Aug 19, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; A Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark (25) watches from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Clark "Has to Be Better," Deserves to Be Benched


Last year playing Andy [Dalton] and watching the film I felt like he when looked somewhere that is where he was going, … I was waiting for a hitch-and-go.  That was an extremely good play call, but I have to be better than that.

-Ryan Clark referring to Tyler Eifert’s reception of 61 yards


Well you’re right about one thing, Ryan Clark.  You had to “be better” on that particular play.  Unfortunately, you had to “be better” multiple times last night and you failed miserably on almost every single occasion.

In addition to that reception which set up an easy touchdown, the free safety missed numerous tackles in the open-field to boot.  The “worst of the worst” however occurred when Clark took a horrible angle on Giovani Bernard’s go-ahead touchdown reception in the third quarter.  It was honestly one of the most piss-poor pieces of safety-play I have ever witnessed.

For a guy with Clark’s veteran experience, those types of physical and mental errors are nothing short of ridiculous.  In fact, I believe that the veteran’s piss-poor ball-skills and rapid decline in overall play should force him to the bench for the remainder of the 2013 regular season behind the likes of Shamarko Thomas and Robert Golden.

Just consider the following, readers:  Why should Dick LeBeau continue to start a 34 year-old safety who is more of a liability than anything else?

At this point, neither youngster should be forced to take a back-seat to the egos of their defensive coordinator and a rapidly declining veteran.

Both Golden and Thomas are not only more athletic than Clark is, but both are far and away superior as pass-defenders. The youngsters can not only chip in as slot cornerbacks, but they are also able to hold their own when it comes to supporting the run from the secondary as well.  While they might not be as experienced as Clark is at the moment, both players possesses the  physical tools and ball-skills to lend support on the back-end.

Golden and Thomas are part of this team’s rebuilding plans, Clark has illustrated with his play on the field that he does not deserve to be.  The Steelers need to award playing time during this “lost season” to guys who will actually matter and contribute beyond 2013, not someone who covers ground in the secondary about as well as Gilbert Grape’s mother.

Awarding extended playing time to an under-performing veteran who has one foot on the field and the other in the broadcast booth simply does everyone involved a disservice.  I just hope that members of Pittsburgh’s coaching staff will realize this fact before Clark costs them some more games this fall with his stone hands, lapses in coverage, bad angles, and missed tackles.




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Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers Robert Golden Ryan Clark Shamarko Thomas

  • Nick Kelly

    I disagree. Clark has made a big mistake with Eifert, but he has done nothing that makes it to where he should be benched in favor of Shamarko Thomas or Robert Golden. Every player makes mistakes, but benching him is a bit far fetched. You are acting like he is some 45 year old safety they got off the street. It’s not like Thomas or Golden have been some phenomenon that you can’t keep out of the lineup. Just be patient my friend.

    • Dom DiTolla

      Be patient for what? Clark to play sub-par football the rest of the year and then bolt for the broadcast booth after the front office does not offer him another contract because his play has declined and they don’t want to pony up any dough to a soon-to-be 35 year old free safety? No thanks, I’ll pass.

      The coaching staff should at least see what they have by giving extended reps in regular season play to Thomas and Golden in this “lost campaign” instead of handing out meaningless ones to a veteran who will be gone next March.

      • Rob Lewis

        Yeah and throw these rookies and backups with little 2 no knowledge or eXperience of Life in the NFL, I’ll take my chances with Ryan Clark anyday…sure he is up there in age but so are many others (Keisel) who can’t get a sack in practice…Lol

        • Dom DiTolla

          Yeah, take reps away from guys who will be playing with this team in 2014 and give them under-performing veteran who has one foot in the broadcast booth. You really make me laugh :)

  • Rob Lewis

    Ryan Clark is the Heart & Soul of the Defense, he is the only 1 who has the heart 2 speak his mind…maybe he did miss some tackles last nite, but so did alot of other people. We must also take in2 account the fact that these guys are all learning how 2 reinvent tackling again since the NFL keeps changing the rules and fining every1 and who do they hate more than the Steelers, U tell me!!!!

    • Dom DiTolla

      The NFL didn’t ban safeties from taking the correct angles, did they? Did Roger Goodell ban safeties from covering ground on the back end and covering their assigned areas? I didn’t think so, sir.

      Also, the NFL wouldn’t fine certain members of the Steelers’ defense if they learned to tackle and hit within the confines of the new rules. While I disagree with the new rules, they have to be followed by the players.

      • Rob Lewis

        B.S. they hate the Steelers and that’s that…sir!!!

      • Rob Lewis

        What is a correct angle…so they scored on the play, it happens…can we score 4 a change!!!

        • Dom DiTolla

          Wow! Such thorough analysis backed up by evidence (“they hate the Steelers and that’s that”). Clark didn’t account for Bernard’s speed when he came too far up-field and the rookie ran right by him on a simple screen pass which should have been stopped by the safety. It was pretty darn pathetic considering nobody got in front of Clark to block him either on the play. Bernard made him and LaMarr Woodley look like the overrated jokes they are.

  • Nine

    I take exception to your comment about Dick LeBeau’s ego. LeBeau knows far, far more about football than you will ever hope to know. I would take his judgement regarding personnel over yours every day of the week. To make the flip assumption that he starts Ryan Clark due to Ego is just asinine. LeBeau has done a brilliant job this year (as every year) – but this year in particular is a work of genius, in my opinion. Considering all the changes the defense has made in the past year, for them to be playing the way they are, is nothing short of amazing.

    I am also amazed at how quickly you forgot just how good Ryan Clark was last year. I’m sure he’s probably a lot better this year, as well, than you even realize. It probably has a lot to do with you not truly understanding football.

    Steelers’ problem this year lies with the offense, not withe the defense, which has kept us in games so far.

    • Dom DiTolla

      Yeah, because zero sacks and zero takeaways sure make these “paper champions” of the last couple of seasons an elite unit. Then again, only elite defenses give up 316 passing yards to Tim Tebow. Lol.

      The offense deserves most of the criticism this year, but the defense definitely deserves some of the blame for not recording sacks, interceptions, or forcing fumbles. Those deficiencies have plagued them as of late, and they will continue to struggle until those issues are addressed.

  • TK

    Well, lucky for “Google Alerts” or I never would have found this little nugget of friends and family “journalism”. You know Dom, I’ll agree with you that it wasn’t Ryan’s best night, Beyond that, your “attack” on him almost sounds personal – so what’s the story there? I mean, surely you have some reason for that much venom aimed at one of the most stand up guys in the NFL – and someone who has played a lot of great games and contributed lots of great plays to many a Steeler victories over the years? I get that it is a “what have you done for me lately league” – but I think Clark deserves a little more respect from Steeler Nation than what you have shown. Of course, I don’t think Collier, Cook or Bouchette are worried about a hack blogger like you coming after their jobs, so carry on your expert analysis for your two dozen or so faithful followers.

    • Dom DiTolla

      Awww… that was sweet of you. Thanks for reading and your support :)