PDA

View Full Version : Steelers turn hatred into positive



fordfixer
08-05-2011, 01:52 AM
Cook: Steelers turn hatred into positive
Friday, August 05, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11217/1165312-87-0.stm

OK, so the deal is finally, officially, mercifully done. There will be labor peace in the NFL for the next decade. It's time for the Steelers defense to set aside its persecution complex and stop the moaning. It's time for football. The players want to turn their hatred for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell into something positive? How about going to Baltimore for the opening game Sept. 11 and imagining that Ravens Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin are Goodell. Now that would be productive.

There was no way the new agreement between the players and owners wasn't going to be ratified Thursday by the players. An estimated $12 billion-to-$14 billion annually was at stake for the two sides. Steelers safety Ryan Clark predicted Wednesday that Goodell's unlimited power with player discipline could be a "deal-breaker," but that was nonsense. Other teams might not like Goodell or his clout, but they weren't going to allow it to stop the agreement. "I never heard one other player really complain much," Steelers linebacker James Farrior acknowledged.

No, Goodell's power was a Steelers issue and a Steelers issue only.

It's a shame linebacker James Harrison and Clark allowed it to become so personal. Harrison sunk to calling Goodell a "devil" and a "crook" in a Men's Journal story, not to mention a despicable gay slur. Clark insinuated at training camp Wednesday that Goodell was a frustrated "Pop Warner" player looking to make a name for himself in the NFL.

Harrison and Clark are better than that. Instead of Harrison being recognized as one of the all-time great Steelers linebackers and Clark as a leader on one of the NFL's best defenses, they are perceived nationally as whiners. So is their defense.

That's sad.

"That's a battle we can't win," wide receiver Hines Ward said of the team's feud with Goodell.

Really, who among us as employees can win a battle with the boss?

Harrison's and Clark's tactics certainly didn't help the Steelers. Juvenile name-calling never works. Goodell came across as a bigger man Wednesday when the NFL Network reported he wasn't going to discipline Harrison even though the slur Harrison used merited it. It was so offensive that Harrison apologized for it twice.

But Goodell wouldn't be human if he didn't remember Harrison's viciousness. Do you think maybe he and his staff will be watching Harrison closely this season? There is little doubt they did last season after Harrison said of hard hits on the Cleveland Browns' Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi in a game in October, "I don't want to see anyone injured, but I'm not opposed to hurting anyone ... I try to hurt people." He explained he never tries to injure anyone seriously, but he isn't against knocking an opponent out of a game. Of course, all people remembered -- including those in the NFL office -- was, "I try to hurt people ... "

"I definitely felt like we were targeted as a team," Farrior said. "I especially felt that way about James Harrison. [Goodell] can do whatever he wants. I don't think that's fair. When you fine a guy $75,000, that's a lot of money."

That was Harrison's punishment for the hit on Massaquoi, later reduced to $50,000. That staggered the Steelers, who believed it was excessive, unprecedented and against the fine guidelines they had been given by the league. By the end of the season, Harrison was fined four times for $100,000.

It's hard to come up with a reason why the Steelers were targeted other than Harrison's "hurt" comment. The Rooneys pushed hard for Goodell to get the commissioner's job. The Steelers, arguably, are the NFL's marquee team. The league benefits when they are successful because their television ratings are astronomical.

Beyond that, do you really think the Steelers would have made it to the Super Bowl last season if Goodell had a vendetta against them? I don't believe that for one second.

Speaking of not believing something ...

"[Goodell and the owners] say they're concerned about players' safety, but it's all about the money," Farrior said. "They don't care about player safety. They want to add two games to the schedule. That's contradictory to player safety right there. They're just concerned about liability for players' injuries down the road. It's all about the dollars."

There were reports Thursday that Goodell's power will be at least minimally lessened in the new CBA with a possible independent arbitrator being used for appeals of drug-related suspensions. What impact that has on the league's fine system for illegal hits remains to be seen. Goodell will keep his unlimited power to discipline players for off-field discretions.

"I'm not going to hand off the brand or reputation of the NFL to somebody who is not associated with the NFL, I promise you that," Goodell said this week.

Said Farrior, "That doesn't have to be an issue. That shouldn't be an issue."

Rough translation:

"Stay out of trouble and you won't give Goodell the opportunity to pop you."

Farrior is the Steelers' unquestioned leader and one of the wisest players in the NFL. He says the team is ready to move on from Goodell, a good thing because that game in Baltimore is just 37 days away.

"We're going to play the way we always play," Farrior said. "We only know one way to play."

And if the fines from the NFL still come?

"We'll just do what we always do," Farrior said, grinning. "We'll bitch and moan and then we'll move in. That's all we can do."

Not just this season.

For the next decade.
Ron Cook: rcook@post-gazette.com. Ron Cook can be heard on the "Vinnie and Cook" show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan. More articles by this author

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11217/11 ... z1U8BLDT1b (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11217/1165312-87-0.stm#ixzz1U8BLDT1b)

hawaiiansteel
08-05-2011, 01:59 AM
Kovacevic: Steelers must sustain fear factor

By Dejan Kovacevic, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, August 5, 2011


Troy Polamalu isn't about to pull aside some rookie here at St. Vincent College, grit his teeth and grill the kid on how the Steelers' defense instills fear in opponents.

"I don't think it's something that's ever talked about," Polamalu told me before practice the other day. "I think that when people come here ... you just see right away that they don't fit in. Like, we don't have raw cover corners here. I've seen great cover corners in these camps who just didn't make our team."

So, I came back, how does one fit in?

"I just think we play football in its purest form," he said, "and that's hitting and tackling, regardless of what the rules may say."

Polamalu laughed, but this topic isn't shaping up to be a joke this season. Ask me, and there is no more pressing priority for the Steelers in 2011 and beyond than retaining that fear factor within the NFL's new guidelines for hitting.

We're talking about the very foundation of a half-century of football excellence, from the drafting of "Mean" Joe Greene to the toothless snarl of Jack Lambert, the fury of Mel Blount, the dark disposition of Greg Lloyd, the hot-headed rants of Joey Porter and, yeah, even those fans' hoagie sales last year aimed at paying James Harrison's fines.

Is it any wonder the Steelers griped more about Roger Goodell than the other 31 teams combined in advance of the labor agreement, not least of which was their team-wide rejection of the pact yesterday?

They're defending their identity.

"The Steelers do have that mystique, but you've got to keep that through your play," said Ryan Clark, the hard-hitting safety and union rep who is by far the loudest of those protesting mouths. "It's very important for teams to know that you can't come across the middle and not be hit, for teams to know you can't run away from James Harrison because he'll seek you out. That's who we are."

As only he can, Clark digressed deftly into a boxing analogy.

"It's kind of like that Mike Tyson mystique. Before Buster Douglas beat him, nobody even wanted to step into the ring with him. But once Tyson lost, then people felt like there was a blueprint. They wanted to get into that ring. That's why you can't let go of what you've got."

He's right. At the veteran level, the hardest hitters must maintain the same approach, even as they adjust away from the head, away from opponents deemed vulnerable. They still need to hit to hurt.

Harrison, of all people, provided the best example late last season. He hated the fines to the point of threatening retirement, but he didn't tone down his aggression even as he picked up no further punishment despite all eyes watching.

Funny thing is, the man won't admit that he or the Steelers changed a thing. Nor that they should.

"That's just our defense," Harrison said. "We're going to play the game within the rules, whatever the changes may be or even if they make any more. We're going to go out and hit people in the mouth. Every year, it's a different thing they're saying you can or can't do. It's no different than any other year."

Hey, whatever works. If Harrison takes a pay-to-play mindset into the game but still keeps the new guidelines in the back of his mind, he'll remain a dangerous — and feared —player. Sounds like it might be workable for all of the team's hardest hitters, actually.

"We've just got to go out there and play," Clark said. "Let them worry about what's legal or not."

The earliest stages of camp have set the tone, judging by coach Mike Tomlin's terrific assessment of one session this week: "Some licks were passed. In some instances, the hits were high technically. In others, we weren't violent enough." Lawrence Timmons leveled Rashard Mendenhall in one drill. Harrison was banging shoulders with rookie running back Baron Batch in another.

The latter might have been one of those silent indoctrinations Polamalu described.

"Oh, we all know as rookies, believe me," said Cam Heyward, the first-round pick and iron-headed defensive end. "If you want to play for this team, you've got to be aggressive. It's almost like a rite of passage: Show no mercy."

When the Steelers do, you can kiss that half-century of excellence goodbye.

Just ask the guy who started it all.

"This 'D' needs to be who they are," said Greene, observing in camp as a special assistant. "This isn't tennis. This isn't golf. It's a rough, tough game. You need to make guys afraid to line up against you. These players will do that, and they'll adjust. You'll see. They just need to think out there."

THE NEW RULES

The NFL's new safety guidelines, approved in May, prohibit "forcibly hitting the neck or head area" of any player. They also prohibit hits against a player in a "defenseless posture," which was redefined as the following:

>> A player in the act or just after throwing a pass

>> A receiver attempting to catch a pass or one who has not completed a catch and hasn't had time to protect himself or hasn't clearly become a runner

>> A runner whose forward progress has been stopped

>> A kickoff or punt returner attempting to field a kick in the air

>> A player on the ground at the end of a play

>> A kicker/punter during a return

>> A quarterback any time after a turnover

>> A player who receives a blindside block when the blocker is moving toward his own end-line and approaches the opponent from behind or the side

Source: NFL

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1U7j3naQH (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_750127.html#ixzz1U7j3naQH)

flippy
08-05-2011, 08:51 AM
The real story that no one's reporting is Lebeau.

He's the one telling the guys to play the same way they've always played.

Hit the same way.

Change nothing.

And everyone is following Lebeau's lead.

The players might be saying the wrong things in the media, but the Rooney's and Tomlin don't seem to mind. I think they actually like it.

Oviedo
08-05-2011, 08:54 AM
The real story that no one's reporting is Lebeau.

He's the one telling the guys to play the same way they've always played.

Hit the same way.

Change nothing.

And everyone is following Lebeau's lead.

The players might be saying the wrong things in the media, but the Rooney's and Tomlin don't seem to mind. I think they actually like it.

Is LeBeau paying their fines??????

feltdizz
08-05-2011, 09:11 AM
Like, we don't have raw cover corners here. I've seen great cover corners in these camps who just didn't make our team."

I really hate the way this sounds...

flippy
08-05-2011, 09:46 AM
Like, we don't have raw cover corners here. I've seen great cover corners in these camps who just didn't make our team."

I really hate the way this sounds...

I wondered who he was talking about when he said that. Maybe a guy like Ricardo C who looked like a decent coverage guy, but we all know that guy feared contact.

I do think Lebeau and the Steelers weight tackling higher than coverage with guys like Ike and BMac being the prototype. BMac especially is questionable in coverage sometime, but he's also probably the best tackling DB we have.

chiken
08-05-2011, 09:57 AM
gotta be able to Tackle in the burgh.

Regular Fans love Deon Sanders but every true Steelers Fan would Take Woodson everyday of the week over the guy (twice on Sundays)

We've always been that way.

papillon
08-05-2011, 09:58 AM
Kovacevic: Steelers must sustain fear factor

By Dejan Kovacevic, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, August 5, 2011


Troy Polamalu isn't about to pull aside some rookie here at St. Vincent College, grit his teeth and grill the kid on how the Steelers' defense instills fear in opponents.

"I don't think it's something that's ever talked about," Polamalu told me before practice the other day. "I think that when people come here ... you just see right away that they don't fit in. Like, we don't have raw cover corners here. I've seen great cover corners in these camps who just didn't make our team."

So, I came back, how does one fit in?

"I just think we play football in its purest form," he said, "and that's hitting and tackling, regardless of what the rules may say."

Polamalu laughed, but this topic isn't shaping up to be a joke this season. Ask me, and there is no more pressing priority for the Steelers in 2011 and beyond than retaining that fear factor within the NFL's new guidelines for hitting.

We're talking about the very foundation of a half-century of football excellence, from the drafting of "Mean" Joe Greene to the toothless snarl of Jack Lambert, the fury of Mel Blount, the dark disposition of Greg Lloyd, the hot-headed rants of Joey Porter and, yeah, even those fans' hoagie sales last year aimed at paying James Harrison's fines.

Is it any wonder the Steelers griped more about Roger Goodell than the other 31 teams combined in advance of the labor agreement, not least of which was their team-wide rejection of the pact yesterday?

They're defending their identity.

"The Steelers do have that mystique, but you've got to keep that through your play," said Ryan Clark, the hard-hitting safety and union rep who is by far the loudest of those protesting mouths. "It's very important for teams to know that you can't come across the middle and not be hit, for teams to know you can't run away from James Harrison because he'll seek you out. That's who we are."

As only he can, Clark digressed deftly into a boxing analogy.

"It's kind of like that Mike Tyson mystique. Before Buster Douglas beat him, nobody even wanted to step into the ring with him. But once Tyson lost, then people felt like there was a blueprint. They wanted to get into that ring. That's why you can't let go of what you've got."

He's right. At the veteran level, the hardest hitters must maintain the same approach, even as they adjust away from the head, away from opponents deemed vulnerable. They still need to hit to hurt.

Harrison, of all people, provided the best example late last season. He hated the fines to the point of threatening retirement, but he didn't tone down his aggression even as he picked up no further punishment despite all eyes watching.

Funny thing is, the man won't admit that he or the Steelers changed a thing. Nor that they should.

"That's just our defense," Harrison said. "We're going to play the game within the rules, whatever the changes may be or even if they make any more. We're going to go out and hit people in the mouth. Every year, it's a different thing they're saying you can or can't do. It's no different than any other year."

Hey, whatever works. If Harrison takes a pay-to-play mindset into the game but still keeps the new guidelines in the back of his mind, he'll remain a dangerous — and feared —player. Sounds like it might be workable for all of the team's hardest hitters, actually.

"We've just got to go out there and play," Clark said. "Let them worry about what's legal or not."

The earliest stages of camp have set the tone, judging by coach Mike Tomlin's terrific assessment of one session this week: "Some licks were passed. In some instances, the hits were high technically. In others, we weren't violent enough." Lawrence Timmons leveled Rashard Mendenhall in one drill. Harrison was banging shoulders with rookie running back Baron Batch in another.

The latter might have been one of those silent indoctrinations Polamalu described.

"Oh, we all know as rookies, believe me," said Cam Heyward, the first-round pick and iron-headed defensive end. "If you want to play for this team, you've got to be aggressive. It's almost like a rite of passage: Show no mercy."

When the Steelers do, you can kiss that half-century of excellence goodbye.

Just ask the guy who started it all.

"This 'D' needs to be who they are," said Greene, observing in camp as a special assistant. "This isn't tennis. This isn't golf. It's a rough, tough game. You need to make guys afraid to line up against you. These players will do that, and they'll adjust. You'll see. They just need to think out there."

THE NEW RULES

The NFL's new safety guidelines, approved in May, prohibit "forcibly hitting the neck or head area" of any player. They also prohibit hits against a player in a "defenseless posture," which was redefined as the following:

>> A player in the act or just after throwing a pass

>> A receiver attempting to catch a pass or one who has not completed a catch and hasn't had time to protect himself or hasn't clearly become a runner

>> A runner whose forward progress has been stopped

>> A kickoff or punt returner attempting to field a kick in the air

>> A player on the ground at the end of a play

>> A kicker/punter during a return

>> A quarterback any time after a turnover

>> A player who receives a blindside block when the blocker is moving toward his own end-line and approaches the opponent from behind or the side

Source: NFL

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1U7j3naQH (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_750127.html#ixzz1U7j3naQH)

The highlighted rule is problematic; you can expect higher scores this year to be sure. Now a receiver can be outstretched and exposed with a hand on the ball, but the defender can't hit him until he catches the ball and can protect himself. You can expect quarterbacks to start throwing passes a little high which will allow their guy to go get it without the worry of a hit.

Pappy

Slapstick
08-05-2011, 10:44 AM
"Like, we don't have raw cover corners here. I've seen great cover corners in these camps who just didn't make our team."

I really hate the way this sounds...

This is why we don't pursue the Antonio Cromarties of the world...

The zone blitz 3-4 is one of the defenses that absolutely requires strong tackling by the CBs (the Tampa 2 is another, for example)...it is a bend-don't-break defense that is intended to minimize big plays on the back end....this is why the Anthony Smiths of the world don't work out here either...

sentinel33
08-05-2011, 10:49 AM
It's not the fines I'm worried about. It's the suspensions.

Shoot-I'll send money to help pay for the fines. Just keep my boys on the field.

The first two rules listed are absolute horse$h!t!

If they truly enforce this, football is screwed.

A QB can just sit back there and constantly pump(cause that is the act of throwin) and not get touched. WTF?

And why are hits to the head alright just because a player is "running" the ball. That's still just as big of a safety issue as any of those other hits that they are outlawing.

That's why this whole "make the game safer" and "safety for the players" campaign stinks.
The hypocrisy runs rampant throughout. From what Farrior said about the 18 game schedule to the inconsistant rules regarding hits.

Please don't make me hate the game I love.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
08-05-2011, 11:25 AM
>> A player in the act or just after throwing a pass

So, according to this rule, the Nick Collins int TD in the SB would have been called back and there would have been a penalty against GB for hitting Ben in the act of throwing?

Thats just dumb. :roll:

pittpete
08-05-2011, 12:01 PM
>> A receiver attempting to catch a pass or one who has not completed a catch and hasn't had time to protect himself or hasn't clearly become a runner

The NFL just added a change to this rule that states
>>Defnder can now tag said defenseless reciever with two hands, as long as thier is no noticable force on said two-hand touch....
What a FN joke..
These rules are starting to define what is going wrong in our "once great country" :roll: :roll:

ikestops85
08-05-2011, 01:59 PM
>> A player in the act or just after throwing a pass

So now we can't hit the QB as he is throwing. :wft

I see our linebackers sack total going way down and their fines going way up ... and they think this isn't changing the game :roll:

flippy
08-05-2011, 05:41 PM
It will still be ok to drill Ben or Byron. No flag will get thrown for hits on either of those guys.

Ward and Wallace will be allowed to be layed out.

It's going to be interesting how these rules gets applied to our offense versus our defense.

Djfan
08-06-2011, 12:28 AM
THIS is the issue that burns my bacon. The game we all grew up loving is going away. It only hurts defensive teams. The Peyton Mannings and Marsha Bradys of the world will love it.