Here’s a wrap-up, with a side of opinion, from around the internet that focuses on the Black and Gold. The second sessions of Organized Training Activities for the Steelers is scheduled to start today. It will be interesting to see where the Steelers feel they are with the players before they begin the mandatory training session in June.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has two article from the last day or so that highlights returning players. Ray Fittipaldo did a write-up on Ramon Foster, a returning offensive lineman, and titles it “Steelers OL Foster refuses to take foot off gas.” Foster is in his fifth year with the NFL and I will admit that the title intrigued me because you don’t often associate going fast or going forward with offensive lineman. Their job is to block. However, I sort of see the point because last year was Foster first year playing in all 16 regular season games. Foster says all the “right” things about continuing to work hard and not get complacent. Ok, no big surprises there. Let’s see if he can keep the starting job this year after all the camps are done and the Steelers go into preseason.
Ed Bouchette did a write up on Cortez Allen. Allen’s name has been in quite a few articles during this offseason with the departure of Keenan Lewis for New Orleans. The dynamic has also slightly changed with veteran cornerback William Gay’s return. Bouchette notes that Lewis approached last year with an almost-boastful confidence that almost didn’t get backed up. After a slow start, Lewis had a decent year. Bouchette sees Allen as a much different personality and quotes him as saying:
I’m not that type to make predictions or boast about myself,” Allen said as the Steelers resumed practices Monday with their fourth of the spring. “I’m a very humble guy. I just come to work every day and try to get better and better so I can help my team the best I can.”
Allen is also quoted as saying that the Steelers defense are focusing on attacking the ball and trying to get the takeaways. Good. I thought last year that the approach seemed to be “Don’t do anything to risk a penalty.” The rules have been shifting and some of the penalties can be devastating to the offending team and really take away momentum. However, if you are afraid of that, you might as well fold the team. What you have to do is adapt. I felt the Steelers were stepping back instead of finding a way to be aggressive within the rules. So, based on Allen’s statement, I hope this is the next phase of adapting and really, truly, getting after the ball. Don’t just stop the forward progress, deny them any progress.
Bob Labriola, who writes for the Steelers Digest posted a fairly lengthy interview with Todd Haley, which is titled “Todd Haley: I’m excited.” Now, I guess I’m picking on titles today, but Tim Tebow’s press conference after becoming the New York Jets back-up QB because he was about as excited as you could be, or so he said about 50 times. If people could have planned ahead, that would have made for an excellent party game with people having to do something every time that Tebow said he was excited. So, it makes me cringe a little, but I gave the author the benefit of the doubt and kept on reading because I thought Haley was a bit arrogant last year, with a chip on his shoulder and I wondered how he would come across this year. Well, Labriola should be hired as his press agent because I am more willing to give Haley some room than I was at the end of last year. Haley owns up to communication problems last year without pointing fingers and just focusing on how to fix it. Hallelujah! I’ve been harping on communication problems being behind many of the miscues from 2012. I highly recommend reading this if you want to see how Haley is projecting himself now. Haley was a bit defensive with everyone last year, perhaps understandably. He had a contentious tenure in Kansas City and whether some of that was undeserved or not, he was skewered in the media. I know one thing though, if you approach how you deal with the players and Steeler Nation in an honorable way: be genuine, work hard, and pour your heart and soul into the Steelers – Steeler Nation will back you. This interview may be the start of turning the “hearts and minds” more favorably toward him. Ultimately, it will come down to what happens on the field. However, he wasn’t really saying the right things to start the year out last year and this interview seems different from last year. I’m hopeful. Check out the article and let me know what you think.
The Steelers coaching staff went through some changes during the off season and hopefully the changes are positive way. Darin Gantt, who writes for NBC’s Pro Football Talk, notes that while many teams have been increasing the size of their staff, the Steelers aren’t following that trend. Frankly, I don’t cared about the staff hires of other teams beyond the three visible positions: Head coach, Offensive Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator. However, it is an interesting perspective that the NFL teams have the money to hire more people. As the owners cry “Woe is me! I barely make enough money from this team to continue to live my lavish lifestyle” while may of his customers are scraping together what amount to a their life’s savings to attend one game, I find the ability to increase staff an interesting dichotomy. Gantt quotes Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com that the Steelers have the smallest number of coaches – 15. At least 8 NFL teams have over 20 coaches. I think I remember that Chip Kelly descended on Philadelphia with at small army. I wonder, is the Steelers staff too small to address the areas where they need to be competitive on the field? Should the Steelers consider adding a few coaching positions? Or, could this be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen? You need clear lines of authority and if the coaching staff is too large, then it gets confusing. I’ll reserve my opinion until after the 2013 season.
I’ll finish up with a little tirade on Mike Wallace. Dude, shut up. You should be putting your head down and working for your new team not spending time talking about your old team. However, I doubt you will listen. You seem to have a need to be the center of attention and I’m just adding to it. I’m no longer going to contribute to your desire for attention, but consider this – be careful what you ask for. You just may get it.
That’s it for today Steeler Nation. What do you think? What did I miss? Let’s hear from you.