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hawaiiansteel
05-21-2012, 04:01 PM
Can Troy Polamalu Still Be A Game-Changer?

Monday, May 21st, 2012 by Jeremy Hritz

Troy Polamalu has cemented his legacy with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he will forever be remembered as one of the best to don the black and gold uniform. His knack for game changing plays, none more famous than the interception for a touchdown in the 2008 AFC Championship Game, and his peerless skill set, make him a once in a lifetime player that will sorely be missed one day by the Steelers organization and fans alike.

Soon, Polamalu will be entering his tenth NFL season at 31 years of age, long removed from the young man that was selected 16th overall by the Steelers in the 2003 NFL Draft. As brutal as it is to accept, Polamalu’s time in Pittsburgh is slowly reaching its conclusion.

History says that Hall of Fame safeties, which Polamalu will eventually become, play an average of 15 seasons. The 49ers Ronnie Lott played for 15 seasons; Ken Houston, who played for the Oilers and Redskins, played for 14 seasons; and Brian Dawkins, who played for the Eagles and Broncos, and Paul Krause, who played for the Redskins and Vikings, both played for 16 seasons. If there is any merit to this, fans can expect Polamalu to play for four to five years after the 2012 season.

But just how effective will Polamalu be this coming season, and the final few seasons of his career?

While Polamalu has always been known as a linebacker/defensive back hybrid that makes unrivaled stops in the running game, his abilities in coverage are not commensurate, as the element of his game that makes him great, his aggressiveness and risk-taking, can make him a liability. What’s more is that following his achievement of Defensive Player of the Year, Polamalu seemed to be off of his game, and in the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers, his performance was quiet, as Aaron Rodgers and company had their way with Steelers’ secondary. In that game, Polamalu recorded only three tackles, and he gave up two touchdown receptions to wide receiver Greg Jennings. After the game, in typical Polamalu fashion, he accepted complete responsibility for his performance. Yet high character or not, the Steelers still lost out on capturing a seventh Lombardi, and had Polamalu made the plays that he had a reputation for making, the outcome of the game could have been completely different.

Polamalu followed up his poor play in the Super Bowl with a decent year in 2011, but one that lacked his signature splash plays. He also appeared a step slower in coverage, specifically against Baltimore in week one when covering Ed Dickson, and when covering A.J. Green in the first matchup against Cincinnati on the road. Unsurprisingly, he still remained effective against the run.

Whether or not these types of performances are now the standard has yet to be seen.

Polamalu’s past injuries are also variables in not only his future performance, but also his longevity. An Achilles issue aggravated him near the end of the season in 2010, and just a year before, he practically missed the entire 2009 season with a knee injury, playing in only five games. What is more of a concern is Polamalu’s concussion history which dates back to his days at USC, and the concussion-like symptoms he experienced against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011. With the stringency the NFL is placing on how teams handle concussions, and with new fears emerging regarding the long-term effects, especially after the suicide of Junior Seau, Polamalu could think twice before stepping back on the field if he experiences another concussion.

Polamalu is by no means washed up, and even if his skills have diminished slightly, he is still better than 90% of safeties in the NFL. He has become one of the most, if not the most, beloved Steeler of the past nine years whose name is not Hines Ward. This coming Tuesday, Polamalu will likely attend OTAs, something that he has passed on in previous years to train at home in California. Hopefully his arrival in Pittsburgh finds him rested and ready to get to work with his teammates for next season. And hopefully in the process, he can rediscover his knack for the big play.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/can_troy_polamalu_still_be_a_game_changer/10838786

RuthlessBurgher
05-21-2012, 04:06 PM
Can Troy Polamalu Still Be A Game-Changer?

I'll take "Yes" for $1000, Alex.

steelblood
05-21-2012, 05:10 PM
http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/kristenwiig_gilly_290.jpg
uh-huh

Shoe
05-21-2012, 09:59 PM
Of course the answer is Yes--he can. But in the next breath, the team (and Troy) need to realize that a transition needs to take place in his game.

In other words, if they think he can continue dominate based on his tremendous physical ability... I think that's a classic mistake. He (and the team) must adapt his role, similar to the change Rod Woodson made when he moved to Safety for other teams. Rod's game early in his career was based on his awesome athleticism. Obviously as he aged, he was less able to rely on it. AND his teams didn't require to do all the things his reputation would have suggested--that made him such a great player, even late in his career.

The onus needs to be taken off Polamalu, and let him take on less responsibility. Having him all over the place, ranging from the LOS to the deep middle, etc. will leave him vulnerable and probably exploited (at least, more than we've come to know). Lessen his role, let him use his tremendous instincts in a more limited capacity, and let him excel.

D Rock
05-21-2012, 10:39 PM
Tons of players become stars based on their elite athleticism rather than their instincts and smarts - lets call them Level 3 athletes. (Think Willie Parker)

Tons of other players become stars based on their elite instincts and smarts rather than their athleticism - lets call them Level 2 athletes. (Think Hines Ward)



When Level 3 athletes age and drop to Level 2, they can't compete because they don't have the smarts and instincts. (Again...Willie Parker - he lost a step and was immediately out of the league)

When Level 2 athletes age and drop to Level 1, they can't compete because Level 1 just doesn't cut it, no matter how smart and instinctive they are. (Again...Hines Ward - he said he was never fast so it wouldn't matter if he lost a step - well...unfortunately it did matter.)



Troy Polamalu is a rare type of player - a Level 3 athlete with elite smarts and instincts. Even with a drop in athleticism, he can be great as a Level 2 athlete if he adapts his game to fit his new physical abilities.

steelblood
05-21-2012, 10:41 PM
Of course the answer is Yes--he can. But in the next breath, the team (and Troy) need to realize that a transition needs to take place in his game.

In other words, if they think he can continue dominate based on his tremendous physical ability... I think that's a classic mistake. He (and the team) must adapt his role, similar to the change Rod Woodson made when he moved to Safety for other teams. Rod's game early in his career was based on his awesome athleticism. Obviously as he aged, he was less able to rely on it. AND his teams didn't require to do all the things his reputation would have suggested--that made him such a great player, even late in his career.

The onus needs to be taken off Polamalu, and let him take on less responsibility. Having him all over the place, ranging from the LOS to the deep middle, etc. will leave him vulnerable and probably exploited (at least, more than we've come to know). Lessen his role, let him use his tremendous instincts in a more limited capacity, and let him excel.

I'm torn on this one. Troy has always seemed more effective when allowed to freelance and spending a lot of time near the line. I do think his career may last longer if we keep him away from the line more (like if we'd switch him to FS). I'm just not sure that is the best choice for the Steelers.

RuthlessBurgher
05-22-2012, 10:14 AM
Tons of players become stars based on their elite athleticism rather than their instincts and smarts - lets call them Level 3 athletes. (Think Willie Parker)

Tons of other players become stars based on their elite instincts and smarts rather than their athleticism - lets call them Level 2 athletes. (Think Hines Ward)



When Level 3 athletes age and drop to Level 2, they can't compete because they don't have the smarts and instincts. (Again...Willie Parker - he lost a step and was immediately out of the league)

When Level 2 athletes age and drop to Level 1, they can't compete because Level 1 just doesn't cut it, no matter how smart and instinctive they are. (Again...Hines Ward - he said he was never fast so it wouldn't matter if he lost a step - well...unfortunately it did matter.)



Troy Polamalu is a rare type of player - a Level 3 athlete with elite smarts and instincts. Even with a drop in athleticism, he can be great as a Level 2 athlete if he adapts his game to fit his new physical abilities.

Athleticism + instincts + intelligence + work ethic = Hall of Fame

hawaiiansteel
05-23-2012, 02:43 AM
Steelers veteran safety Polamalu graces OTAs

By Mark Kaboly - Tribune-Review
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=5dcvT BHOAn28xAB0sEGdGc$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYtxOd3Yif$juBP MUFdMxqpOWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Larry Foote had to look twice to see if it was really Troy Polamalu out there for the start of Steelers’ organized team activities Tuesday.

During Foote’s nearly 10 years with the team, Polamalu has been rarely seen at any nonmandatory offseason workouts.

“Normally during OTAs he is out surfing in the ocean,” Foote said.

Instead, Polamalu was at his first nonmandatory offseason practice in years, and for good reason.

With the loss of a number of key veterans on defense, Mike Tomlin suggested to Polamalu that attending offseason practices might be a good idea this year.

Polamalu obliged.

“It’s important for as many people as possible to be here because we acknowledge that we’re building chemistry and, to a degree, you can’t measure it, and it’s a significant part of team building,” Tomlin said.

The last time Polamalu took part in OTAs was April 2010, when the Steelers held a short two-day session before the draft. Polamalu did not attend the final 12 sessions spanning May 18 to June 10.

Polamalu pointed toward the loss of James Farrior, Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke and their combined 36 years of experience as one reason he decided to forgo his typical offseason regimen in Southern California with workout guru Marv Marinovich.

“For obvious reasons, we had some major leadership leave, people who we can count on, and I think it is nice for the young guys to see a familiar face,” Polamalu said. “It is nice to be around the team and nice to get out and play some football. I am here to support all my teammates.”

It wasn’t limited to the young guys. Veterans were also happy to see Polamalu on the field during this time of year.

“I was very surprised and excited to have him here,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “Troy just needs to be Troy.”

But that might not be good enough this year.

The Steelers desperately want Polamalu to take over more of a vocal leadership role on defense. However, Polamalu said don’t expect that to happen.

“I really don’t think anybody really steps into those types of roles and gets out of character that’s within their own character,” Polamalu said. “Yeah, I am definitely not a vocal leader, if a leader at all.”

Foote disagrees.

“He’s always been a vocal leader,” Foote said. “Especially since he’s been here this long, everybody is a leader. He talks out there on the field. He is just not loud and you can’t see him, but he’s talking.”

And for the first time in a couple years, Polamalu is feeling good.

Aside from a couple of nagging day-to-day injuries last year that limited some practice time, Polamalu was healthy.

The 31-year-old played in all 16 regular-season games for only the second time since 2005. He finished the year with 91 tackles but wasn’t happy with his overall performance.

“To be honest, every year I ever had was below my standards,” Polamalu said. “I have expectations from myself. I have a lot to improve on … from pass coverage-wise to tackling and run defense. You name it. You spend the entire offseason breaking yourself down and see where you can improve. There is a lot for me to improve.”

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/1836205-85/polamalu-steelers-troy-foote-offseason-team-leader-otas-defense-improve

Crash
05-23-2012, 03:12 AM
I think TRoy's final season, barring any concussions, will be 2014.

I can't see him playing another 5 years. And I don't think he'd want to.

hawaiiansteel
05-23-2012, 04:25 PM
SS Troy Polamalu Attending OTAs Shows Commitment to Leadership

by Neal Coolong on May 23, 2012

http://cdn3.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4122548/20120522_jla_al8_345_extra_large.jpg

There have been many accolades given to Steelers SS Troy Polamalu in regards to his athletic ability.

With the presence of outstanding leaders on the defensive side of the ball, though, he's never had to assume a strong leadership role.

Starting with OTA Phase One, which began in Pittsburgh Tuesday, that is changing.

Polamalu typically works out in Los Angeles with Marv Marinovich, his trainer, during OTAs, but his presence, he said, is inspired by the obvious; many of the Steelers' leaders are gone.

"For obvious reasons, we had some major leadership leave, people who we can count on, and I think it is nice for the young guys to see a familiar face," Polamalu told the Tribune-Review.

It's not that Polamalu's work ethic or knowledge of the game doesn't befit anyone who plays professional football. It's that vocal leadership isn't exactly his thing. He's played his entire career with guys like former OLB Joey Porter, ILB James Farrior and ILB Larry Foote. He's played most of his career alongside FS Ryan Clark. These guys have been the defensive vocal leaders.

Will that change now? Polamalu insinuated to the Tribune-Review it isn't something that will change overnight, and may not consider himself a leader at all.

Guys like Polamalu, though, are always looked up to, whether they feel they embody leadership traits or not. Clearly, Polamalu recognizes that, which is part of his motivation for attending the three-day voluntary workout sessions.

Leaders are people who make waves with very little motion, and if Polamalu simply spending time with the team, getting to know people and running around a bit is seen as leadership, that's exactly what he's providing, whether he feels it is or not.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/23/3038233/ss-troy-polamalu-attending-otas-shows-commitment-to-leadership#storyjump

hawaiiansteel
05-24-2012, 09:49 PM
it's refreshing how humble Troy truly is to this day:


MarkKaboly_Trib via twitter: Polamalu on what he need to improve: "Oh geez, I don't know where to start."

MarkKaboly_Trib “via twitter: To be honest, every year I ever had was below my standards,” Polamalu said. “I have expectations from myself. I have a lot to improve on"

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/

RuthlessBurgher
05-25-2012, 10:15 AM
it's refreshing how humble Troy truly is to this day:


MarkKaboly_Trib via twitter: Polamalu on what he need to improve: "Oh geez, I don't know where to start."

MarkKaboly_Trib “via twitter: To be honest, every year I ever had was below my standards,” Polamalu said. “I have expectations from myself. I have a lot to improve on"

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/

It's pretty much the opposite of Joe Flacco proclaiming himself to be the best QB in the NFL, or one of our young corners who hasn't even won a starting job yet predicting Pro Bowl accolades for himself.

hawaiiansteel
06-10-2012, 02:07 AM
Starkey: Polamalu goes deep

By Joe Starkey - Tribune-Review
Published: Sunday, June 10, 2012


The Steelers finally made their new offensive coordinator available to the media Tuesday. But rather than listen to Todd Haley talk about David Johnson’s blocking technique, I opted for something a little deeper.

OK, a lot deeper.

I opted for a chat with Troy Polamalu.

I’ve spent nearly a quarter-century in this business and hope to spend a quarter-century more, but I doubt I’ll find an athlete as fascinating or as humble as this one.

Images of Polamalu’s first training camp, in 2003, remain vivid. He’d arrived late because of contract issues. He said he felt sick to his stomach on the all-night flight from Los Angeles and “ashamed” when he showed up.

Early on, he often sat alone in the Latrobe dining room, ice packs strapped to his hamstrings. So clearly the new guy. Painfully shy. Desperately wanting to contribute.

Now look.

The man turned 31 in April. Is it possible? He is entering his 10th season, headed fast toward the twilight of a magnificent career. If there is any justice, someone already has begun to carve the hair into Polamalu’s Hall-of-Fame bust (a job, after all, that could take years).

Polamalu broke personal tradition to attend organized team activities this spring, working around his training schedule with Marv Marinovich (Todd’s father) in California because he sensed a calling.

He’s one of the old guys now. His wisdom and guidance are needed. That is why you find him introducing himself to anonymous recruits in the Steelers’ South Side dining room. As if they don’t know who he is.

“More than any other year, the face of this franchise has changed,” Polamalu said. “We lost a lot of great leadership.”

Our conversation veered in various directions. There was no rigid plan. Polamalu’s at his best, on and off the field, when he is free to cover ground like only he can.

We talked about football, of course, but mostly as a vehicle to propel us toward infinitely more important topics. Like this little doozy: How does a man maintain his spiritual life amid the trappings of NFL fame and fortune?

“I don’t know if I’m successful at that,” Polamalu said. “But to me there is no greater arena to culture that. You face so many passions. You’re fighting ego, pride, avarice. Obviously this business is filled with a lot of temptations. But it’s the best place, I feel, to overcome them.”

Polamalu has looked closely at the personal struggles of transcendent athletes such as Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali.

“It takes a tremendous struggle to try to stay together (as a family) in this sort of environment, especially when you want to be at the peak of it,” he said. “Obviously it’s a struggle on my family. But my wife (Theodora) is so amazing in how she helps me and just leads our family. I’m so blessed to have that.”

Other topics ...

• His initial trip, last summer, to his ancestral home of American Samoa, where he plans to run a football camp for years to come: “You know, we had 600 kids on a football field. Some of them didn’t have shoes. Just to see the passion in these kids, it was really, really awesome. The whole island is officially like a Steeler island. All 600 kids had Terrible Towels.”

• The suicide of fellow Samoan and USC alum Junior Seau, who was a friend, though not a close one: “The day after (Seau’s death), my family sat down with his mother, his father, his older brother, who he was really close with. We did the traditional Samoan ceremonies, what’s proper after a death. I just felt so sorry for the community that surrounded Junior. But it also should put things in perspective, just to be thankful for what we have.”

• The aftermath of Seau’s death: “I felt horrible for his mother. For the family’s sake, I hope they find something wrong with his brain because I can imagine, as a parent that has a child commit suicide, you would feel like you failed. I don’t know.”

• The palpable fear that greets him every game day: “People are paralyzed on a football field. People die ... You just never know when it’s going to be your last moment. I was the kind of guy who would never talk to my wife on game day. Now I’m the guy who’s like, ‘I love you.’ I want my children to know I love them because I don’t know what’s going to happen out there. I’m not trying to play the martyr here. I love football. It’s something we choose to do. We all know how much of a gamble it is to play this game.”

Polamalu says people often ask how many more years he will play. His customary answer is short, but predictably deep:

“I’ve never thought about the end of my career. I’ve had this growing motto in my life to live day to day — and when you live day to day, it’s hard to talk years.”

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/1919549-85/polamalu-starkey-family-football-deep-steelers-death-felt-field-game

Captain Lemming
06-10-2012, 11:08 AM
it's refreshing how humble Troy truly is to this day:

Is he REALLY all that humble?

Not content with his accolades over his play and his luxurious mane, this egomaniac squeezes out yet more praise with the use of mock humility.

While, his beliefs force him to answer honestly, his comments are REALLY about his greatness.

Lets look at his comments a little closer.


MarkKaboly_Trib via twitter: Polamalu on what he need to improve: "Oh geez, I don't know where to start."

Cynic Translation: I am so awesome that I cant even think of a weakness. :)


MarkKaboly_Trib “via twitter: To be honest, every year I ever had was below my standards,” Polamalu said. “I have expectations from myself. I have a lot to improve on"

Cynic Translation: The potential I have is so awesome compared to the pathetic lot I compete with that being a repeat all pro and even DPOY are below "my standard". :D

Sure Troy you fool the world with your mock humility BUT NOT ME.

His carefully worded replies allow him to honestly answer questions in a way that deceives most of you saps into not seeing the arrogance that spews out of him with every word he utters.

Slapstick
06-10-2012, 01:44 PM
My God...

Just wait until he gets a divorce...

Crash
06-10-2012, 01:49 PM
My God...

Just wait until he gets a divorce...

Won't happen. I don't see Troy running with drug dealers or banging anything that moves while his wife raises their two kids.

DukieBoy
06-10-2012, 01:55 PM
​Geez, it's like Bizarro World.

Crash
06-10-2012, 02:02 PM
Don't call me out if you don't like the responses. If guys like Slap were fans of this TEAM, rather than fans of Hines Ward they would call him out for his blatant hypocrisy.

Slapstick
06-10-2012, 02:36 PM
Don't call me out if you don't like the responses. If guys like Slap were fans of this TEAM, rather than fans of Hines Ward they would call him out for his blatant hypocrisy.

And if guys like Crash were fans of this TEAM, rather than fans of Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Arians, they would be happy about the change in offensive coordinators....

So, it looks like all of us Steeler fans call out hypocrisy and idiocy when we think we see it...

Crash
06-10-2012, 02:47 PM
And if guys like Crash were fans of this TEAM, rather than fans of Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Arians, they would be happy about the change in offensive coordinators

I said before BOTH Arians and LeBeau should have been fired. I'm not happy that Haley is here just because his Daddy worked for the Steelers 30 years ago. Hell my Dad grew up with Timmy Rooney and was also childhood friends with Kevin Colbert's brother. So where's MY phone call from the Rooney's?

If Haley's Daddy wasn't Dick Haley we wouldn't have given him the time of day.

Charlie Weiss isn't on our staff, remember that.

Slapstick
06-10-2012, 10:38 PM
Charlie Weiss isn't on our staff, remember that.

How could I forget? You only mention it at every opportunity...

hawaiiansteel
06-11-2012, 12:49 AM
does Troy look like he's put on a few pounds to you in this pic?


https://p.twimg.com/AuzVmo4CMAA1ptV.jpg

Crash
06-11-2012, 02:14 AM
How could I forget? You only mention it at every opportunity...

And if you follow the league you know how significant that is.

hawaiiansteel
06-11-2012, 02:51 AM
Charlie Weis at the beach in Hawaii:

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/imported_assets/902250/kXyE3_medium.jpg

BradshawsHairdresser
06-11-2012, 09:22 AM
Charlie Weis at the beach in Hawaii:

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/imported_assets/902250/kXyE3_medium.jpg

Don't be a "Weiss" guy...

RuthlessBurgher
06-11-2012, 10:06 AM
Hell my Dad grew up with Timmy Rooney and was also childhood friends with Kevin Colbert's brother. So where's MY phone call from the Rooney's?

All this bitterness...finally explained. Thank you.

Slapstick
06-11-2012, 10:12 AM
All this bitterness...finally explained. Thank you.

It all falls into place...

DukieBoy
06-11-2012, 11:07 AM
Don't be a "Weiss" guy...

Charlie Weiss does not go to the beach. The beach comes to him.

D Rock
06-11-2012, 12:49 PM
Charlie Weiss does not go to the beach. The beach comes to him.



much like it does with the moon. Gravitational pulls are strong forces.

DukieBoy
06-11-2012, 12:53 PM
much like it does with the moon. Gravitational pulls are strong forces.

:D

Well said.

DukieBoy
06-11-2012, 12:56 PM
does Troy look like he's put on a few pounds to you in this pic?


https://p.twimg.com/AuzVmo4CMAA1ptV.jpg

Maybe Troy borrowed Duce's old game-day wear, cut-off legs and sleeves, has them on underneath. Got get the sweat goin'.

hawaiiansteel
06-26-2012, 02:20 AM
http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/images/stories/Dan_Gigler/ireland_43.jpg

Trivia question: Who was the last Steeler not named Troy Polamalu to wear #43?

Answer: George Jones, a running back from San Diego State who played with the team for one season in 1997.

http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/blog-n-gold/34539-steelers-return-to-the-old-sod

RuthlessBurgher
06-26-2012, 12:44 PM
I remember drafting two players from San Diego State, of all places, in the same draft that year (Will Blackwell and George Jones).

phillyesq
06-26-2012, 02:11 PM
I remember drafting two players from San Diego State, of all places, in the same draft that year (Will Blackwell and George Jones).

Will Blackwell. Ugh.

RuthlessBurgher
06-26-2012, 03:29 PM
Will Blackwell. Ugh.

There was another Will Blackwell who was eligible for the draft 2 months ago (an offensive lineman from LSU). He didn't get drafted, but signed a UDFA deal with Carolina.

hawaiiansteel
06-27-2012, 03:31 AM
Will Blackwell. Ugh.

http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/images/stories/Dan_Gigler/ireland_catch.jpg

Will Blackwell pulls in a catch on the rugby/soccer pitch at the redundantly named University College in Dublin in 1997.

http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/blog-n-gold/34539-steelers-return-to-the-old-sod