Changes that make me smile...finally
There have been certain events, or lack there of, that have made me pull my hair out, that have finally been addressed this season. Correct or not, I chalk up these changes to Art 2, much more than I attribute them to Tomlin. Why? Because Tomlin could have made these changes but just didn't. I think the two recent rings also happened because Art 2 became the final decision maker instead of Dan, who was at an age where one really shouldn't be running a billion $ company. Art 2 saw what was needed, and took action, as opposed to Dan, who was more in the "don't rock the boat" mode, where sometimes the boat needs rocked a little. Any now, these are the changes that make me smile.
1.) Emphasis on making sure the O line is solid. How many years was the OL neglected? I assumed, after the 2005 season, we would be seeing the draft emphasize the OL since it was obvious that it needed addressed. But draft after draft, and in free agency, the OL was not emphasized as a need. Every draft and free agency I was p-ssed off that they didn't do enough to build the OL. But, finally, this year, the team obviously gave the OL a more appropriate, higher priority. Not only did we use a #1 on Pouncy, a #1 on DeCastro, a #2 on Adams, but also signed back Starks, which has been a Godsend. Prior to this season, they would not have put that much emphasis on it and it was stupid.
2.) Using a legit FB. It killed me that they either used no one, or a TE to fill that role. A legit FB is relatively short. You can't get leverage to block as a FB if your center of gravity is too high. Finally, they were FORCED into getting this right.
3.) Not allowing a game plan of "lets let our game plan consist of Ben having to work miracles, buy time and end up getting killed." Yes, we still need/use Ben's ability to buy time, but at least it's not as heavily relied on, as it never should have been. Between a better OL, a better rushing game and better play calling, Ben isn't being asked to be super man so often. They should have changed this years ago.
4.) A D not so reliant on Polamalu. Yea, they were forced into it, but the end results is the #1 D without even having TP, and now we have him back. It was so depressing when they would flash the stat of win-loss with and without him. Now they figured out how to play without him. I love that.
5.) A real commitment to the power rushing game. Up until now, it has all been mere lip service with how much they were committed to the run; finally, this year, there is a true commitment to it, and it is finally showing.
6.) No longer assuming Mendenhall is the main running back. I thought they should have looked for alternatives years ago. But they FINALLY WOKE THE F UP and realized he wasn't getting the job done. F n A, hallelujah.
It's frustrating, when, we, as fans, can see these areas needed addressed and the team just didn't figure it out for so much longer than the rest of us. But, what is that saying? Better late than never.