Thursday, November 11, 2004

Random Steelers stuff

Hines gets some (national) attention
Clark Judge has a really good column on CBS Sportline about how well-respected Hines Ward is around the league for his hard-nosed approach to the game and his (welcome) lack of showmanship that is prevalent everywhere else around the league, seemingly after every tackle or reception.
"Usually, Ward does nothing, and I mean nothing, to draw attention to himself other than producing touchdowns, catching everything that's thrown at him and making annual appearances in the Pro Bowl.

He doesn't thump his chest. He doesn't call out opponents. He doesn't send bottles of bromides to opposing defensive backs. And he never, ever, ever, proclaimed himself the best wide receiver in the game.

And, frankly, it has probably cost him."
Although I never really thought about it, Judge is probably right. I have no idea, but I get the impression that if Hines knew he could more effectively market himself by answering cell-phones in the endzone and incorporating pom-poms into his TD dances, he'd still choose to give the ball to some kid wearing #86 after every TD instead of being like everybody else. And good for him.

That said, there's nothing funnier than watching Plax do his Michael Irvin-inspired touchdown shimmy.

Mental Note: Get Hines Queer Eye Makeover
Hines Ward said he would like to see the Steelers wear black pants at home to go with their black tops, the way the Baltimore Ravens did Sunday at home against Cleveland.
"Tell him," Owner Dan Rooney said, "I thought they looked like they were in their underwear."
I agree with Rooney. Both the Bengals and the Ravens looked pretty goofy last Sunday. I remember turning on the Sunday night game and having to double-take because when I saw the Raven's in all black, I initially thought Ray Lewis came on the field naked. Not really, but I'm old-fashioned -- I like the old-school Steelers uniforms.

Be careful what you ask for
I'm sure the Steelers had their reasons for passing on Antonio Bryant in the 2001 draft and selecting Antwaan Randle El in the second round. Just in case they needed another one, Bryant was gracious enough to provide it:
"Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Bryant said there are soft spots in the Steelers secondary that he expects to exploit Sunday when the teams get together in Cleveland.

...'God gives you a lot, but he doesn't give everybody everything...Injuries hurt teams in many different ways, and give some teams strong points and give some teams soft points. We're working on that right now, just looking for the soft spots and trying to find what can work for our offense and the talent we have here.'

Usually, Bryant will say most everything, but he refused to publicly pinpoint the Steelers' weaknesses.

'I'll never give you the secret ingredient to the cookies that are making me a millionaire," he said.'"
There's certainly no guarantee that the Steelers will win in Cleveland Sunday, but I'm pretty sure that cookie recipes won't have an effect one way or the other. Couple that with the fact that Bryant might be the angriest guy in the NFL, and it's hard to take him seriously.

Look, every teams has weaknesses, and coming into this season the Steelers had a lot of questions about the defensive backfield. Those questions were pretty much answered the first few weeks of the season. Then Chad Scott went down in week six against Dallas and there was some concern if Willie Williams or the Ricardo/Ike would be able to pick up the slack -- I think that question has been answered too.

In a perfect world, Williams would blanket Bryant in coverage like he did T.O. last week; and when Bryant lines up in the slot, Polamalu will cover him and subsequently lay him out -- just like he did last week against T.O.

Of all the Browns to be worried about, I don't think Bryant is near the top of that list.