Tag Archives: important

Tomlin: Consistent running game is important

Getting the running game going will be a key against the Bengals....

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News

A strong start is important

Steelers players want to get started on the right foot this week....

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News

Asking “Who’s the Most Important Pittsburgh Steeler in 2013?” Brings Up more Questions than Answers

Right now the NFL is sitting in the dead-zone of the off-season. We have effectively ended all off-season moves and news, but haven’t yet gotten to training camp. Therefore, most media and blogs, including us, are looking for any and everything that we can discuss until the news starts coming in again. One of the big topics that has been going ar...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers 2013 Training Camp – Important Dates

It’s the month that Steeler fans all over the world wait for – the start of training camp and the countdown to opening day. Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe is closing in, and while the team still has yet to release the full schedule, we know the following about dates for [...]...

Source: Steelers Gab

Steelers Rookie WR J.D. Woods Knows Just How Important Special Teams Is To His Future

On Tuesday, I listed Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver J.D. Woods as one of five undrafted players whom I think have a small chance to make the 53 man roster out of training camp this year. Woods certainly faces long odds, but he knows that if he is going to beat those odds, it will be because he's able to not only contribute as a fifth or sixth wi...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers New Offensive Line Coach may be Most Important Decision of the 2013 Off-Season

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The Pittsburgh Steelers watched for years as Ben Roethlisberger was sacked again and again due to a poor offensive line in front of him. In a four year stretch from 2006 to 2009 Roethlisberger was sacked at least 46 times per season and even hit 50 sacks in 2009. Following that dreadful 2009 season the Steelers knew it was time to protect their fra...

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Important Week Of Practice Upcoming For James Harrison

The Pittsburgh Steelers activated linebacker James Harrison from the PUP list on Tuesday and all signs point to him being able to start practicing as soon as Monday. It is unknown how much work that the veteran linebacker will do initially, but his left knee will be monitored closely for any swelling as the week progresses.

As Gerry Dulac points o...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers Training Camp: Time to Find the Answers to Important Offseason Questions

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Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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The Top 100 and Other Distractions From What is Important

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I understand the value of the Top 100: Players of 2012 to the NFL Network. It's June. We are literally months from the start of the season. There's not much going on in football, particularly now between the conclusion of the draft and the beginning of training camp. So from an entertainment perspective you probably can't argue that the Top 100 isn't good television. The problem is that though it may be good entertainment it encourages and promotes bad thinking about football.

I've been writing recently about the fact that football can make the case for being the ultimate team game. As such, factors such as cooperation, interdependence, self-sacrifice, chemistry, camaraderie and synergy are usually critical factors in team success. It's not that the celebration of individual talent is not important, but if the context (or is it lack of context) is so distorted that we believe that the only factor in team success is the accumulation of talent then a disservice is done to any and everyone who aspires to be true fans of the game.

A non-football example of how this can play out is currently on display in the NBA Finals. Regardless of the eventual outcome, the Miami Heat is dogged by the perception that they are a group of underachievers. The assembly of this team is straight out of the AAU philosophy of success; collect as much talent as possible without regard to team principles. How, it is asked, can a group with James, Wade and Bosh struggle as they do? My answer is that this is not an all-star tournament. Team principles matter. When viewed as a team they are not doing that bad, maybe even overachieving somewhat.

An additional problem with the Top 100 is the idea that having players make the selections renders credibility to the proceedings. Just because someone plays the game doesn't make them a student of the game. It may make perfect sense for an Ed Reed to offer an opinion on who the best wide receivers are in the AFC North, and perhaps in the entire league, but it gets pretty dicey when you ask him to pass judgment on offensive linemen in the NFC West, just to take one example.

The question that needs to be asked is how much information is required for these players to effectively do their jobs? The importance of such a question is that, by most accounts that I am aware of it takes a great deal of time and commitment to simply do a thorough job of handling their basic responsibilities as players. Beyond that do they really know that much more than a devoted fan?

I began to wonder about that when I saw where Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis was ranked last year. It seemed to me and a lot of other observers that Lewis' high placement (I believe he came in third overall) may have been due more to his reputation than to the actual level of his performance at this stage of his career.

The thing about reputation is that there is usually a lag associated with how it matches up with the actual state of someone's performance. Often there is a gap between when a player begins to perform at a high level and when he receives recognition of that fact. Conversely, a player may continue to be viewed as a high level performer long after his skills have declined. One of the best contemporary examples of this has been Brett Favre. History will show that his best days were in the 20th Century, but it has only been relatively recently that he hasn't been a constant topic of off season conversation concerning his plans and what team might be so fortunate to have access to his services.

This brings us to the Steelers. As many of us know, in the world outside of Steeler Nation the belief is that this will be a down year for Pittsburgh. The reason I recall hearing most often is the release of a number of veteran players (Ward, Smith, Farrior, etc.); too much change, the loss of too much leadership.

But how much change has actually occurred? Injuries and declining skills limited the participation of Hines and Aaron. It's fair to say that their contributions to the team's 12-4 record were extremely limited. Chris Hoke was not a starter. So from the on the field perspective the only loss would be that of James Farrior who retained his starting job throughout the 2011 season. The loss of a consistent starter, unless that starter was Ben, does not rise to the level of being a serious degradation of the team's play or a sign of ‘too much' change.

However, because of our star/individualistic orientation with the sports media in particular, and some fans as well, it's fair to say that to some Hines Ward is the Pittsburgh Steelers, our Brett Favre if you will, and as such if he goes away what could we possibly have left? The reputation issue at play.

That still leaves us with the leadership issue, something even the bulk of Steelers fans worry about. But is that as big a concern as we make it out to be? Does the individualistic mindset contaminate our thinking about this as well?

In 2006-7 the teams suffered serious leadership losses. Jerome Bettis retired, Joey Porter was released and Alan Faneca left in free agency. Into the gap on offense came Hines Ward and Ben Roethlisberger, not individuals that in prior years would be first to come to mind as leaders. On defense James Farrior emerged from the bombastic shadow cast by Porter. Arguably, he was probably always providing leadership but how could anyone outside the Steelers locker room possibly notice? Within a year the team returned to the Super Bowl and won a championship.

When was the last time in, oh, the last thirty or forty years that the Steelers had a leadership problem? Today (I'm writing this on the first day of minicamp) I watched a video on Steelers.com of Casey Hampton giving instruction to Alameda Ta'amu on playing nose guard (Ta'amu is actually bigger that Big Snack, btw). Besides being in town for all the off season practices, Troy Polamalu is reportedly going to tables at lunch time and introducing himself to new players.

I don't believe anyone had to prompt these guys to do these sorts of things. This is just what the Steelers do. Leadership development is hotwired into the organizational culture. If you haven't associated certain people with leadership in the past it was probably for one of two reasons.

First it wasn't necessary because someone else had been playing the role quite well in the past. Larry Foote was the youngest of the starting linebackers when Pittsburgh played in Super Bowl 40. Porter and Farrior were handling things. Now Foote is the old guy, it's his turn and he's acting appropriately. Second, there are leadership roles that are not obvious to the casual observer. Foote reportedly has been considered a verbal leader in the locker room long before the present moment.

Bottom line: is there any indication that the Steelers ship is rudderless or floundering?

Currently, another area where this distorted mindset is playing out is with Max Starks. What is concerning to me is not whether Starks should be brought back or not. I guess credible arguments can be made either way, though I acknowledge that I believe the team should bring him back. It is why the various arguments are made that is at issue.

To my thinking there are only two reasons you would not bring Starks back; either he's not healthy and won't be soon, or money, as in he's too expensive. Otherwise, he would be an invaluable addition to a group that has a lot of young, but inexperienced talent. Why? Because he has started in three Super Bowls, two of which are wins. That kind of resume doesn't grow on trees. And having that kind of experience in the persons of Starks, Trai Essex, Ben, Heath Miller, Big Snack, Keisel, Deebo, Troy and Ike Taylor is an advantage that very few teams can replicate.'

Winning championships, especially multiple championships is something that teams and players have to learn how to do. In the mid-1960s the Dallas Cowboys played the Green Bay Packers for the NFL Championship two times in a row. They lost both times even though they were considered the more talented of the two teams. Three years later they finally figured out how to win and defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl 6.

The point is that making this a discussion primarily or solely about talent misses the point. Even if you believe that the Steelers won those games in spite of the presence of Starks, they did it twice. I say let's try to win in spite of Max a third time. What Starks brings is experience that only a relative few of all the people who have played the game possess, as well as other intangibles such as his relationship with Ben.

The only problem is that these qualities are difficult to translate to an NFL Network program.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Pittsburgh Steelers Minicamp: Some Early Thoughts on Important Session

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It may not be compelling, but at least it's formal.

The Steelers begin their 2012 Minicamp today with two practices. Two more will follow Wednesday followed by one to wrap up the session Thursday.

This time of the year, headlines are usually questions more than statements. While this practice session will likely create more questions than answers, there are a few we can glean a foggy outline of an answer.

Will WR Mike Wallace sign his RFA tender?

The deadline is Thursday. Odds are very good he'll be in town, but he won't practice. Or at least that's what we've been led to believe. Wallace has until Friday, June 15, to sign his tender, or risk the Steelers exercising their CBA-given right to reduce the tender and make an offer of 110 percent of his 2011 salary, which would equate to a one-year offer for $ 577,000. His tender is worth $ 2.7 million, give or take a few dollars.

Obviously, that's in place to help get players into training camp, which indirectly shows the value of minicamp. While it's unlikely the Steelers will exercise that option (it wouldn't help the negotiation, to put it mildly and almost assuredly would keep Wallace out even longer), it does show good faith on their part they're willing to work with him.

As for Wallace, he's seeking a long-term deal, and since he won't be fined for missing minicamp, he's really the last piece of leverage he has. The Steelers typically ask players to negotiate in good faith, and part of that means showing up and working with the team. Wallace can see multiple Steelers players getting extensions signed early into training camp (last year, SS Troy Polamalu, LB Lawrence Timmons and LB LaMarr Woodley all signed during camp), and if Wallace does have a future in Pittsburgh, that seems to be the best time to do it.

We'll see how this plays out.

Willie Colon at left guard

Scott Brown of the Tribune-Review has a nice piece in today's paper about Colon, his transition from right tackle to left guard, and his relationship with former Steelers All-World LG Alan Faneca when Colon was a rookie.

Learning from one of the best is certainly a benefit, but Colon is the experienced one now. With a body built more for a guard, but overall skills that helped him become one of the best run-side tackles in the game, it's exciting to think about the prospect of having such a talented interior offensive line.

It's been a while, that's for sure.

The development of the offense

The running back position seems to be the early favorite for attention-grabbing news. Isaac Redman's starting role, Rashard Mendenhall's rehabilitation project, Chris Rainey vs. Baron Batch, John Clay's position, Jonathan Dwyer's weight. Lots of headlines to go around.

Mix with that the emerging Young Money receivers (two of them anyway) Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, and how they'll look entering their third year of NFL service. Expecting father Ben Roethlisberger, and how he's adapting to the offense.

All great talking points for the next few days.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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