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Standard or no standard, injuries hurt the Steelers

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin will never admit it but the fact is that injuries do affect the outcome of games. I understand you don’t want to pass the buck or place blame on anyone but yourselves but seriously it’s ok to admit that injuries do take their toll. You certainly don’t abstain yourself as a coach, your staff, or players from responsibility but admitting that injuries hurt your team is simply just part of the equation.

Perhaps it’s because you then open yourself up to the criticism that you did not prepare your team well enough. Maybe you didn’t draft well enough, or maybe the guys you counted on the come through just didn’t have enough in crunch time to handle their responsibility.

It would be hard to blame them when you look at the number of players that Pittsburgh lost either for the entire season or for significant chunks of games.

-Aaron Smith lost for year since week 4.
-James Harrison missed 4 games with the orbital bone injury. Missed 1 game on suspension.
-Lamarr Woodley missed the remaining 8 games of the season since he injured his hamstring against the Patriots in week. Even though he returned on a limited basis against the 49ers and Broncos games he was rendered largely ineffective splitting time with Jason Worilds.
-Ryan Clark – Missed the Broncos game due to his sickle cell trait. Nobody can certainly blame him for that or Mike Tomlin for keeping him out.
-Emmanuel Sanders – missed time not only in preseason but significant amounts of time with knee and foot injuries.
-Rashard Mendenhall – Tore ACL in the final regular season game.
-Ben Roethlisberger – We all know the story of Ben, the thumb injuries, the broken foot, high ankle sprain.
-Casey Hampton – ACL injury in wildcard game in Denver.
-Chris Hoke - stinger suffered vs Jaguars, ultimately on injured reserve.
-Brett Keisel – groin injury in wildcard game in Denver
-Max Starks – ACL injury in wildcard game vs Denver.
-Maurkice Pouncey – high ankle sprain in the preseason game vs the Falcons. Was n problematic causing him to miss games or parts of games for the length of the season, ultimately taking him out of action for the post season.
-Marcus Gilbert, Doug Legursky, Chris Kemoeatu all missed atleast 2 games due to injury or in Big Juicy’s case both injury and poor play.
-Mewelde Moore – Knee and ankle injuries caused him to miss 5 games, including the final 3 of the season.
-Daniel Sepulveda – his chronic knee issues again cost him a full season. Arguably Jeremy Kapinos filled in nicely but still it’s a change that you hate to see happen.

When you have that much turnover, that much inconsistency on the offensive line, the linebackers, Quarterback, any key positions on the team you are going to have issues. Backup players are just that, backups. They are supposed to live up to the standard but no matter how much you want preach that they need to do so, sometimes you just don’t have the horses to pull it off.

No team in the NFL has perfect depth at every position. You strive to have a complete team full of players who can step in and not miss a beat. Show me an NFL team that has that every year and I’ll show you somebody’s fantasy league. In the world of free agency and the salary cap, it’s nearly impossible to have a roster full of players with no drop off in performance from one level to the next.

Still though the Steelers have major issues to deal with this offseason and tough decisions to make. If you’re going to preach “the standard is the standard” then you better build your team as such as best you can. Forget about allegiances to older veterans, trying to get one more year out of a guy so you can address another area of need, or keeping project players around that aren’t panning out.

In the end, injuries aren’t the only reason the Steelers exited early from the post season, that’s painfully obvious. We’ll dive into all this and more as the offseason continues because our standard is to discect the standard and find out why the standard isn’t always up to the standard. :)

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  1. Realitybites1

    WHAT ELSE CAN YOU SAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE STEELERS LEGITIMIZED THE CHOSEN ONE. POOR COACHING, THE BILL COWHER DRAFT AND COACHING EFFECT HAS ENDED AND LOOK WHAT WE ARE LEFT WITH! Tim Tebow’s career is in reverse. You are supposed to start at the bottom and work your way through hard times up to love and adulation.

    Then, if you have a play like the one Tebow had Sunday, throwing an 80-yard, game-winning pass on the first play of overtime in the playoffs against the defending AFC champs, well, that’s when you turn into a legend.

    •Broncos 29, Steelers 23 (OT)
    •Tebow 3:16 says I told you so
    •Biblical numerology key to win?
    •Updated playoff schedule
    •Gallery: Another Mile High miracle
    •Video: See the game winner
    •Our first look at new OT rule

    It was the opposite for Tebow, who already was a legend. He started as one and had to work backward. Then came the hard times and hard work.

    Before the Denver Broncos’ 29-23 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Tebow was rumor. He was prayer. He was theory, Bill Maher and doubt. He was religion, debate, the best, the worst. He was hope vs. pessimism, luck vs. magic. But that play?

    It made him real.

    Reality finally matched myth with that play, in that moment against that franchise, with that pass defense, ending with the longest overtime touchdown pass in the shortest overtime in NFL playoff history.

    For some reason, people want to continue the same old, tired debate about Tebow. But they aren’t sure where to take it. That’s because it isn’t the point anymore. Yes, we get it: Some people think he’s a great quarterback; some think he isn’t. It’s sad, really, if you can’t enjoy the Tebow moment, can’t have fun with it. It’s sad if you can’t get caught up in something.

    Most people are there with Tebow. But everything has to be broken down into a debate on Twitter, or between hyper, overacting, overly serious sportswriters on TV.

    Just look at how different Tebow is. How many superstars spend their time doing everything they can to serve their “look at me’’ needs. The Tebow Scrooges think he is trying to make a spectacle of himself, too.

    Can’t get enough Tebow? Then hang out here.
    Even former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer said he wishes Tebow would cut out the praying on the field. But when Tebow drops to a knee for a prayer, he isn’t trying to show off. He is doing what he feels. He isn’t asking people to look at him; he is doing what he believes, and people are looking. There is a difference.

    Tebow is not a great quarterback. He is a role model. The guy he beat, Ben Roethlisberger, is a great quarterback but no role model. Which one would you want your kids to emulate?

    Tebow is changing the narrative, giving us something to believe in from a sports world that rarely offers up anything pure. This isn’t to say that Tebow will be a lasting phenomenon, or that he won’t be. It’s that he is one now, and sometimes there is a moment when you can stop arguing and just watch and enjoy.

    Years ago, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers named Mark “The Bird” Fidrych was capturing the nation’s attention. He was quirky — talking to the mound, talking to himself, talking to the ball — but also unhittable. Like Tebow now, he was a phenomenon.

    And the truth is, no one even remembers if Fidrych ever won a World Series. He didn’t. Most everything he did as a player happened in one year, 1976. But that’s OK. He did have that one year, and that made it all real. Everyone was watching him, enjoying.

    The argument will start up again after the Broncos play New England on Saturday. Tebow is going to lose that one, and the “See, he can play” group will sit down while the “See, he can’t play” group will pipe up. Stephen A. will not have to melodramatically bite his tongue while Skip gloats on and on, as if he invented the idea of believing in Tebow.

    Take a look at the Denver quarterback’s work on the field during his big season.
    Blah, blah. That stuff doesn’t matter right now.

    You wonder if we even have the ability anymore to just sit back and say “Wow.’’ It’s hard for us to look at things the way we did when we were kids, wide-eyed, believing.

    But maybe that pass Sunday in Denver will have won over people, not in thinking that Tebow’s a great quarterback but, rather, in allowing themselves to be taken in by a phenomenon.

    It can be a little scary now. Too many things end up being phony and disappointing. Too much pessimism.

    It is amazing how many people want him to stick out his tongue and say, “I told you so,’’ yet say he’s too nice to do it. No, that’s wrong. He’s not too nice to do it. He’s actually too nice to think it.

    Tebow isn’t arguing. He isn’t like other athletes, upset about not getting his respect. He is just thankful for the opportunity to kick butt on a football field and genuinely thrilled he’s doing it.

    Tim 3:16 threw for 316 yards (and 31.6 yards per completion), breaking John Elway’s record for a playoff debut. And Elway, his boss, has been one of his biggest doubters. In your face, John? No way. Tebow does not think like that.

    The bandwagon is open for all comers, early or late. Tebow will welcome you personally, if you like. And he’ll mean it.

  2. Tredici

    Sorry this response was to Hit ‘em High or Low. Accidently attached to the wrong topic.

  3. Tredici

    The problem is the game is played in real time. No one has the luxury of “studying the video” and coming up with nuances that may or may not be there. It also doesn’t help the cause to say “there may have been some helmet to knee contact”. May have been? Wouldn’t it be easier to excuse the defender by saying the receiver shouldn’t have jumped so high? He stays closer to the ground it’s a torso hit.

    It’s a matter of leverage. Most defenders prefer going high or low as it takes less effort to knock the other guy down. Going for the middle is greater impact and requires more effort. Players are taught to go for the torso and wrap up but most don’t want to absorb the punishment to their own bodies. Seems like at the moment the league is willing to accept blown knees over brain damage so going low is the easy way out. Guys are taught since Pop Warner “Don’t lead with the crown of the helmet” yet they still do.

    What would be the purpose of a league conspiracy to purposely fine certain players? They all have a salary sufficient to cover the costs. And if they do fine Harrison, so what? He managed to take a target out of the game whether intentional or not. Pretty sure he’ll consider it an okay trade off.

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