Sep 22, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Houston Texans safety Ed Reed (20) warms up before the game against Baltimore Ravens team at M

Houston Texans Cut Ed Reed, Pittsburgh Steelers Should Cut Ryan Clark

Sep 29, 2013; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is pursued by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker cornerback Cortez Allen (28) and safety Ryan Clark (25) in the NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Steelers 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has struggled all season, and that is a bit of an understatement at times.  One of the most glaring problems within that unit is the poor performance of Ryan Clark the entire season.  Clark’s age and his hunger to sit and gab in the spotlight have put into question his ability to perform at a high level.  Or at least at a level that he can make a tackle.  The Houston Texans cut Ed Reed on Tuesday after Reed consistently struggled since returning from off-season surgery.  Reed only played in seven games after missing the first two games.  His overall defensive rating was a -6.3.  Reed was not happy with the move and voiced his displeasure – essentially using his age as an excuse and his history as a shield.

So what does Ed Reed have to do with Ryan Clark?  The simple fact that Ryan Clark is not and was not ever an Ed Reed, and now the Texans dumped Reed nine weeks into a three year $5.5 million/year contract should resonate with Steeler fans…. loudly.  Clark has played over 300 more snaps than Reed and still has an overall defensive rating of -5.1.  He has six negatively rated performances out of nine, and of the three that landed on the positive side of the scale only two were above a rating of +1.  Clark is missing tackles, putting himself out of position, and taking bad angles to the ball/ball carrier.  Sure he has 47 solo tackles on the season, but he also has nine missed tackles – some of the being plays that should have gone for little gain and turned into big ones.

If an athlete of Reed’s stature and history aren’t enough to keep him on a team when his ability declines, then why should the Steelers even consider keeping someone like Clark on the field?  Yes, The Shark has an ankle injury that is keeping him out of this Sunday’s contest against the Lions and perhaps even longer.  So, by default Clark needs to stick around.  But if someone like Ed Reed, who sits up at the top right there with Troy Polamalu as one of the best safeties to ever play the game, then how in the wild world of sports does Ryan Clark get a pass week to week and run his mouth the way he does?

When Thomas is back, give Clark the boot.  It’s that simple.

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Tags: Ed Reed Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Clark

  • Rick Aucoin

    If everyone Adrian Peterson has ever run over and made look bad was cut from their teams, there wouldn’t BE any defensive players left in the NFL.
    Sure, it’s Ryan Clark’s fault that Troy P. has been out of position so many times this year and couldn’t make a play on the ball.
    It’s Ryan Clark’s fault that James Harrison’s replacement (and I use that term very very loosely) couldn’t pressure a quarterback behind a High School o-line.
    Come on, people. Jeebus. Yeah, Clark’s not as fast or as hard a hitter as he used to be. Much of that is due to the rules the NFL has put in place specifically to neuter hard hitting tacklers like Ryan Clark. In some cases specifically FOR Ryan Clark.
    And he sure isn’t the only person in our defensive backfield who’s of an age where he’s lost a step here and there. Call for Polamalu’s head along with Ryan’s. Until then, you’re just blowing hot air, man.

    • Nick Kelly

      I take it you havent seen how big of a step back Ryan Clark has taken? He just is too old at this point in his career. Great career, but Father time has gotten the best of him.

    • Craig

      The photograph is only an illustration, not the argument. Everyone has trouble with AP yes, but Clark would appear to struggle taking down my 85 year old grandmother too at this point.

      Clark’s speed has nothing to do with NFL rules. Getting beat by blowing coverage has nothing to do with the rules. Taking bad angles has nothing to do with the rules. Not being able to wrap up a ball carrier when you actually have your arms around him has nothing to do with the rules. If he can’t even do the fundamentals anymore, what good is he? He’s not. Dump him. What do the other players leaving have anything to do with Clark’s own individual performance? And I never absolved anyone else in the backfield in my post. It was a direct comparison between the two safeties.

      You want me to call for Troy’s head too? Sure – I think the team should let him go at the end of the season. As for Clark – get him out now.

  • Matt

    Jesus… I never thought I would see the day where NPC started listening to the idiots over at Pro Football Focus… Remember when Willie Colon was the best T in football? Or how DDC is a top 3 G in the league according to them this season? Yeah…

  • Dave Buzard

    Ohh……. M’god, Craig. Clark had an interception on Sunday. Hello! We’re Steeler Nation. We forget terrible tackling and stupid penalties the instant a player does something even remotely positive. He’s sure better than Ike whatever his name is, over there at cornerback. I mean Dan Fouts and Ian Eagle never even say HIS name during a game. He can’t be any good. And besides, Craig, Ryan always speaks his mind and brings his lunch bucket to work with him……

    • Craig

      Dave – have I told you lately how much I miss your writing. Come back to us. Please? Dear, God… come back to us….. PLLLLEEEEEEAAAAASEEEEEEE!

  • Niyi Delano

    lol, i would write something but i defer to Rick Aucoin.

    • Craig

      Well I think many of us thank you for sparing us. j/k.

      Come on Delano – I want to hear how you rake Ben over the coals, but somehow you are giving Clark a pass even though he’s declined the most and worse than anyone on this squad.

      • Niyi Delano

        I never said i am giving Clark a pass. But answer this question, if you cut clark, who do you start?

        Second, Reed lacked playing time due to his hip injury, so unlike Clark, someone else had already been playing in his position.

        Third, to cut Clark right now would be an idiotic idea when guys like, Kiesel, Woodley, Hood, Taylor, Gay, and even troy have had sub-par years.

        Also, i am not calling for Ben to get cut but Traded. Get Value now and rebuild or get nothing and become a perennial 8-8 team since Ben doesn’t elevate the talent we have, like Tom has had to do, or Manning. That was always my point about Ben. To be good, he needs really good talent around him, either on defense and on Offense.

        • Dom DiTolla

          Yeah, because Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have had horrendous offensive lines in front of them during their careers. That excuse based on opinion is garbage and you know it Ben elevated his team in ’08 to a Super Bowl victory with an offensive line which would have sent most signal-callers to the emergency room.

          With that statement, are you implying that Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, Brandon Stokley (as a #3) and Dallas Clark weren’t top-tier players for Manning during his time in Indianapolis and had zero say whatsoever in his success? Oh, and I assume that Corey Dillon, the threat of a consistent running game, and the Patriots’ stifling defense had nothing to do with the franchise’s Super Bowl victories during the last decade as well?

          While I am concerned with depth, they can start Robert Golden. A tremendous upgrade at this point? No. But isn’t building for the future the most important thing? Clark offers them nothing of value when his contract expires after this season since he won’t be brought back.

          As I alluded to above, cutting Clark isn’t a viable or intelligent answer, especially with “Shark” Thomas likely to be hobbled down the stretch. But to deny how awful Clark has looked this year while you savage “Big Ben” for every single problem is short-sighted and idiotic.

          • Niyi Delano

            Peyton Manning had a subpar line with the Colts. Manning did have hall of fame receivers and a can quickly read defenses. Brady didn’t have a good line until guys like Mankins came unto the team. But unlike Ben or Peyton, Brady has been throwing to avg recivers his career. He had Randy most for a few years and then he had monster numbers. Last year’s two starting receivers and 2 starting TE weren’t part of the Patriots team for most of the first half of this season and they went 6-2. The other stater they got in free agency, Amendola can’t stay healthy. Brady elevates the Talent around him, Ben has never done that.

            As to your 2008 comment, here is my response.

            2008, the only season Ben actually played a complete season, here were his stats
            Completion – 281 out of 469, Percentage – 59.9 , Yards – 3,301 – Ranked 14th
            Touchdown – 17 – Ranked 15th, QBrating – 80.1, Int – 15 – Ranked 4th
            Fumble – 10 – Ranked 11th, Rushing TD – 2, Total
            Touchdown – 19, Turn over – 25

            On Defense

            points allowed by game – 13.9 – ranked 1st, Sacks – 51- ranked 2nd
            Ints – 20 – ranked 6th, Fumbles- 12- ranked 23rd
            Total turnover – 32- which apart from only allowing 13.9 points per game, defense gave our offense 32 more opportunities to score.

            To add to that was the fact that defense also had 1 safety and 2 defensive touchdowns.

            The O line depth was Marvell Smith at LT, Kemoeatu at LG,
            Hartwig at C, Stapleton at RG, Colon at RT, with Essex, Starks being the main

            At receiver, he Had Holmes, Ward and Miller at his prime at TE. At running back, we had a declining Willie Parker and up and coming player in Mendenhall (granted he was lost for the season after the hit by Lewis)

            This wasn’t just a good team, it was a great team, and Ben had his second worst year stats wise. You might want to check your records again on Ben. I don’t hate Ben, but I know he is an above average player who lucked out by the steelers picking him. You give him an average team and he doesn’t elevate the talent and that is my problem with BEN. He is paid and treated as such a QB but Ben has shown throughout his career that he isn’t that guy. He turns it off in the offseason
            when other top QB don’t. He doesn’t read defenses before snapping the ball, all
            top QBs do that. Ben has his deficiencies’, all players do, but the problem with Ben is, his deficiencies’ were always limited because he had a complete team.

            That is the point I keep making and somehow it is lost amongst you and craig.

          • Dom DiTolla


            What proof do you have that their lines were “sub-par” and average? In
            fact, you might need a bit of a history lesson since the offensive lines which
            Manning and Brady had during their best seasons were much better than you realize. Of course, I’m not allowed to call you out on an ill-founded opinion, right?

            Manning had multiple-time Pro Bowlers in the form of Tarik Glenn at left tackle, Jeff Saturday at center, and had two long-time starters in the form of Ryan Diem at right tackle (nine years) and Ryan Lilja at left guard (five seasons). Roethlisberger has never had that type of cohesiveness along his offensive line, ever.

            Brady had a Pro Bowlers like Matt Light, Mankins, Dan Koppen, Damien Woody, and the vastly underrated Stephen Neal at his disposal along his offensive line too.

            Were either of those units truly “elite?” Heck no, but they were far superior then the crap Pittsburgh has rolled out on a consistent basis since Alan Faneca and Jeff Hartings retired. That one cannot be debated.

            To your point about the ’08 team, Parker was declining, Mewelde Moore was a backup, and Mendenhall only started one game that year before he was injured. ’09 was when Mendenhall broke out, but I’m sure someone like you who deals in “facts” knew that.

            That running game behind that offensive line was doomed from the start, neither of those guys were even close to being as productive as Edgerrin James, a healthy Joseph Addai, Corey Dillon, Antowain Smith, or as versatile as Kevin Faulk.

            To be fair, you are correct that he had Hines Ward, Sansmokio and Heath, but those guys are nowhere near as talented or productive as Wayne, Harrison, Welker, Moss, and Gronkowski were. Heck, even Troy Brown was a productive pass-catcher at that point in his career and could have easily started on Pittsburgh’s 05 Super Bowl team.

            Ben’s offensive line in ’08 was beset by numerous amounts of injuries if you care to remember. Smith and Simmons were lost for the season before the fifth game with injuries, Darnell Stapleton was a UDFA with no experience, and “Kemo” and Colon were good for at least two to three flags a game. Hell, Hartwig lost his job to Pouncey two seasons later and was responsible for that holding penalty in the end zone of Super Bowl XLIII.

            As far as his running game and O-Line were concerned, “Big Ben” had little to nothing around him. While the defense was solid, to say that he had even close to the level of talent Brady and Manning had is an ill-founded opinion.

            Look at those defenses Brady had in New England. In the early years while his offenses might not have been as explosive, he had five-six Pro Bowlers on that side of the ball on a consistent basis. Sounds pretty familiar to “Big Ben” in ’08 as you mentioned, right? Oh yeah, and they absolutely dominated Manning & co. in the postseason in ’03 and ’04 if I remeber right.

            Despite their constant issues, Indianapolis had the likes of Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, and Bob Sanders too!

            I will say that your disdain for Roethlisberger is quite amusing. I’m just curious to know what he did to make you so enraged.

  • Dom DiTolla

    While I totally agree that Clark needs to go after this year once his contract expires, hell I called for his benching after Week 2 if you remember, losing Thomas to a high ankle sprain for an extended period is a huge blow to the depth at both safety spots.

    Cutting Clark now wouldn’t make much of a financial impact and the team needs everybody they can get for secondary depth at this point no matter how much they are currently declining.

  • Aziz H Alharazi


  • Dom DiTolla

    I like how you ignored me pointing out the superiority of the offensive lines of Brady and Manning during that time period. Moreover, I like how you ignored how Manning and Brady have had better offensive weaponry than Big Ben since 2004.

    Heck, New England’s defense was as dominant if not better than Pittsburgh’s and was an enormous reason why they won their first three super bowls. They destroyed the Colts and Steelers to get there if you care to remember.

    While Pittsburgh’s defense might have been better during that span, that does not excuse the fact that New England’s and Indianapolis’ offenses had superior skill-position players, along their offensive line, and in their offensive backfield.

    Brady is still surrounded by talent on offense with the likes of Dobson, Tompkins, Amendola, and Gronkowski. I’d take those guys over what Ben is working with right now.

    I will say that the Steelers probably should have planned for Troy Brown back in the ’01 AFCC game though. Lol.

    Do I believe that Roethlisberger is the caliber of quarterback as Brady or Manning? No. But those guys had some help along the way in terms of personnel which Ben did not. Moreover, I can’t understand why people like you believe that replacing Roethlisberger will be such a breeze for this front office.

    Oh well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see how his replacement does. But don’t come crying to me if we’re subjected to 1983-2003 all over again.

  • Dave Bradley

    In my opinion Clark is gone after this season. He has his eyes on on TV analyst job. The only problem with Clark leaving is, who is going to replace him?

  • Dawmo Genesis

    Im so happy none of you run the team. Steelers fans are so damn spoiled. One bad season and its “get rid of Tomlin, Clark, Troy, Ben” etc. We havent had a losing season since George W.’s first term. We do not have much to bitch about tbh. I say all of them DESERVE to stay around till the season is over based on their past contributions to championships and good seasons. Thank GOD none of you run the team.