Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Hines speaks his mind...sort of posts Q & A's with various Steelers during the offseason to give the fans a sense of what players do to prepare for the upcoming season. Recently, they posted some of Hines Ward's answers to various fan emails and one question in particular caught my eye more for what Hines didn't say.

Here is the Q & A:
From Matt Connor, Pittsburgh, PA: Since you work with them on a daily basis what is your opinion of the young secondary and have they improved since last year?

HW: They are young and fast. They are very athletic. They are getting better. People keep saying Deshea Townsend came form nowhere. He has been here doing the same thing since I have been here. We both came in together. He just didn’t have that name and wasn’t drafted high, but has been very productive since I have been here. Now he is getting his opportunity. He is going to get his chance this year. I see nothing but good things from him, Chad (Scott), Ike (Taylor) is coming along strong. Everybody is getting a chance to get some experience. We do have team speed out there. They are going to be swarming all over the field this year and it’s going to be exciting to watch them this year.
Did you notice how Hines ever so smoothly transitioned from talking about how productive Deshea Townsend will be this season to talking about what an impact Ike Taylor and other young players will have in the defensive backfield? Did you notice how he inserted Chad Scott's name but didn't include any verbs to describe his game? Hmm.

Now I don't know if that was a transcription error, if he was misquoted or if that's what he really said. I'm sure he wouldn't say anything negative about a teammate in the media -- I mean he didn't come close to doing that during Plax's mini-holdout.

Whatever he meant, I think he's right about a few things. First, Townsend is underrated and basically didn't get much of a chance because DeWayne Washington and Chad Scott were making so much money it was hard to sit them. Also, this will be one of the fastest, most athletic defensive backfields in the AFC. The only problem is they will be very young and probably spend some part of the season taking their lumps. And as long as they're taking lumps, I'd rather see them do it with either Ike Taylor or Ricardo Colclough on the field instead of Chad Scott. The rationale is at least there's some hope that Taylor and Colclough will actually improve -- something Scott quit doing about four years ago.