Welcome to August! We are finally closer to football games being played. The Steelers first preseason “game” is 10 days away. The NFL regular season is over a month away, but that’s OK. College ball is about to start. I’m looking forward to that too. Here are some articles from the last 24 hours you might find interesting.
Jarvis Jones Update
Of course the Steelers number one draft pick gets a lot of attention. With that comes the pressure of when he will get out of the field and live up to his potential. Alan Robinson talked with Jones and Keith Butler, the linebackers coach, to see what progress Jones is making. Jones is very deferential to the veterans and Coach LeBeau. He’s saying the right things and seems to be working hard. At this point, the Steelers won’t commit to whether Jones will be a starter or not and that’s the right thing to do. Don’t put so much pressure on him and let him learn. As long as he is doing everything that the coaches ask him to do and keeping his head down, I’m good with that.
Woodley Wants More Sacks
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described Woodley’s perspective about what he’s asked to do for the Steelers and the schemes that Coach LeBeau puts together. Last year, Woodley was asked to drop back more and cover receivers compared to rushing the quarterback, which is what he really likes to do on the field. He hopes to do more rushing but notes that whatever he’s assigned to do, he need to “bring it home.” Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review looks at Woodley’s perspective too and notes that Woodley has a chip on his shoulder. He quotes Woodley as being aware of the criticism he’s gotten over the last year and that Woodley understands it comes with the territory. Kaboly also notes that Woodley is in better shape than last year and the Butler is happy with his conditioning. Good. Woodley needs to get close to his 2009 numbers, particularly with Harrison in Cincinnati.
Teresa Varley of Steelers.com posted an article summarizing the changes to the Pro Bowl. Chief among the changes is getting rid of the AFC versus NFC format and linking it to the very popular Fantasy Football. At this point, the Pro Bowl remains in Honolulu but I know that is always up in the air. I’m sure that some of these changes will fall flat, but getting the fans more involved may help. It’s expensive for people from the mainland (as those in Hawaii call it) to fly to attend it and if the NFL doesn’t make it more relevant, people aren’t going to want to spend the money to do it. It will probably continue to get a decent TV rating, but that has been something the NFL has been concerned about too. I lived in Hawaii twice, once while on active duty and once as a spouse. The issues about this game and where it is held are huge. The stadium is geared for college ball-the University of Hawaii plays there. Also, it’s an old stadium – one of those that could be converted between a baseball and football stadium but they long ago made the conversion to football permanent. The turf was terrible and the NFL threatened to pull out unless it was overhauled – which was put on the taxpayers. There is a love-hate relationship because the NFL charges a fee to the state of Hawaii for this honor-again paid with public money. I’m not sure how much it is, but the current governor of Hawaii wanted to take that money and put it toward social programs because he didn’t think they were recouping any of the “investment.” Also, I’ve been to several Pro Bowls and even in person it just doesn’t have the same excitement an NFL game. I don’t think involving the Fantasy fans will solve that, but there is nothing wrong with trying to figure out a formula to make the fans more excited about it. However, it is problematic holding it in Hawaii, as wonderful as the weather is.
Teresa Varley has been posting small articles about Steeler goings-on – particularly the off-the-field endeavors of the Steelers. Yesterday there were articles about Heath Miller hosting a children’s charity at camp, Plaxico Burress being featured on NBC Sports Network’s Hooked Up with Tom Colicchio, and Ike Taylor’s rooting for the Pirates. Who would have thought Plaxico Burress was an avid fisherman? Learn something new everyday.
That’s it for today. What do you think about the Pro Bowl changes? Does it make a difference? How do you make the game relevant?