Blog Entry

There's Work to Be Done

Posted on: July 30, 2009 12:37 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2009 6:51 pm
 

After each Superbowl win, former Steelers head coach, Chuck Noll, would appear in front of the cameras, and in response to certain questions, seemed not to capture the elation of the win, but would remark that there was still a lot of work to do.  That mentality in coaching led to four super bowl titles, two of them being back to back wins.  In essence, it was as if he was saying, this game is played now we have to start preparing for the next. 

It was almost a déjà vu at the end of last season, as current head coach of the Steelers, seemed to allow himself only a minimal amount of celebrating after the Steelers win in Superbowl 43.  While sportscasters, analyst and experts were touting how this might have been the most exciting win, Mike Tomlin seemed to keep himself well grounded and some might say, stoic, in the aftermath.  Indeed, it seemed that many outside of the Pittsburgh area may have missed and failed to see a similar mindset that Mike Tomlin seemed to have adopted from Chuck Noll in regards to what was next.  Basically, Tomlin would tell reporters, there was work to be done.  This comment was a momentary blurb in print, to be replaced with the next days news, and eventually find itself completely off the radar. 

A lot has happened since that comment was made.  Dan Rooney would move to Ireland to become the US Ambassador there, his son, Art Rooney II taking over the reigns.  A new draft class would be presented and selected, attrition and additions would occur through free agency and team members would participate in OTA’s, community events and mini-camps.  Fans will continue to anticipate opening day of regular season with echo’s of Bocephus in their minds answering the question “Are you ready for some football?”  Most would probably tell you they’ve secretly been ready for it since May.

Around the league teams have been gearing up and have begun their preparations for the upcoming season.  Training camps began and analysts are now reporting how well so and so looks in camp.  For the Pittsburgh Steelers, their down time is about to come to an end.

On the afternoon of Friday, July 31st, the players and staff of the Steelers will report to St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania to prepare in earnest for the work that they have to do. 

No doubt there are a lot of burning questions going into this camp.  How big of a distraction with the lawsuit against Ben Roethlisberger turn out to be?  Will OLB Lawrence Timmons prove to be worth what he was paid as a first round draft pick in 2007, now that he has an opportunity to start as a replacement to Larry Foote?  What on earth will kicker Jeff Reed show up in this year to make teammates chuckle?  The answers will be revealed in time, until then all eyes will be on the team and individual performance during training camp. 

There’s a lot of history in Latrobe itself.  It’s believed that the first professional football game was played there, as well as it being the originator of the banana split,  however, the small city itself gained it’s nationwide acclaim, in part, due to being the place where the Steelers hold their training camp.  Each year, Steelers faithful plan for their annual pilgrimage to the small campus to watch the players practice on a field, now named for the former Steelers coach, Chuck Noll.  Many come to get a glimpse of or perhaps get a coveted autograph of their favorite players and watch to see how the rookies and the new acquisitions might do come regular season.  It is here where we’ll start to speculate who will eventually make the team and/or perhaps start the season.  For the players, it will be about who gets a job. 

For the well known veterans like James Farrior, James Harrison, Hines Ward and others, their role will probably be more in a mentor status to the newer players.  For the most part, barring unforeseeable circumstances, these will be individuals whose slots are predetermined long before the season began.  For others, it’s not just going to be about securing themselves a job but transitioning themselves into the cohesive unit that has made the Steelers a formidable force in the NFL for decades. 

Somehow though, the anticipation of this years camp seems to be a little different then previous years. This time not only is there the realization that the Steelers have a major bulls eye on their back for being the reigning SB champs, but there’s also seems to be a genuine hunger from the personnel to actually win the back to back SB’s, something that was missing after they won SB XL. 

Don Banks of Sports Illustrated reminded his readers that the year after SB XL, the Steelers, when faced with a distraction went 8-8.  I would argue that this is different.  That year, the star quarterback was rehabbing from injuries sustained in an accident and then recouping from an operation, not to mention the Steelers had recently said goodbye to the heart of the Steelers team when Jerome Bettis retired.  Add a coach that seemed to have lost his passion for the game that year and it was not going to be pretty. 

No, despite the legal distraction, there still seems to be a sense of energy and belief that this team will not allow it to effect them and will fare quite well going into the stretch.  But then again, despite all the speculation, faith and hope, only time will tell. 

For now, the Steelers and their fans look towards this weekend, a gateway to the inevitable, the start of football season.  For Mike Tomlin, there’s work to be done and it starts in earnest here. 


Comments

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: August 5, 2009 9:15 am
 

There's Work to Be Done

Pitt...thanks for the welcome back and sorry for the delay in the response. 

Regarding the loss of some pesonnel, Steelers always had a knack for filling in.  They lost Plax and managed to go onto the SB the next year, With Washington gone, prospects out of camp are exciting.  William Gay did well when he played so I don't forsee much of a hitch in that position.  Steelers were already deep in the linebacker corp and the oline seems to be gelling quite well. 




Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: August 1, 2009 10:41 am
 

There's Work to Be Done

Mom,

Welcome Back... I too have taken some time before jumping back into the fray... but as camp started yesterday, I knew I would find you back here chatting about the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers!!!

With camp starting yesterday our glorious off season has finally come to an end... and as you so eloquently stated much like Chuck Noll used to say, There's Work to Be Done... Training Camp is a wonderful time of the year for us football crazies... we can not get enough of it... as Steeler fans we have been blessed as this time of the year signals a new beginning to our quest... Number 7

The off season for Super Bowl Champs is always a tough one... numerous off field requests... the additional coverage (books, commercials, tv spots)... the free agents who want to be the next big thing somewhere else... and of course the distractions... we have had many of them come our way, but this time it appears that many of them have been or will be easier to overcome...

We lost a few keys pieces to our "Super 6" crew... most notably Larry Foote and Bryant McFadden on defense and Nate Washington on offense, but the team appears to be prepared to fill those spots with some pretty good players that have already been through quiteabit with this team...

Foote is out and Timmons is in at ILB... some will say this is an upgrade... I will hope that the new LT can fill the same role as Foote did... Larry Foote was a very good player... he allowed the likes of Woodley and Harrison to shine and played very well next to Farrior... 

McFadden is out and Gay is in at CB... while not the hitter that McFadden was, Gay has better coverage skills, so again, we are not asking him to do too much... just play within the system...

Washington is out and Sweed is in at the 3rd WR... I give the nod to Sweed for one simple reason... he showed me a lot about what hew has become since joining the Steelers in the playoffs last year... when he dropped that TD and stayed on the ground, I was very critical... a bruised ego is no reason to stay on the ground... when he came to the sideline he saw the look of disdain from Mike Tomlin and his teammates... we do not do that in Pittsburgh was the message... people will drop a ball, miss a block, take a bad penalty... those things happen... but no excuses, no looking for an easy way out... not in Pittsburgh... you drop a ball, get up run to the huddle and get tready for your next chance... I will say that this one moment defined his entire rookie campaign... he could have sulked, he could have folded, we could have lost him forever, but Sweed made a choice... he was going to be a Steeler... not a few minutes later he was back on the field and made a play that many overlooked... our tall lanky WR showed what he was made of, by making a crucial block... a monster block springing his fellow WR for a few extra yards... it was Hines Wardesque... it was the same kind of block that woke up Santonio Holmes his rookie season... it was Steeler football... and for that one moment, I expect him to shine this season...

The idea of coming back as Champions surprised many of the players last time... they did not realize that the target is a lot bigger when you are champs... and as you mentioned our coach did not realize whatit takes to maintain after winning it all... you are dead on, with the comment referring to our beloved Coach Cowher... he became complacent... he reached his goal and wanted to rest... many of us would do the same thing... all that effort, all that drive...when you get to the top... what else is there??? Chuck Noll knew that you needed to push harder to reach even greater heights... you would have thought Bill would have known that??? maybe his style, his rah-rah attitude is not geared for repeating??? when it is all passion, it is tough to get back up... well introducing Mike Tomlin... he is much more like Chuck than Bill... he is a thinker... a motivator through thought... he prepares to be successful and does all he can to push himself and his team to do it even better... we all love his emotional moments...  but we cherish his passion for perfection...

Yes we do have the Ben issue... and I will not make light of a situation that has a real funny smell to it... it is a serious allegation and he and his legal team will have to do what they can to find out what really happened and hopefully clear Ben of any wrong doing... and again, I do not dismiss that this is a serious matter, but... with that said, I prefer some civil suit being made against Ben than his unprotected head bouncing off asphalt... his body will be up for the challenge of the football season, and hopefully his mind will be clear and he will be mentally ready for football...

Aside from that... we locked up our OL guys and a 2nd year should help them develop as a more cohesive unit, Miller is locked up... Harrison is locked up... no real contract issues looming... our banged and bruised from last year are healed with Mendenhall, Sepulveda and Batch ready to go...

Its good to be back... but even better to be back as the Super Bowl Champions...

PS... we chatted hockey before... I hope you were able to catch those playoffs... great stuff in the Burgh.... and by the way my "New Look Pirates" are 1-0... the turn around has begun... Laughing 



Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: July 31, 2009 3:06 pm
 

There's Work to Be Done

I honestly don't pay too much attention to rumors...didn't rumors spread that Dick LeBeau was retiring last year at the end of the year?  How did they work out...lol. 



Since: Jul 27, 2009
Posted on: July 31, 2009 2:10 pm
 

Michael Vick sighting.

Rumor spreading of a Vick sighting in the 'Burgh.  Ben's lawsuit distraction would be nothing compared to the chaos that Vick would bring to this team. 


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