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steelz09
12-05-2008, 11:10 AM
PITTSBURGH Troy Polamalu missed Thursday's practice with a calf
injury, but the NFL's leading interceptor doesn't believe it'll keep
him from playing Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
That was good news to Dick LeBeau, because the Steelers' defensive
coordinator believes Polamalu is playing his best football ever.

"I just couldn't name the amount of plays that he's cut off with his
range and his diagnostic intuition in just getting to where the ball
is," LeBeau said. "When the ball's breaking on him, he always shows
up. And if he doesn't get the guy on the ground, he sure does slow
him up long enough for the posse to get there.

"He's invaluable to us back there. He's done a great job all along,
but this probably is his best year."

It's showing up in the team statistics, where the Steelers rank first
in several categories, foremost being overall, run and pass defense.
Polamalu also leads the NFL with six interceptions.

"He's very unselfish and he's not blitzing as much as he has in the
past," LeBeau said. "You look at the number of big plays that have
gotten in there on this defense and a great part of the credit goes
to our safeties and where they've been back there to keep those plays
from hitting us deep. Troy and Ryan (Clark) together have been
tremendous. Troy's range, it just hits me whenever a play's breaking.
He always shows up, it seems like, and keeps it from going for a real
big play."

The Steelers have given up only one play over 41 yards this season,
and that 65-yard catch by Reggie Wayne was tipped by Ike Taylor.

Per play, the Steelers allow a league-low average of 3.88 yards. The
NFL record in 16-game seasons is 3.89 yards per play set in 1979 by
the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

GAY ON THE RISE

William Gay may have gone from No. 4 cornerback to a starting job
after playing so well the last three weeks.

Gay assumed the starting left cornerback job three games ago because
of injuries to Deshea Townsend and Bryant McFadden. But Townsend
returned last Sunday in New England and Gay remained the starter.
McFadden returns this week and has been rotating with Gay on the
first team.

"Hopefully we can play both of those guys," said Coach Mike
Tomlin. "You've got to acknowledge that it's been six weeks since
Bryant has played football. But he has been practicing. We will
continue to work that and see how it develops as the week goes on.
Both guys have shown they are capable of playing and playing at a
high level. That's a good problem to have. We will weigh those
options a little later in the week."

BEN RETURNS

As expected, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice
Thursday. He missed the final portion of Wednesday's practice after
slipping in a muddy patch and twisting his right leg.

Polamalu, Brett Keisel and Marvel Smith were the only Steelers to
miss Thursday's practice.

Missing practice for the Dallas Cowboys were WR Miles Austin (knee),
RB Marion Barber (toe) and CB Mike Jenkins (hamstring).

Austin has been ruled out of Sunday's game at Heinz Field and Jenkins
is doubtful. The Cowboys don't expect Barber to practice this week
with his dislocated right pinkie toe, but hope he can play. OLB
DeMarcus Ware was limited Thursday with a knee injury, but expects to
play Sunday.

flippy
12-05-2008, 11:15 AM
It's because of Timmons.

Timmons is freeing up Troy to play a more traditional safety role. And as such, he's able to cover more of the field.

Flasteel
12-05-2008, 11:20 AM
It's because of Timmons.

Timmons is freeing up Troy to play a more traditional safety role. And as such, he's able to cover more of the field.

I think it's also a great testament to our pash rush and gap integrity. Polamalu is no longer needed at the LOS where he was engulfed far too many times last year by 300 pounders and he's free to roam.

flippy
12-05-2008, 11:34 AM
It's because of Timmons.

Timmons is freeing up Troy to play a more traditional safety role. And as such, he's able to cover more of the field.

I think it's also a great testament to our pash rush and gap integrity. Polamalu is no longer needed at the LOS where he was engulfed far too many times last year by 300 pounders and he's free to roam.

Good point.

I was thinking of it from the perspective of LeBeau is using Timmons in the way he used to use Troy moving him around in the box to breakdown the other teams pass pro. And he's covering RBs, TEs, WRs. Freeing Troy to be used more in coverage.

Troy and Clark are really clicking as a tandem this year.

But like you said, it's also helped by the overall pass rush.

SteelerNation1
12-05-2008, 01:23 PM
IMO its because Troy is healthy, our pass rush is greatly improved, and Ryan Clark is not in a hospital bed

RuthlessBurgher
12-05-2008, 04:55 PM
And just think, so many folks were cursing his off-season regimen with Todd Marinovich's dad in California when he was injured pretty much throughout the entire training camp.

Mel Blount's G
12-05-2008, 05:04 PM
It's because of Timmons.

Timmons is freeing up Troy to play a more traditional safety role. And as such, he's able to cover more of the field.
I do not agree with this at all. I don't even think timmons sees the field for the majority of defensive plays. I think it has a lot to do with the emergence/dominance of our pass rushing beasts - woodley and harrison. I also think it has a lot to do with the chemsitry troy has with ryan clarke. Them seem to totally complement eachother in the d backfield. And more than anything, as someone else said, Troy has been healthy

stlrz d
12-05-2008, 09:35 PM
We shut out Seattle last season when Troy was out.

No shutouts this season yet.

Troy sucks.

:P

:lol:

Ozey74
12-05-2008, 09:51 PM
It's great to see Gay doing well so soon in his career, especially since he was picked late in the draft. Our FO has been hazed in the past for picking some real farts in the past few years (ala Anothny Smith in Round 2).


:tt2

NorthCoast
12-05-2008, 10:38 PM
It's because of Timmons.

Timmons is freeing up Troy to play a more traditional safety role. And as such, he's able to cover more of the field.
I do not agree with this at all. I don't even think timmons sees the field for the majority of defensive plays. I think it has a lot to do with the emergence/dominance of our pass rushing beasts - woodley and harrison. I also think it has a lot to do with the chemsitry troy has with ryan clarke. Them seem to totally complement eachother in the d backfield. And more than anything, as someone else said, Troy has been healthy

Gotta agree with MBG here. It's the pass rush and play of the LBs this year that has changed where Troy plays. He is not coming up to the LOS nearly as much as he did last year and is now able to roam the backfield to make plays.

Gay showed a few flashes last season and has continue to make plays when given the chance this year. Maybe they can now consider transitioning Townsend to safety next year. Would that be a sick secondary or what?

AngryAsian
12-05-2008, 11:00 PM
Talk about an upgrade from last season. We saw Deebo's potential last year in his first year as a starter, but now he has a mirror of monstrous proportions in Wood. To have to contend with both sides of a pass rush must be a nightmare in game planning for opposing OCs. The front 3 are stuffing gaps, regardless of who we've had in there and quietly getting their sacks as well. How about the stellar interior play from Farrior and Foote, and top that off with the rotational value of someone of Timmons' athleticism being able to be inserted in all of the LB spots.

Troy can now concentrate on his position and all the responsibilities that come with it. Shif, makes a great point, in that his offseason conditioning program has tremendously impacted his health. He's now fully healthy and this coupled with the passrush up grade has given him the opportunity to produce his best season. Agreed.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
12-06-2008, 12:57 AM
IMO its because Troy is healthy, our pass rush is greatly improved, and Ryan Clark is not in a hospital bed

I'm with you on this one SN1. Remember back to the off season with Troy? Wow, first training and rehabbing away from Pittsburgh. Then slow to get a start on the season. The hysteria was starting.

After an injury filled '07, I almost forgot what a full strength Troy could do out there. He hasn't played anywhere near this level since '05.

Jooser
12-06-2008, 01:41 AM
Well, I can't find fault in any analysis by you guys. Our pass rush has been outstanding and that helps the secondary out no doubt. But, our blanket coverage by our secondary is giving the pass rush that extra second or two to get to the QB. It's a hen and egg thing I guess. Which ever is more prominent doesn't matter to me, all I know is that it's working VERY well thus far.

I think the Timmons factor has added a very good dimension as well on third down coverage. Last year, we were horrible in 3rd and long situations, but this year that has really turned around. I think Timmons ability to cover RBs and TEs has definitely freed Troy to get around and cover more ground in the secondary.

RuthlessBurgher
12-06-2008, 12:03 PM
It's great to see Gay doing well so soon in his career, especially since he was picked late in the draft. Our FO has been hazed in the past for picking some real farts in the past few years (ala Anothny Smith in Round 2).


:tt2

Actually, Anthony Smith was a 3rd round pick. We traded our 2nd round pick that year to the Vikings so they could take Tarvaris Jackson, and they gave us two 3rd rounders in return, used on Anthony Smith and Willie Reid. :HeadBanger

Although their have been some real 2nd round clunkers out there over the years (Ricardo Colclough, Alonzo Jackson, Scott Shields, Jeremy Staat, Will Blackwell, etc.) we have also had some 2nd round success with guys like Marvel Smith, Kendrell Bell (for a little while at least), Antwaan Randle El, Bryant McFadden, LaMarr Woodley, and hopefully Limas Sweed.

flippy
12-06-2008, 02:33 PM
It's because of Timmons.

Timmons is freeing up Troy to play a more traditional safety role. And as such, he's able to cover more of the field.
I do not agree with this at all. I don't even think timmons sees the field for the majority of defensive plays. I think it has a lot to do with the emergence/dominance of our pass rushing beasts - woodley and harrison. I also think it has a lot to do with the chemsitry troy has with ryan clarke. Them seem to totally complement eachother in the d backfield. And more than anything, as someone else said, Troy has been healthy

Without Timmons, Lebeau would use Troy more like a LB/DE blitzing more and playing more in the box on 3rd downs.

This is just from the perspective of freeing up Troy from doing a lot of things he used to do.

Lebeau is able to use Troy differently.

We don't see Troy running into a 300lb tackle as much this season.

And he's freed to provide more over the top coverage to the top WRs rather than always being given the assignment of the TE/RB.

Timmons is even covering WRs down the field.

Timmons is playing Troy's role last year in the nickle.