View Full Version : Farrior: Steelers “want to try to change the way we play"

12-16-2011, 12:18 AM
James Farrior says Steelers “want to try to change the way we play”

Posted by Mike Florio on December 15, 2011


The list of players apparently ignoring coach Mike Tomlin’s gag order on the James Harrison suspension continues to grow.

Steelers linebacker James Farrior, in a Thursday appearance on The Jim Rome Show, addressed the situation arising from Harrison’s latest violation of the rules. Projecting something less than the trademark defiance that has characterized the Steelers’ reaction to recent emphasis on illegal helmet-to-helmet hits, Farrior explained that he believes Harrison and other players need to change the way they plays.

“James is a passionate player,” Farrior said. “He plays the game with a lot of emotion. He’s an awesome player. I know he said he’s not going to change, but I know in the back of his mind, he’s gotta be really conscious about what’s he doing out there on the field.

“I hope he’s not that stubborn that he’s going to keep doing stuff like that. We see what happens when we do stuff like that — we get suspended, we get fined. You know, we’re just kind of tired of being a target for the NFL, being the poster boy for these type of hits. We want to try to change the way we play. We still want to play as aggressive as we can, but we gotta play within the guidelines of the game.”

Though Farrior doesn’t believe that Harrison should have been suspended, Farrior thinks it’s time to submit to the league’s rules. “I think we have to accept it,” Farrior said.

“We’re putting ourselves in bad situations, getting guys suspended. The only thing that’s going to do is hurt the team in the long run. That’s not what we want to do. That’s not what we’re about.”

Farrior deserves a ton of credit not only for coming to that conclusion, but also for verbalizing it. Even if Harrison doesn’t realize that the suspension serves as a wake-up call for change, if it has that effect on his teammates, it’s worth it.

But then there are men like Troy Polamalu, who believe it’s impossible to teach an old dog new tricks. “I don’t think any football player is going to go out there and change the way they’re playing. I think it’s too late in our lives to really do that,” Polamalu said.

That’s a cop out, and it perpetuates the stereotype that football players are cement-headed goons. Anyone can change anything they do, if they truly want to do it. If they don’t truly want to do it, they simply say they can’t.

Polamalu doesn’t want to change; Farrior realizes that they have to.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... hes-doing/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/15/james-farrior-says-james-harrison-needs-to-be-conscious-about-what-hes-doing/)

12-16-2011, 01:48 PM
James Farrior says Steelers “want to try to change the way we play”

Posted by Mike Florio on December 15, 2011



That’s a cop out, and it perpetuates the stereotype that football players are cement-headed goons. Anyone can change anything they do, if they truly want to do it. If they don’t truly want to do it, they simply say they can’t.

Polamalu doesn’t want to change; Farrior realizes that they have to.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... hes-doing/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/15/james-farrior-says-james-harrison-needs-to-be-conscious-about-what-hes-doing/)

Depends upon your perspective, I would guess there are more than a few players that think submitting to league rules that babify the game would think THAT is a cop out.

These rule changes are leading to the sport being depend on one man (QB) which is the antithesis of a team sport. Times were once when a team could overcome having an average QB with strong defensive performance and strong running Offense. Look now, the teams with better QBs are winning and doing it with on the arm of the QB (or in Tebow's case, his legs).
Sometimes I yearn for the "three yards and a cloud of dust" days, where all the QB needed to do was make sure the handoff was clean.

12-17-2011, 02:05 PM
Ed: Ham Never Tackled Like That


Good morning,

Here we are, another big game and what is everyone talking about? Suspensions, fines, rules, blah, blah, blah. It almost makes you long for more stories about concussions.

The NFL was wrong for suspending James Harrison because it's too stiff a punishment for the hit he put on Colt McCoy. However, Harrison is wrong for the hit he put on McCoy.

Many of you never saw Jack Ham play, but you know he's in the Hall of Fame, has four Super Bowl rings and is held up by many as the perfect outside linebacker, back when outside linebackers weren't the pass-rushing demons they are today.

I never saw Ham tackle the way Harrison tackled McCoy. Ham never led with his head. He never tried to blow people up, as so many defenders do today. Ham put his arms around the ballcarrier, wrapped him up and brought him down.

So don't tell me that's how it's been done for years. It's not been done like that for years. It's a more modern phenomenon. Don't get me wrong, many hits were brutal back in the 1980s, '70s and earlier. Guys hit others out of bounds and were never called for it. Joe "Turkey" Jones of Cleveland once spiked Terry Bradshaw into the turf in Cleveland, picked him up, turned him upside down and spike him head first.

But you did not see many of the tackles the way James Harrison does it, head first. You don't see too many others doing it either. James Farrior doesn't do it, Larry Foote doesn't do it, LaMarr Woodley. Brett Keisel, I don't think he's ever been fined for such a tackle.

The point is, we may not think Harrison should have been suspended for that tackle, but he was. The NFL has sent word that you cannot tackle like that anymore. So, instead of complaining about it, something needs to be done -- Harrison and others like Ryan Clark who tackle that way simply have to stop. It does not matter that they've been tackling that way all of their football lives, they can't do it anymore. The NFL has ruled and now has stepped up its game in this matter.

It's not just Roger Goodell either. The owners voted for these new rules, and Art Rooney was one who voted for them. I believe it was a unanimous vote but if it wasn't, there were few dissenters. Goodell and Co. are merely carrying out the wishes of the owners.

Many believe the NFL has become a nanny league and I too believe it has gone too far with the fines and now suspension (Doug Legursky is fined for a clip?), but it's not like they've snuck up on everyone. This is what they want, and it's their league. The players obviously want it too -- the NFLPA is looking into why the Cleveland Browns sent Colt McCoy back into the game last Thursday after the Harrison hit.

Maybe the punishment from the league went from fine to suspension for some words Harrison spoke in Men's Journal this year. Remember that? Here is what Harrison said in that article, calling Goodell "a crook and a puppet.''

"If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it. I hate him and will never respect him.''

There. Goodell is only human and I don't want to hear that he wasn't the one who decided that Harrison would be suspended. Someone else did his bidding for him. And I cannot blame Goodell for doing so. He may have been waiting for just this opportunity after what Harrison said about him.

The Steelers, by the way, went 4-0 without Harrison when he was injured this season.

Onto some stuff:

-- The 49ers have just as much incentive as far as the post-season goes as the Steelers do on Monday night. A bye in the playoffs is a big incentive because it's like winning your first playoff game if you get one, and then you play at home the following week. The difference is simple: Two games, both on the road, vs. one game at home.

-- Here's a way to solve the helmet-to-helmet hits: Get rid of the helmets.

-- YOU: 3 games to get 9 catches. Do you think Ward gets them? FYI, the view from SF is doom and gloom. You should see the fans jumping off the band wagon out here. Many broken ankles this week. And they are confident that they cannot beat a team as good as the Steelers. I feel like I am back in Pittsburgh.
ME: Fans are fans, no matter where they are. Yes, I believe Ward will get those nine catches, somehow, maybe a couple on Monday and then seven more on Christmas Eve.

-- YOU: I'm not sure why we should be surprised about Harrison's suspension. However in light of the Steelers being questioned on a national broadcast in regards to how they handle concussions, which seems absurd considering there hasn't been an instance of a concussed player going back into a game. It seem that the Steelers emphasis on concussions took place with Cowher as a head coach and Dr. Maroon much longer before the league made it a priority. How can the league not take a more firm stance with the Browns since they allowed their QB to go back after he was knocked goofy? Also will the referee crew, I believe Ed Hochuli's, be disciplined since the league now requires the officials to be aware of concussions? If player safety is the goal, suspending Harrison is only a part of the equation. Wouldn't Colt McCoy have a greater shot at suing the league and or Browns since there seemed to be lack of protocol followed?
ME: The Browns did not handle that well and the league should be looking into it, as the union is.

-- YOU: Do you think Harrison would have served himself (and the Steelers) better if he had not spoken of what he thought would or should happen yesterday? To my thinking, he almost dared the league to suspend him by declaring he should not be fined or suspended. Since you're more in the know, curious as to your take. Enjoy your work.
ME: No, I don't think that hurt him, as much as maybe those words in Men's Journal did.

-- YOU: Any idea how large of an exposure the league is facing from the former players with concussion lawsuits? I know it's got to be a huge expense and is a main driver for the crackdown on player safety, but is the league considering how many fans they are turning OFF with the new rules? With the James Harrison suspension, for the first time ever, I'm actually thinking about what I'd rather be doing than watching the NFL-which has lost validity to me. As always, love the slog.

ME: Fortunately, I'm not a lawyer, nor a judge and I haven't read much on this. Here's my opinion: Few people 20 years ago knew that much about concussions or even studied them much. There was probably more interest in finding a way to repair the rotator cuff than there was in avoiding and treating concussions. So, I don't know that the players from back then have a leg to stand on if they sue, not to mention the statue of limitations. Plus, how do you prove anything at this point? And, do you blame the team or do you blame the player himself for it? Take the Pens' Sidney Crosby, for example. After all that time off after his concussion, he returned to the ice, only to leave again now because he has more symptoms. Years from now, could he blame the team for sending him back out there? Or was it his decision?

-- YOU: Ed, what is going on with the NFL and potential action against Rolando McLain? I have to assume they are waiting for some of the legal process to play out before determining length of suspension. IMO, At a minimum his actions with gun charges brought at minimum equal negative attention to the NFL as they perceived other "guilty or not situation" to have brought.
ME: You'd have to think they are investigating it, as they did with Ben R. They had the luxury with Ben of it happening in March but with the season going on, the spotlight is on. I have no doubt they will suspend him for that, eventually, maybe even next season.

-- YOU: am I the only one who saw Mendy get hit, helmet to helmet, on one of the runs where they were stuffed at the goal line??

ME: Those are legal because they are not defenseless.

-- YOU: Listening to the fall-out of the James Harrison suspension on morning radio shows, it became apparent to me that at least a few have a problem with Harrison leading with the head; if he doesn’t lead with the head, then all is fine and he’s playing in SF on Monday night. Assuming the prior statement would be true, and given the hard stance the NHL is taking on concussions (which I believe illegal head shots are just around the corner), how long (if ever) do you think it is before they outlaw leading with the head in the NFL?

ME: I would have no problem with that. Make it a blanket rule. I played high school football a long, long time ago and we were never taught to lead with our head.

-- YOU: In regard to the hit on Ben, when is a hit below the knee illegal? Only when the quarterback is in the pocket? It doesnt seem fair that Harrison gets fined for hitting a quarterback outside the pocket when the quarterback is deemed a runner, but Ben does not get the same protection outside the pocket. I realize the Harrison hit was illegal because it was helmet to helmet. Was Ray Lewis fined for his helmet to helmet hit on Hines?

ME: If he's out of the pocket, you can tackle him low, and yes, Lewis was fined, I believe $20,000.

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