12. He just didn't seem to be bringing the energy he was early in the year. The play calling was also very conservative at the end of the year last year. I don't know if Lebeau was trying to not put players that he was not comfortable with in situations where they were more likely to fail or if the league has finally just figured out his D. Whatever it was it was not good!

Like I said in my original post, injuries did contribute to the downfall in play last year. When a team is missing both starting safties and your best D lineman it will hurt, but that still doesn't explain the games against the Broncos and Jets. Those two teams who were also-rans last year moved the ball on this team in the 4th quarter with the game on the line and Lebeau didn't seem to have an answer for it.

Lets all just hope that the influx of talent into the LB corp (Woodley, Timmons) will change the results, but from what I saw the other night in Toronto (watched it 3X now) it looks like the problem could still persist.

I don't think I can take teams running on the Steelers like they did at the end of the year last year. I am just not used to it. Teams haven't run on this team like that in a long long time.

RuthlessBurgher
08-19-2008, 01:37 PM
Well I like Troy's glass-is-half-full theory regarding the defenses performance last year, but........

The team did not perform well when under pressure, either at the end of games or during big games. I think the team lost what 5 games last year when teams scored on touchdown drives late in the 4th quarter? I think to some extent the defensive stats last year were somewhat of an anomoly. Yeah they played well in certain games but when the cards were really on the table the D folded. Did injuries contribute to that? Sure, but I don't think that was the only reason for the late game collapses.

:2c

Well if injuries weren't the main culprit, what do you think it was. Is our personnel bad? Was it bad play calling? What do you think the main reasons were for our let down?

Did you break down the video and see where we were getting beat?

I had a boss who used to tell me, "don't come to me with problems, come to me with solutions", and although I hate hearing that coming from the boss, because i like to bitch as much as the next guy, I think this is a good forum to address the problems with solutions.

I just rewatched the Bills game, and saw that the lines weren't weak, but to me it looked like some of the playcalling was. Also the MLB's and TE's looked bad IMO. Last year I felt that the loss of Aaron Smith was huge, but I didn't study it, so I don't really know.

It is pointless analyzing whether the playcalling was good or bad during a preseason game, becuase there is essentially no game planning going on, and play calling in general in pretty much vanilla by design at this time of year. They may experiment with certain blitzes here or there to get the players used to certain things, but poor playcalling should never be an issue during the preseason.