View Full Version : Steelers boast Super Bowl veterans

01-10-2011, 01:57 AM
January 9, 2011
Steelers boast Super Bowl veterans
http://tribune-democrat.com/sports/x419 ... l-veterans (http://tribune-democrat.com/sports/x419263983/Steelers-boast-Super-Bowl-veterans)
By JIM WEXELL For The Tribune-Democrat The Tribune-Democrat Sun Jan 09, 2011, 11:23 PM EST

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have won two rings in the past five years, so naturally they’re considered a savvy group of hardened veterans.

But on Saturday in their playoff opener, the Steelers will start only eight starters from both Super Bowls, and 14 starters from the past Super Bowl.

That’s out of 24 starters.

“There are definitely a bunch of guys in here that haven’t been to the top of the mountain,” said defensive end Brett Keisel.

“I’m not sensing nervousness. I think everybody’s excited to be in this position.

“But we hope to put these guys under our wing and show them how to prepare and get ready for this run.”

They did that last week. Before what amounted to a first-round playoff game in Cleveland, the Steelers enjoyed “the best week of practice we had all year,” said Keisel. “The sense of urgency was there.”

It resulted in a Bye Week, which, under coach Mike Tomlin, meant Rookie Week on the practice field. Players such as Emmanuel Sanders took advantage.

Stepping in for Hines Ward at practice, Sanders was the playmaker for Ben Roethlisberger that the Steelers envisioned on draft day. Sanders’ confidence this past week was obvious.

“Yeah, it’s starting to come on,” he said.

“We got the opportunity to learn the minute details of the offense and it definitely helped. I learned things about the offense I didn’t know because they’re working me in the slot and outside receiver. I’m getting way more comfortable.

“Not only that, but ever since Week 10 I’ve been the No. 3 receiver and getting more reps at practice, so me and Ben’s chemistry is starting to click, too. It’s all coming on.”

Sanders, Antonio Brown and Maurkice Pouncey are three rookies who’ll play critical roles on offense Saturday. Other key starters such as WR Mike Wallace, RB Rashard Mendenhall and DE Ziggy Hood will be in their first playoff games.

“I’m kind of blind because I’ve never been to the playoffs,” said Wallace. “I’m following the lead here. But, still, I know how to play football and I’m going to play it to the best of my ability every play.”

“When you come into this locker room, you know this is a team of winners,” said Hood. “So you have to put yourself in that right state of mind so you can go out there and win a world championship.”

Hood was asked if the veterans flash their rings to the youngsters.

“No,” he said. “Everyone says that no ring is as important as the next one.”

“It feels good to be on a veteran team,” added Sanders. “I can just see the attitudes of the guys change in how they approach practice, how they approach film study, how they approach everything, because they know what’s at stake and they’re trying to instill that in us and they’re doing a real good job. We know what’s at stake.”

The steady rocks – hardened starters through two successful playoff runs – are Roethlisberger, Ward, Heath Miller, Casey Hampton, James Farrior, James Harrison, Ike Taylor, and Troy Polamalu. Of the 53 on their active roster, 33 have played in a playoff game.

What’s the best advice a veteran can give?

“Go out there and just do your job,” said nine-year veteran NT Chris Hoke. “Don’t worry about trying to make plays, or trying to do something monstrous. Go out there and carry out your responsibility. We’ve got enough playmakers on this team. Everyone else has to do their job.”

01-10-2011, 03:02 AM
The article forgot to mention a coaching staff that knows how to win a SB too.

Discipline of Steel
01-11-2011, 09:28 AM
The article forgot to mention a coaching staff that knows how to win a SB too.

Silence! You blasphemer... How dare you credit our coordinators for their successes.

01-11-2011, 04:54 PM
When I read this:

"Other key starters such as WR Mike Wallace, RB Rashard Mendenhall and DE Ziggy Hood will be in their first playoff games."

I thought "wait...this is Mendy's 3rd season and we won the Super Bowl 2 years ago" but then remembered that he was on I.R. after the first month of his rookie year, so he missed that playoff run entirely. Time to pay Ray Lewis back this weekend for making him miss out on that glory.

01-12-2011, 08:40 PM
These Steelers have little time left to cement their legacy

Associated Press
Published: Jan. 12, 2011

PITTSBURGH -- Dealing with the Ravens' Ray Lewis, Ray Rice and Ed Reed will be difficult enough for the Steelers during their all-AFC North Divisional Playoff game Saturday.

In terms of historical perspective, the Steelers also will be competing with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, and Tom Brady. And, from their own past, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Mean Joe Greene.

If the Steelers (12-4) beat the Ravens (13-4), they'll advance to their fifth AFC Championship Game in 10 seasons and their eighth since 1994. They'll also be one victory away from their third Super Bowl in six seasons. Only four franchises -- including Pittsburgh -- have won at least three Super Bowls with the same quarterback and core group of players.

Although these Steelers are among the NFL's most accomplished teams -- their 116 regular-season and playoff victories since 2001 is third-best in the NFL -- they are among the oldest. James Farrior and Charlie Batch are 36. Hines Ward and Aaron Smith will be 35 within a few months. Chris Hoke is 34, Casey Hampton is 33, Brett Keisel is 32. Troy Polamalu will be 30 in April.

They don't need anyone to tell them what that means, especially since free agency makes it difficult for any championship-type team to keep its key players together for more than a few seasons.

"We have one or two more years left in us," Ward said Wednesday. "That's why this one is a little more special to us. We're two games away (from the Super Bowl). And we know how hard it is to get in this position."

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 28 and likely can count on a few more deep playoff runs, but the rest of a group that has repeatedly kept the Steelers in contention probably can't. They have this season, and maybe next, if they're to join the '70s-era Steelers (four Super Bowls won with Bradshaw), 49ers (four with Montana), Cowboys (three with Aikman) and Patriots (three with Brady).

They're not printing T-shirts or putting up any motivational signs, but these Steelers want to accomplish it. Especially because no other franchise has done it twice.

"We'd love to be part of the same legacy the previous Steelers had," said Smith, who has been out since mid-October with a triceps injury. "But I think, really, this group is so focused on just winning this one.

"When we're all said and done and we're 10 years out of this league, we can look back and think about what kind of special group this was. But I think this group is just motivated on winning games and winning Super Bowls right now."

Getting by Baltimore will be a challenge. The division rivals have split their four games the past two seasons, with each decided by three points. Only one of their last seven games was decided by more than four points; Pittsburgh beat Baltimore 23-14 in the AFC Championship Game two seasons ago.

"We know what it's going to take to beat Baltimore here in our backyard," Ward said. "We're excited for the playoffs. A lot of people (in the league) have had two weeks off. They're already on vacation. So we know how rare it is to make it in this position, and the approach we've got to take. Lose and you go home, so the sense of urgency of going out there and doing the task at hand is there."

Winning divisional-round games usually isn't a problem for the Steelers; they've won five of their last six and seven of their last nine. They haven't dropped one at home since 1992 against the Buffalo Bills. They also are 8-0 against division rivals in the playoffs since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, and they're 7-1 in the postseason since 2005.

Yet Ward remembers how the Steelers lost AFC Championship Games at home against New England during the 2001 and 2004 seasons. He doesn't want to get so close to playing for a title, only to lose again.

"We all think about it. The veteran guys, you get a greater appreciation because we know we (soon) won't even be together," Ward said. "For us, we want to take advantage of the opportunities we have now. We have a great nucleus of young guys that surround us -- Mike Wallace, (Maurkice) Pouncey, (Rashard) Mendenhall, (Lawrence) Timmons -- so guys like myself, James Farrior, Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, we realize our time is coming soon. Opportunities like this, we appreciate a lot more. Let's seize the moment while we can."

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8 ... eir-legacy (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d81da3924/article/these-steelers-have-little-time-left-to-cement-their-legacy)