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BlitzburghRockCity
06-04-2007, 12:33 AM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_510833.html



By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, June 4, 2007

Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton is talking more than ever. Funny, because the new season is still three months away.

Hampton is taking his role as one of the team's new leaders more seriously than a double-team block.

He promised to upgrade his 2006 performance, despite making the Pro Bowl for the third time in four years. He isn't too proud to admit that his numbers were good, but not nearly good enough as the Steelers finished 8-8 the year after winning Super Bowl XL.

Hampton realizes he can't ask more from his teammates, to implore them to take their play to a whole new level, without doing likewise.

In taking more ownership of the defense with the departure of fiery linebacker Joey Porter, he also accepts more responsibility.

"I have been a leader. I have been a vocal guy in the locker room. People didn't know it because Joey was our vocal leader. That was who you always saw out front talking," Hampton said. "Now that he's gone, I'll probably step up and talk more. I know the guys look at me as a leader."

Hampton picked apart his own game.

"I think I can play a lot better than I did last year," said Hampton, whose 33 tackles in 2006 tied his rookie numbers and was his second-lowest total in six NFL seasons. Hampton recorded 17 tackles in 2004 when he played in only six games because of a knee injury.

"I think I played good," Hampton said, "but I feel like I can play a lot better."

Hampton is a powerful two-gap nose tackle who engages two blockers on every play so his linebackers can roam freely and make the bulk of the tackles on running plays.

On pass plays, Hampton is asked to shove the center back toward the quarterback so that the quarterback can't step up in the pocket and evade the outside rush of the defensive ends.

Hampton is learning to counter how teams are preparing for him.

"Teams block me a lot different now," Hampton said. "Linemen don't really try to block me straight up, they just try to get in my way. It takes away from me making big plays.

"A lot of teams in the league play the 3-4, but nobody's nose tackle plays the way I play. A lot of teams let their (nose tackle) run behind blocks and get up the field and make plays. My job is way different than anybody else's."

Add increased leadership to Hampton's expanding resume. He plans to lead by words and example.

Hampton said his teammates are somewhat uneasy under new coach Mike Tomlin, which has made for spirited workouts at the Steelers' South Side facility.

Tomlin arrived agenda-free. He'll play who he wants, sit who he wants.

With few exceptions, no job is safe.

Because Tomlin doesn't play favorites, the players -- from big names such as Hampton to role players such as backup nose tackle Chris Hoke -- don't really know what to expect.

"You don't know what they're thinking about you, how they feel about your play," Hoke said. "Coach Tomlin says it doesn't matter what you've done in the past. You've got to prove you can play."

Prove it or lose it.


That's another great Tomlinism - Prove it or lose it !

Casey is such a force for us, that man can occupy 2 or 3 blockers and really open things up for us. You've got to have a pro bowl caliber NT in the 34 to make it work right. He and Hoke are both solid but I want to see them both step up their game even more now.

Prosdo
06-04-2007, 01:08 AM
Casey is a monster. Hopefully he can continue that this season. I like the prove it or lose it slogan also. :bigthumb:

Stairwayto7
06-04-2007, 05:35 AM
Lets go Casey

PsychoWard
06-04-2007, 09:43 AM
nice got to love that way to step up casey

AZ_Steeler
06-04-2007, 11:47 AM
Casey isn't going to lead quite like Porter but it is good to see him stepping up. The only thing starting to concern me is all these defensive guys saying they are going to step up and be leaders... There are plenty of veterans on the defense who are capable of stepping up but hopefully it's not a situation where everyone steps up, it could be disastrous and cause more problems than it's worth. All the D needs is one or two people that rally the troops and get 'em ready! :cope:

BlacknGold Bleeder
06-04-2007, 11:52 AM
Casey is the man!! Glad to see him stepping up his play and leadership role. As far as too many people stepping up to leadership roles, it will take care of itself, the cream always rises to the top !!:tt02:

BlitzburghRockCity
06-04-2007, 01:39 PM
When Casey speaks, you better listen :lol:

I think in a time of so much uncertainty that it's only natural for guys to want to step and be accounted for to help pull the locker room through this. All the players are uncertain and everybody is working hard to impress the new coaches so having solid leadership in the locker room is critical to our success. Players just can't look to the coaches for leadership all the time, they need to be able to look across that locker room and see familiar faces that are stepping up to the plate to help keep this team together in the huddle.

Im anxious to see how these players are going to step up to the plate !

DIESELMAN
06-04-2007, 07:52 PM
Its good to hear everybody wants to step up, doing it is a whole nother animal. Real leaders don't talk about being leaders, they just step up and do it.

Iron City South
06-04-2007, 09:30 PM
When Casey speaks, you better listen :lol:

I think in a time of so much uncertainty that it's only natural for guys to want to step and be accounted for to help pull the locker room through this. All the players are uncertain and everybody is working hard to impress the new coaches so having solid leadership in the locker room is critical to our success. Players just can't look to the coaches for leadership all the time, they need to be able to look across that locker room and see familiar faces that are stepping up to the plate to help keep this team together in the huddle.

Im anxious to see how these players are going to step up to the plate !


I couldn't agree more with this post. If anyone commands respect on the field and in the locker-room it's the big veteran Casey. His teammates will respond well to him.

RckyMtnStlrFan
06-04-2007, 11:01 PM
Casey isn't going to lead quite like Porter but it is good to see him stepping up. The only thing starting to concern me is all these defensive guys saying they are going to step up and be leaders... There are plenty of veterans on the defense who are capable of stepping up but hopefully it's not a situation where everyone steps up, it could be disastrous and cause more problems than it's worth. All the D needs is one or two people that rally the troops and get 'em ready! :cope:

I didn't even think of that, but since I read your post I realize your absolutely right. I do think that Hampton should step up. I also think that Troy should be in there. I know Troy is kind of quiet, but he should start being a lot more vocal. He is respected by EVERYONE in the league and has a huge opportunity to be the Steelers leader on D. Other than that I think everyone else should take a back seat in the leadership roll. You don't want too many leaders it causes all kinds of problems and the biggest one being ego. We don't need that on a Steeler team.:2cents: