View Full Version : It's not will the Steelers change their style, but can they?

12-15-2011, 10:52 AM
You hear it from defensive players all the time; I've been playing the game this way since I was a kid. It's the only way I know how to play, etc. Troy Polamalu offered this up in a recent interview (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11349/1196963-66.stm?cmpid=steelers.xml#ixzz1gcPMQp8y):

"I don't think any football player is going to go out there and change the way they're playing. I think it's too late in our lives to really do that. Of course, we're professional athletes and we try our best to adjust, but it's tough."

As a player on defense you grow up playing football in middle school, high school, college, and you're taught to get the player down at all costs. Dislodge the ball whenever possible and make your presence known to the offense. If you instill fear in them and get in their head they'll think twice about going up for that high pass across the middle knowing that you'll be coming to take their head off.

The players in the NFL now have been taught that type of defensive game their whole lives. They've been doing it this way since they came into the league, the old school way that their coaches taught them from decades of experience and knowledge. When players say, "I can't change who I am or how I play" there's a lot of truth to that. The best players in the NFL play on instinct and react to what unfolding in front of them. When you think about your game you lose a step, miss the tackle, miss the interception, or whatever. That's why you hear about young guys trying to learn the game so they can just play and not think about it. Today's NFL players that have been in the league for a number of years, especially the top flight players, all play on instinct. Sure they think about situations and how to best take care of their assignments but when the play is in motion they instinctively do what they know and what they've been taught over the years and learned from their coaches.

Quite honestly let's be realistic here, there aren't that many situations in a game every week that you get a chance or are put in a situation to really lay the wood down on a player. Sure there are a handful but the majority of the time you make your basic tackle and go on about your business. It's those handful of plays that get all the press hype and analysis from the league. That's what they want you to see, the big hit that makes James Harrison look like the bad guy. Never mind the 6-8 tackles he makes per game that are perfect form, completely legal, stops.

Basically what I'm getting at is that if the NFL wants to change their league to as little contact as possible, then it's going to take years and years to do so. Until the next generation of college players come out of school learning how to tackle the way the NFL wants them too, rather than the old school way.

12-15-2011, 11:00 AM
This was a team a few years back that no one wanted to play because of the hitting they laid down. The league (Goodell) wanted to nip that in the butt so they put these new rules into effect...

So now our guys need to tame it down and be more like the other soft pussy teams out there thus ruining Steelers football as we knew it..

Should they tame it down, sure but will they and still be a scary team, who the F knows...

12-15-2011, 01:23 PM
If you listen to the guys on Sirius, or the NFL Network, or any of the network broadcasters, the majority of them will side with the league every single time. There's only a handful with the guts to stand up and say it wasn't a dirty hit or Harrison shouldn't have been flagged. The ones that due are usually guys that have played before.

You can't get an unbiased opinion in the NFL to save your life because they all answer to the big machine.

12-15-2011, 01:39 PM
I agree. It's hard for one of these professional guys to pull up and reach for the flag around the ball carrier's waist.

12-15-2011, 10:03 PM
I don't think you'll see the Steelers change who they are. You are still going to see Ryan Clark light someone up if he gets the chance. When Harrison comes back he's still going to be who he is, I just hope with no more suspensions but that remains to be seen.

Coach Lebeau has taught these guys how to play, I don't care what anyone says you can't completely undo that type of teaching. Sooner or later the big hit is going to happen, it's just inevitable.

12-16-2011, 12:19 PM
I think they can only because there are so many aging veterans who won't be here in coming years. Well, maybe that means they can't change, but the team will change its identity on defense, at least a bit, whenever some of the faces change out there.