Happy Friday everyone! Here are a few article you may find interesting. The local Steelers reporters seem to be gearing back up as everyone gets ready for training camp at St. Vincent’s in Latrobe.
Profile on Special Teams Coach Danny Smith
Ray Fittipaldo, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, provides some perspective about the new Special Teams Coach Danny Smith. Smith is a local boy, who started his coaching career at a school with a player named Dan Marino. From the sounds of his quotes, Smith is happy to be back home and have a chance to work for the Pittsburgh Steelers after spending a lot of time with other teams. His last tenure was with the Washington Redskins. According to Fittipaldo, Tomlin tried to interview Smith three years ago but the Redskins denied him permission to speak with Smith. When Tomlin tried again this year, permission was granted and Smith seems grateful for the opportunity. He also knows that he has to hit the ground running and as Fittipaldo says:
Smith has his work cut out for him. The Steelers’ kickoff-coverage and punt-coverage teams struggled in recent years. In 2012, the Steelers were 17th in the league in kickoff-return yardage allowed and 22nd in punt-return yardage allowed.”
Smith says he is excited and likes the work ethic around the team and the players he has to work with. I recently looked at Chris Rainey’s numbers and I was surprised at them. They were better than I thought they were going to be. Even though the percentages for special teams were down, they weren’t all bad. However, there were miscues and penalties. While I think it is hard to expect scores from the special teams returners, I just want special teams to minimize the penalties and start the offense out at a good spot. Now that Tomlin has the coach he wanted years ago, maybe they will move forward.
Punter Brian Moorman
Drew Butler has some competition for training camp with the acquisition of veteran free agent who is also a two-time Pro Bowler according to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Robinson looks at Butlers stats, which with his 26th rank is probably not where the Steelers want it to be. Also according to Robinson, Moorman’s stats aren’t that far above Butler’s so it sound as if they could be pretty matched. Overall, Moorman is happy to be with the Steelers. He likes the coaches and he likes the atmosphere. I really don’t have a lot invested in either Butler or Moorman. I’m afraid I’m one of those people who only pays attention to the punter when something bad happens.
Five Reasons Why Everyone Loves Troy Polamalu
Yahoo! Sport Contributor Dan Snyder posted a commentary extolling the virtues of Troy Polamalu. I know that comes across as sarcastic and I don’t mean it to be taken as a slight against the future Hall of Famer. I’m just a little uncomfortable with the man crush. Snyder admits there is an infatuation with Polamalu mostly because of his heart and passion and I agree there too. Then he goes on to gush about his hair (excuse me, his “locks”). To give Snyder credit he speaks of how Polamalu’s hair makes his instantly recognizable on the field. If I remember right, Troy’s hair and the way he wears it has something to do with a Samoan warrior tradition. Snyder goes on to list his other reason to round out his five and frankly, I’ve heard them all before and I’ve probably said many of them (except the hair). It’s an article that might make you chuckle or might remind you why, even though Polamalu has earned the veteran tag, he’s an asset to the Pittsburgh Steelers for at least another year.
Steelers 2013 Media Guide
The Steelers posted their 2013 media guide which contains stats, bios, and other team information. Some of our diehard Steeler fans may want to download it and keep it for easy reference. I am sure the Pittsburgh Steelers beat reporters are combing through it. I notice that Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review tweeted:
#Steelers director of football and business admin Omar Khan, listed on biz side of operations in ’12, is listed on football side in ’13.
— Alan Robinson (@arobinson_Trib) July 18, 2013
Khan has been credited with being the salary cap whiz over the last couple of years and working the deals that kept talent on the team. However, this past off seasons struggle to get under the salary cap while still retaining veteran talent as well as allowing scouts to find some new talent may have led to this shift. I would think that the Steelers don’t want to have to work so hard to get within the salary cap again, but frankly, I think that is the NFL set up right now and it would be hard to avoid it and keep talented players.
That’s it for today.
Let me know what I missed or what I got wrong!