Happy Hump Day Steeler Nation…are you feeling as bogged down in the week as I am? Well, maybe it will help you to look over what some of the latest Steelers news:
I wrote an article last week about Emmanuel Sanders doing a full day of shows on ESPN (He appeared on May 1st) and said I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. His visit followed Antonio Brown’s appearance in February. Now Ryan Clark has had his turn and he was controversial as usual. I wonder if they all have the same agent and have decided they need some preseason appearances. I just know it has never been the Steeler way to discuss the team and what is right with the team and what is wrong with the team like this. Sure, they have post-game press conference obligations, but this kind of honestly is a little much for me. Anyway, here is a grouping of some of the articles that have cropped up since Ryan Clark’s appearance on Monday:
Ryan Clark provided “commentary” during the entire NFL Live episode on ESPN and he speculated that certain defensive schemes can make Tom Brady “see ghosts. Here’s ESPN’s summary of that part of the show. I wonder, will the Patriots and Brady take that seriously and try to “fix” it? Or will stubborn, know-it-all Belichick dismiss it because he knows better?
Jamison Hensley, who writes the AFC North blog for ESPN, quotes Clark’s opinion about Ben Roethlisberger‘s pivotal role on the team. It’s reminiscent of what Sanders had to say last week. Oh, Clark said he thought the Cincinnati Bengals were the most improved but the Steelers can still beat them. Clark made a good point about Cincinnati’s WRs. They do have the potential to be tough to stop.
David Smith, from NBC’s ProFootBall Talk, also picked up on a few things Clark had to say. Smith speculates that Clark has given Tom Brady some motivation with this comment:
Two years ago we played them and dominated them because we went man-to-man and had a big corner in Cortez Allen on [Rob] Gronkowski, and made it hard for Tom Brady to get the ball off, in timing, and made him to have to make plays. It was hard for him.”
Interestingly, the blog Steelers Depot, picked up the part of the NFL Live show where they asked Clark to rank the Top 5 Safeties in the league. Clark put Polamalu 3rd. Of course, people are trying to make something out of that. Here’s what I think it boils down to. Clark is Polamalu’s teammate and friend. He has enormous personal and professional respect for Polamalu and could not leave him off the list. But frankly, Polamalu didn’t play enough last year to be rated in the list of “right here and now.” If you were going to rank the Top 10 safeties of all time, Polamalu needs to be on that list. However, he wasn’t an impact player in 2012. His reputation caused some chaos, but he didn’t.
There are other articles out there, but you get the picture. Clark may have been a little too forthcoming. It looked a little like an audition for life after the Steelers.
The speculation about Landry Jones’ role with the Steelers still has some steam. It sounds like he still gets the question when he gets interviewed. Mike Florio of NBC’s ProFootball Talk, picked up on a one of the questions and answers where Jones says he has no idea what the plan for him is, but he’s there to learn football because the Steelers “gave him an opportunity to play.” Good for Jones. Keep your head down and work hard. I agree with Florio that the most significant thing about the Steeler’s off-season acquisitions of quarterbacks shows:
Still, the Steelers at least realize that aging backups may not be the best approach when employing an aging starter who may want his retirement contract to be bigger than the front office intends.”
Speaking of quarterbacks, Steel Dad on the Steel City Blitz blog said that he doesn’t think Charlie Batch is done just yet. He looks at the potential for injury at quarterback and the inexperience of the other quarterbacks on the roster: Brad Gradkowski, John Parker Wilson, and Landry Jones. He says he thinks that the Steelers have told Batch to stay ready. He goes on to explain:
I’m not saying in any way, shape or form that this will happen because I hope it does not and it’s still a long-shot right now. The back-up QB position must get younger and that needs to happen yesterday! My point is that we cannot rule it out for a game, maybe two should the injury bug hit the Steelers again at QB.”
Ike Taylor gave an interview on a sports talk show in Florida and Steelers Depot summarizes it. Taylor thinks that interceptions are “very, very, very “overrated. He seems to think it is a flawed statistic to judge his position on and that he is successful without making a lot of interceptions. I can understand that logic. Disrupting the play is the main goal and catching the interception to stop the drive is a great result but if you concentrate on nothing but that, you will have less success. Taylor also said that he has his eye on one more Super Bowl win during his career and possibly a Pro Bowl appearance. I like the sound of that.
To finish up today, here’s a link to Jamison Hensley’s AFC North rankings on ESPN.com. The Steelers are ranked No 1. Sometimes, I would prefer they were the underdogs because I think with the young guys a sense of entitlement from articles like this get in the way. But, Hensley says this ranking hinges on Ben Roethlisberger’s health. I have to agree.
So, chime in Steeler nation. What do you think about the articles today? Do you think Charlie Batch will still be with the Steelers in some capacity this year?