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fordfixer
03-28-2012, 01:55 AM
Steelers move to address leadership void after losing Farrior, Ward
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_788476.html

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. It is impossible to quantify, yet ill-advised to ignore.

That is why leadership was taken into account before the Steelers released longtime captains James Farrior and Hines Ward as well as Aaron Smith, another veteran that commanded respect from his teammates.

It is also why the Steelers' anticipation of what happens off the field may rival the competition that takes place on it leading up to the 2012 season.

"It will be interesting to see whose team this becomes because James Farrior was the team leader, not just the defensive leader, so we'll see who steps up," Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. "To me it's wide open, but it's something you can never predict because you never know who is going to show up when it's really required."

That is not the only reason why leadership looms as such an X-factor with the Steelers.

Turnover may be inevitable in a league where the average career span is less than four years, but the Steelers' offseason purge cost them three captains.

Farrior, an inside linebacker and defensive quarterback, and Ward, the Steelers' all-time leading receiver, had been captains for a combined 15 seasons. Arnaz Battle, released before Farrior and Ward, joined them as a special teams captain last season.

"I can't sit here and say, 'This is our leader,'" Colbert said. "We're looking for that right now."

The good news for the Steelers is they still have a significant veteran presence in their locker room. Even better: They are not new to the transition that takes place when core players from championship teams have to be replaced.

"We went through this during the '70s," Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney said Monday while taking a break during the NFL owners' meetings.

The Steelers had to replace defensive tackle Joe Greene and linebackers Andy Russell and Jack Ham following the run that produced four Super Bowl titles.

Rooney and Steelers president Art Rooney II said they expect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time captain, to take on more of a leadership role this season. And the elder Rooney said, "You still have (nose tackle) Casey (Hampton). He's a good leader."

One thing Steelers brass seems to agree on is that leadership can't be forced or conferred upon any one player.

The Steelers could not have guessed that Farrior, who signed with the franchise in 2002, would blossom into the unquestioned leader of a team that won two Super Bowls.

"It can't be something where you just say, 'OK, you're the leader,'" Rooney II said. "The leader has to really be someone that the players buy into. I think we have quite a few good young players who are the kind of players who can be leaders on the team, and we still have veteran players who can play that role, too. But it's something that evolves, and it can't be artificial. It's got to be something that just develops as the chemistry of the team develops every year."

Read more: Steelers move to address leadership void after losing Farrior, Ward - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_788476.html#ixzz1qO7zlbim

fordfixer
03-28-2012, 02:20 AM
March 28, 2012
The Altoona Mirror
http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/559376/The-Associated-Press.html?nav=753

PALM BEACH, Fla. -Mike Tomlin knew the Pittsburgh Steelers were in for a bumpy offseason. The overhaul has been even harsher than promised.

The mass exodus started a few days after the 2011 season came to a sudden end with an overtime loss to the Denver Broncos. Longtime nose tackle Chris Hoke retired. So did offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, though his sabbatical barely lasted a week before he resurfaced in Indianapolis.

Hines Ward. James Farrior. Aaron Smith. Chris Kemoeatu. The linchpins of one of football's most stable and successful franchises have beat a steady path out the door over the last three months, some the departures part of a salary purge, others the cold reality of advancing age.

While Tomlin knew such a drastic sea change was inevitable, he's also concerned about how the locker room responds.

"It's a changing of the guard," Tomlin said Tuesday at the NFL meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. "We are at the void of some leaders that we've had for an awesome run. Some guys are going to have to step up in that regard, but the more I think about it - and I've had a lot of time to think about it - it has already kind of evolved."

If the Steelers want to keep their spot near the top of the AFC, it will have to. Tomlin pointed to players like safety Ryan Clark and defensive end Brett Keisel filling the void.

Whoever takes over will be part of a team in transition. It's part of life in the NFL, though one the Steelers have largely managed to avoid over the last decade. Not this season, though Tomlin doesn't see a problem as much as he sees an opportunity.

"Football is about change," Tomlin said.

And Tomlin stressed he's a major part of the decision-making process, shooting down speculation owner Art Rooney II told the coach to get rid of Arians.

"I don't know where some of these perceptions come from," Tomlin said. "I don't break my neck and try to combat them in any way. I don't know where they come from, I don't."

The same goes for hiring Arians' replacement, former Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley. Tomlin insists he's the one that made the call on bringing in Haley.

"Don't get me wrong, Art Rooney II owns the football team," Tomlin said. "He can do what he wants to do, but those directions did not happen."

Tomlin praised Haley for bringing a new enthusiasm to the building and the "awesome" ideas Haley has for getting the Steelers into the end zone. Pittsburgh finished tied for 21st in the league in scoring and a decided lack of touchdown production in the red zone. Those numbers have to change if the Steelers are to get back to the Super Bowl.

It's a task Haley has embraced and Tomlin downplayed any sort of personality clash between the sometimes hard-nosed Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. It took the two a few days to communicate following Haley's hire, though Tomlin believes reading anything into it is ill-advised.

"I think the more those two guys work closely," he said, "they will get an understanding of who they are, what their desires are from a professional standpoint, and I don't expect any issues in that regard."

Tomlin is more concerned about what the offense is going to look like when it gets on the field.

Wide receiver Mike Wallace is a restricted free agent, and teams still have a few weeks to decide whether signing the Pro Bowler is worth the first-round draft pick they would have to surrender to do so.

General manager Kevin Colbert has stressed the Steelers would love to keep the speedy Wallace in the fold, a sentiment Tomlin echoed. Throw in the maturation of Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders and Tomlin knows the Steelers have blended into a pass-first team.

"I think our game has evolved into that," Tomlin said.

fordfixer
03-28-2012, 02:39 AM
Big Ben needs to assume more leadership
March, 27, 2012
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/44764/big-ben-needs-to-assume-more-leadership

By Jamison Hensley
Ben Roethlisberger is a two-time captain. He's led the Steelers to last-minute victories, and he's led them to the Super Bowl.

But the Steelers need more from him this season. They need him to be the leader.

Getting under the salary cap meant cutting three captains: James Farrior on defense, Hines Ward on offense, and Arnaz Battle on special teams. The Steelers also said goodbye to veterans like Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke.

"I can't sit here and say, 'This is our leader,'" Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "We're looking for that right now."

The Steelers need to look right at Roethlisberger. He has to be the unquestioned leader of the offense, and the face of the franchise. Just like there's no disputing the leader for the Patriots or the Broncos. That's Tom Brady's team. That's Peyton Manning's team. The Steelers now have to become Ben Roethlisberger's team.

Roethlisberger has been a leader on the field. He's a winner who has guided the Steelers to 80 regular-season victories in 113 games. He's helped Pittsburgh to 20 fourth-quarter comebacks. And he's done this at times while playing with broken bones and playing on one leg.

But there have been signs that Roethlisberger hasn't been the most popular player in the team's locker room.

After his second sexual assault allegation in less than a year, he wasn't voted to be a captain by his teammates in 2010. Some suggested this was an indication that he needed to earn back the trust of his teammates.

It also raised some eyebrows when the Steelers players surprisingly chose receiver-returner Antonio Brown over Roethlisberger as the team's Most Valuable Player last season.

Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney and president Art Rooney II both agreed that leadership can't be forced upon a player.



"It can't be something where you just say, 'OK, you're the leader,'" Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "The leader has to really be someone that the players buy into. I think we have quite a few good young players who are the kind of players who can be leaders on the team, and we still have veteran players who can play that role, too. But it's something that evolves, and it can't be artificial. It's got to be something that just develops as the chemistry of the team develops every year."

For most franchises, the quarterbacks are the natural leaders. But it hasn't been that way lately for the Steelers. The leadership role on offense has been passed from Jerome Bettis to Hines Ward.

With those players gone, Roethlisberger has to step up more than ever.

"He will be somebody that perhaps is looked to more now than in the past even, now that some of these other players have moved on," team president Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Maybe that leadership role will grow as we move forward."

Oviedo
03-28-2012, 07:33 AM
Leaders will naturally assert themselves. IMO Antonio Brown will step up as a leader, not the pouty Mike Wallace. Brown shows the drive and determination that people respect and that is a key part of being a leader. I also think that they would do themselves a huge benefit by resigning Jericho Cotchery.

On defense I agree that Kiesel will be one of those guys, but I'd like to see one of the big money LBs step up. Harrison, Timmons or Woodley need to step into Farrior's role. IMO Woodley is the most likely. Harrison just doesn't seem to have it and I think Timmons is alot like Troy in that he is too quiet.

phillyesq
03-28-2012, 09:41 AM
Leaders will naturally assert themselves. IMO Antonio Brown will step up as a leader, not the pouty Mike Wallace. Brown shows the drive and determination that people respect and that is a key part of being a leader. I also think that they would do themselves a huge benefit by resigning Jericho Cotchery.

On defense I agree that Kiesel will be one of those guys, but I'd like to see one of the big money LBs step up. Harrison, Timmons or Woodley need to step into Farrior's role. IMO Woodley is the most likely. Harrison just doesn't seem to have it and I think Timmons is alot like Troy in that he is too quiet.

Brown needs to grow up before he can be (or before I would want him to be) a leader. He's a great talent and a hard worker, but he falls prone to stupid antics from time to time. He needs to act more professionally before he can fill a leadership void.

On D, Keisel is an easy candidate, and I agree, James and Troy are more quiet, lead by example types. Woodley is good candidate, as are Ryan Clark and even Larry Foote.

SteelAddicted
03-28-2012, 10:39 AM
Candidates for "Leader".

James Harrison
Ryan Clark
Troy Polamalu
Ben Roethlisberger
Brett Keisel

I'm going to put my money on Ben Roethlisberger being the offensive team leader and Ryan Clark being the defensive and overall team leader.

birtikidis
03-28-2012, 11:05 AM
Cam Heyward is going to step up as a leader this year. Same with Woodley. Don't be surprised if Pouncey doesn't do the same.

Crash
03-28-2012, 12:04 PM
But there have been signs that Roethlisberger hasn't been the most popular player in the team's locker room.

After his second sexual assault allegation in less than a year, he wasn't voted to be a captain by his teammates in 2010. Some suggested this was an indication that he needed to earn back the trust of his teammates.

Typical Ravens writer. A) He didn't mention that Ben WAS captain in 2008, 2009 (After Reno), and again in 2011 (Thus "earning" the trust of his teammates, no?).

Just another schmuck with a gossip column. Then again, he thinks James Harrison repeatedly hits QBs in the head.

Hines Ward's gone. The Ben is a bad teammate angle will retire with him as well.

Jerome Bettis? Puh-leaze. This "leader" was whining about his role in the offense after they lost the division to the Bengals in 2005.

steelz09
03-28-2012, 01:12 PM
Cam Heyward is going to step up as a leader this year. Same with Woodley. Don't be surprised if Pouncey doesn't do the same.

The same guy that dissed Steelers fans, promoted a rapper minutes after the Denver game, and said to Steelers fans "You wish you had my life".

Talk about maturity.... Pouncey may be a great player but leader / role model, he is not... yet. I wouldn't want to hang my hat on him being a leader of my franchise.

Same can be said for Mike wallace.

RuthlessBurgher
03-28-2012, 01:18 PM
Veteran vocal leaders: Ben, Keisel, Clark

Veteran lead-by-example types: Troy, Harrison, Heath

Up-and-coming potential young leaders: Woodley, Pouncey, Brown

ikestops85
03-28-2012, 03:38 PM
Leaders will naturally assert themselves. IMO Antonio Brown will step up as a leader, not the pouty Mike Wallace. Brown shows the drive and determination that people respect and that is a key part of being a leader. I also think that they would do themselves a huge benefit by resigning Jericho Cotchery.

On defense I agree that Kiesel will be one of those guys, but I'd like to see one of the big money LBs step up. Harrison, Timmons or Woodley need to step into Farrior's role. IMO Woodley is the most likely. Harrison just doesn't seem to have it and I think Timmons is alot like Troy in that he is too quiet.

Can somebody tell me when Wallace has been pouty? Have any of the coaches said that about him? If he is so pouty why would Colbert say he is the team's top priority to get signed this off season? Inquiring minds want to know where this information is coming from.

williar
03-28-2012, 05:09 PM
Can somebody tell me when Wallace has been pouty? Have any of the coaches said that about him? If he is so pouty why would Colbert say he is the team's top priority to get signed this off season? Inquiring minds want to know where this information is coming from.

:Agree This is so true. I don't know what more some steeler fans want from Wallace. I haven't heard him say an offensive word since he's been here. Hasn't been in any trouble. No alleged assaults on women or anything of that nature. No "stonio" references. All he does is blow past DB's and catch touchdown passes. I'm quite sure he'll want his market value when the time comes. Other than that, what is the problem with Mike Wallace. I know! Some steeler fans just hate steeler WR's and ain't happy until they run them all out of town. And help us all if one happens to get a little excited when he makes a play... Just cut him right now why don't you... Unless your name is Heath Miller or Hines Ward, WR's get roasted in this town. :wft

NJ-STEELER
03-28-2012, 06:21 PM
The same guy that dissed Steelers fans, promoted a rapper minutes after the Denver game, and said to Steelers fans "You wish you had my life".

Talk about maturity.... Pouncey may be a great player but leader / role model, he is not... yet. I wouldn't want to hang my hat on him being a leader of my franchise.

Same can be said for Mike wallace.

on the field, he's the 1st guy to come to the aide of a player in aq scrum or if they've been roughed up

i think thats way more important then some twitter stuff. dont forget, he's still a kid,

Sugar
03-28-2012, 08:57 PM
on the field, he's the 1st guy to come to the aide of a player in aq scrum or if they've been roughed up

i think thats way more important then some twitter stuff. dont forget, he's still a kid,

:Agree Interactions with the fans and media are overrated from a leadership perspective. It's how he relates to his teammates and how they relate to him that matters as far as leadership goes.

Heaven help us if Joey Porter had Twitter in his prime! ;)

steelz09
03-28-2012, 09:15 PM
:Agree Interactions with the fans and media are overrated from a leadership perspective. It's how he relates to his teammates and how they relate to him that matters as far as leadership goes.

Heaven help us if Joey Porter had Twitter in his prime! ;)

I don't think it's overrated. Because, things like interaction w/ fans and media can turn things into a circus when the focus SHOULD be on football. If he can't interact well w/ fans then GET OFF twitter. Use something like facebook where you can still be "social" but don't need to deal w/ fans replying back.

With that being said, I agree that he's young and hopefully he makes better decisions in the future about how he communicates on twitter or any other social media site.

Slapstick
03-29-2012, 08:43 AM
Just because something is a distraction in the media does not mean that it is a distraction in the locker room...

By now, NFL teams are so used to "tweefs" (Twitter beef) being blown out of proportion that it is hardly a blip on their respective radar screens...

Oviedo
03-29-2012, 08:51 AM
Can somebody tell me when Wallace has been pouty? Have any of the coaches said that about him? If he is so pouty why would Colbert say he is the team's top priority to get signed this off season? Inquiring minds want to know where this information is coming from.

There were several things written last year about his second half demeanor changing with facing some adversity on the field and the emergence of Brown as Ben's go to target. maybe true, maybe not true but perception can be reality whether fare or not fair.

His teammates will decide whether he is a leader not us. We just offer opinions based on accurtate or inaccurate information.

aggiebones
03-29-2012, 11:35 AM
I didn't enjoy this comment from Rooney: "We went through this during the '70s," Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney said Monday while taking a break during the NFL owners' meetings.

The Steelers had to replace defensive tackle Joe Greene and linebackers Andy Russell and Jack Ham following the run that produced four Super Bowl titles. Do we really want to think of the void that was left in the 80s...Makes me want to cry. Though I don't thikn this will happen again, it is an unpleasant thought.

Crash
03-29-2012, 11:40 AM
Please. The lack of talent was why they didn't win in the 1980's, not the lack of leadership. You honestly going to try and tell me that guys like Webster, Tunch, Hinkle, Stallworth, Shell, and David Little didn't provide leadership?

skyhawk
03-29-2012, 03:10 PM
Please. The lack of talent was why they didn't win in the 1980's, not the lack of leadership. You honestly going to try and tell me that guys like Webster, Tunch, Hinkle, Stallworth, Shell, and David Little didn't provide leadership?

That's some pretty good talent.

skyhawk
03-29-2012, 03:11 PM
I really don't care about leadership in the locker room. Please. I want leadership on the field. That player is Ben Roethlisberger.

skyhawk
03-29-2012, 03:13 PM
Can somebody tell me when Wallace has been pouty? Have any of the coaches said that about him? If he is so pouty why would Colbert say he is the team's top priority to get signed this off season? Inquiring minds want to know where this information is coming from.

If "pouty" means competitive then I'm all for it.

Crash
03-29-2012, 07:48 PM
That's some pretty good talent.In some spots. But they were bad at OL all over and their CBs for the most part sucked. I won't even get into the QB play at that time.