View Full Version : Washington to start for Ward

12-02-2006, 06:52 AM

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Even with Hines Ward gone, the Steelers' passing game could flourish against the Buccaneers. Above, Ward is upended by Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister in the first quarter of Sunday's shutout loss to Baltimore.

Even without Hines Ward, the Steelers' passing game could still flourish against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Ward, the AFC's eighth-leading receiver with 57 catches, will miss only his second start in nine seasons tomorrow after having arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips in his left knee Monday.

That means Nate Washington, who has probably distinguished himself more for his drops than his catches this season, will make his first start against the Buccaneers.

"It's kind of hard to see your leader go down, but I'm definitely very excited," Washington said.

Ward, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has missed only one other game since joining the Steelers in 1998 -- last year's overtime loss to Jacksonville that ended his consecutive games played streak at 116.

"The biggest thing we're going to miss is Hines blocking in the run game and trying to get the run established," said wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. "We just got to protect our quarterback and give him time to get the ball down the field."

Washington, an undrafted rookie in 2005, is fifth on the team with 27 catches, but he leads in yards per catch (16.1) and is tied for second behind Ward with three touchdowns.

But Washington could be tied with Ward with six touchdown catches if he didn't drop passes in the end zone in games against Cincinnati, New Orleans and Baltimore. Of course, there was also that costly "flinch" at the end of regulation that prevented the Steelers from attempting a winning field goal in Atlanta.

"They say you have to put them out of your mind, but I didn't at first," Washington said of the dropped passes. "I let it bother me. But the more you play the more chances you have to redeem yourself."

Washington will get that opportunity against the Buccaneers, who haven't been able to do anything right in the secondary. They have given up 21 touchdown passes this season -- tied with Green Bay for most in the NFL -- but have only managed five interceptions, tied with the Saints for fewest in the league.

Nate has a big chance these next 2 games, or atleast this game coming up tomorrow to really shine and show the coaches what he can do by NOT dropping big passes at crucial times.

12-02-2006, 08:40 AM
I'm surprised they didn't start Wilson But than again, He's not much better than Washington:dunno: Washington Is just taller. and this will definitly show if he's got what it takes or not. Do or Die:2cents:

12-02-2006, 08:43 AM
Wilson is already starting, he'll play his usual position but Washington will start in place of Ward. What they should be doing is putting Santonio in there in place of Hines and letting him and Wilson start.

12-02-2006, 08:54 AM
If you don't mind TG, I would like to add a similar artical that I read yesterday to go along with your Post

Steelers wide receiver Nate Washington (85) has let several key opportunities slip through his hands this season. Ken Brooks/Herald-Standard
PITTSBURGH - He was Ben Roethlisberger's "receiver to watch" before the opener, and the words seemed prescient after Nate Washington pulled in a 27-yard pass for the first touchdown of the NFL season.

But Washington's season turned soon thereafter. He dropped a key third-and-six pass before dropping a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers settled for a field goal as their last score in the 28-20 loss.
Of course, the Steelers' new No. 3 receiver did add touchdown catches against Kansas City and Atlanta, but end-zone drops against New Orleans and last Sunday against Baltimore have stamped Washington as a question mark for next season.
The Steelers will look to re-stock their roster after this disappointing season, and the undrafted second-year receiver from Tiffin, who has as many drops as catches in the end zone this season, can't be feeling too secure about his spot. He's disappointed in his performance so

"In a way," Washington admitted. "You kind of want those plays back that you mess up. But everything's not going to be perfect, so what I had to learn is that after those mishaps I have to come back and let it go and fight for the next play. I'm not going to be perfect out there; no one is. So I'm trying to get myself in tune to moving forward or it's going to affect you on the next play. It kind of happened to me in the Saints game. I dropped two passes over the middle on seam routes because I was beating myself up over what happened on the first one."
Washington isn't looking back, and why should he? Sunday's game against Tampa Bay represents a new start. With Hines Ward out with a knee injury, Washington becomes the Steelers' starting flanker.
It's a vote of confidence from a coaching staff that could've easily justified starting first-round draft pick Santonio Holmes, who's second on the team with 32 catches for 486 yards.
Holmes has only one touchdown catch, but he also has only one drop - anywhere on the field - all season.
Washington is tied with tight end Heath Miller for fifth on the team with 27 catches, and is third with 431 receiving yards. Washington leads the team with a 16.1 yards-per-catch average.
"It's very exciting," he said of his opportunity Sunday.
"On one hand you have your leader down, the guy you look up to whenever you get down on yourself. I know he'll be there right on the sideline with us, but it's kind of hard being the first time we're not going to be right there with him in a regular-season game. It's exciting though at the same time. It's my first regular-season start.
"Many people don't get this opportunity. I never thought I'd be getting this opportunity, so it's kind of exciting at the same time."
It's obvious the coaching staff hasn't given up on Washington and neither has Roethlisberger.
After Washington dropped a 10-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter Sunday, Roethlisberger came back to him with his last two passes of the game.
Washington did snare a 27-yard pass and held onto the ball after taking a ferocious belt from safety Dawan Landry. That catch and the subsequent drop symbolize Washington's inconsistency this season.
"I try to do too much, worrying about securing it," Washington said.
"There's so much running through my head while the ball's coming to me instead of getting back to my basics, you know, having a clear head and just making the catch I know I can make."
Washington also took some criticism for an apparent lack of effort while chasing down an interception against the Cleveland Browns. Washington took exception to the question, the first he'd heard of the play.
"Nobody feels how I feel to run three, four deep routes and come back and have to chase a guy after an interception," he said. "It's a fight and it's a heart-will type of thing, but physically you're dog-tired out there, especially the situation where it's raining and your legs are working 10 times harder to fight to stay up in that weather on that grass, so for the people that think I loaf, I would love to see them get out there and do what I do every Sunday. I work hard. I go hard. Even if I'm not able to make the play I still try my best. The coaches never came to me and questioned me about loafing on that."
All of those questions and criticisms can come to either an end or a peak Sunday with his first start. Washington is looking forward to the opportunity.
"Definitely," he said. "I can't wait."
NOTES - Tampa Bay is 1-21 in games played when the temperature dips below 40 degrees. The forecasted high for Sunday is 41 degrees, but the game won't start until 4:15 p.m. ... The only players to miss practice were Ward and Troy Polamalu and both have been ruled out of Sunday's game.
I was really looking forward to Washington to have a great year(by Pittsburgh standards) but, he's got to be right up there at the top of the list for un-sure hands:yesnod:

12-02-2006, 08:56 AM
Wilson is already starting, he'll play his usual position but Washington will start in place of Ward. What they should be doing is putting Santonio in there in place of Hines and letting him and Wilson start.
My Bad, I thought Holmes and Washington was starting, Not Wilson:dunno:

House of Steel
12-02-2006, 09:58 AM
I would think they put Holmes in the third or fourth slot position on the formation. So, I see it as this:


12-02-2006, 10:20 AM
Washington will take over that starting spot opposite Ward in 2007, IMO. Nate does make some great catches but he kinda reminds me of Charles Johnson alittle bit...drops the easy stuff but makes some acrobatic catches, just not consistent.

12-02-2006, 12:41 PM
**** nate, start holmes you stupid ****......damn cowher just wants to lose every game so we can have a good pick to build on for the new coach

holmes >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> nate

12-02-2006, 12:42 PM
Come on Nate you started off looking good. Now let's step it back up!

12-02-2006, 01:08 PM
i agree tht they should start holmes
but so should washington

they should be starting across from each other

12-02-2006, 01:14 PM
Washington is fine as a starter Ben just needs to remember not to throw him the ball when he is in the endzone :bigthumb:

Holmes will get his fair share of plays too, but the dude is a rookie. I can see both sides though and Holmes has been on fire lately where Washington has been dropping his passes... we don't make the calls :dunno:

12-02-2006, 02:19 PM
Why don't we use Miller more.

12-02-2006, 02:29 PM
Why don't we use Miller more.

because our head coach is a ****tard and would rather have him blocking then utilize what he's good at

12-02-2006, 03:48 PM
We have a habit of under utilizing our TE's, its been that way all through the cowher era. Remember, when we drafted Mark Bruener he was an awesome receiver and set all kinds of conference and team records for Washington but we never used him in that manner.

If we would just look to Heath Miller more often the guy would be unstoppable !!!!!!

12-02-2006, 03:50 PM
I'd love to see utilization of Heath happening a little more. But since of course Cowher hasn't done so, who says it will happen Sunday. Just hopefully Nate can have himself a good game and not have a sour one.

12-02-2006, 04:34 PM
Right now I don't think allowing the TE to become a receiver is gonna help since the Steelers need all the help on O-line they can get...or at least that was evidenced in Baltimore.

I agree the passing game needs to be opened up and Heath used more in that fashion but I'm not sure if that will be able to be done during this season. I would like to see quite a few changes made in gameplan for 2007 compared to 2006.


House of Steel
12-02-2006, 04:40 PM
I often wonder and stratch my head on that one, why don't they set Miller in motion or line up in the slot route on the 4 or 5 wide formations? Miller is a hell of a receiver. I agree with Koopa, BuFu, and some others, Cowher is a ******** not to use Miller in the passing game more than often.

K Train
12-02-2006, 05:06 PM
Nate did okay whn he played more in the beggining of the season, but i expect santonio to play alot too.