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    Steelers putting in the time on special teams.....

    Bill Cowher apparently was all talk about special teams. That’s what the players are saying after getting a taste of what Mike Tomlin means when he says special teams are a third of the game.



    PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Clark has a warning for fans traveling to St. Vincent College to watch practice this summer.

    “It’s terrible as a spectator to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers practice in 2007,” Clark said. “I can’t imagine the fans are going to be happy.”
    Why?
    “There are a million more special teams,” he said as the Steelers’ special-teams-driven Organized Team Activities reached the halfway point of the spring schedule.
    “We actually didn’t even have special teams at OTAs last year – at all,” Clark said. “We did a little bit at walk-through. But it makes practices a lot longer and a lot harder.”
    And a lot more boring to watch. The Steelers warm up, they stretch, and then they scrimmage for a bit. They’ll break for at least 20 minutes of special-teams work, scrimmage some more, then break for more special-teams work.
    As much as the Steelers talked up the importance of special teams under Bill Cowher, they never backed it up with this kind of action on the practice field.
    “Oh, for this time of year it’s definitely a lot more,” said special-teams co-captain Clint Kriewaldt. “From what I remember I don’t think we even did any at this time. Maybe in OTAs we’d do a punt or something like that, but in minicamps we never had any time for special-teams stuff. It’s different now. We have 20-minute meetings and then at least 20 minutes on the field. We get it before and during. It’s definitely a lot more than what we’re used to.”
    The Steelers have two special-teams coaches this year: Bob Ligashesky and assistant Amos Jones. Ligashesky will work, for instance, two segments of a 20-minute period with the interior of the punt protection, while Jones works with the gunners and the holdup men. They coach how to, for example, take on the first line of blockers and then they coach how to take the next step and then the next step. After the slightest of details are covered, the coaches bring the players together to run the entire play a couple of times.
    Kriewaldt was asked if all of the nuance work is helpful or perhaps overkill.
    “I plead the fifth on that one,” he said.
    So, it’s overkill?
    “We’re doing a lot of, like you said, very detailed stuff, and in my mind special teams isn’t about that,” Kriewaldt said. “It’s about having guys who want to run down there and make plays.”
    Ligashesky, the 44-year-old Pittsburgh native with 22 years of coaching experience, had a logical response.
    “If you can execute and ‘Go kill,’ it will make you that much more effective,” he said. “Why can’t we do both of those at the highest level? That’s the whole theory about ‘Go kill.’ You can execute with that mentality without having to think about it – unconscious confidence, if you will.”
    Ligashesky (lig-a-SHES-kee) was an assistant special-teams coach in Jacksonville in 2004 before becoming the special-teams coach in St. Louis. After the 2005 season, he was one of only three assistants retained by new Coach Scott Linehan, but Ligashesky’s contract wasn’t renewed following the 2006 season, when the Rams finished 25th in punt return, 26th in kickoff return and 28th in kickoff coverage. Those statistics are about the norm for a Rams team that’s on its fifth special teams coach since the 2000 season.
    The Dallas Morning News, using 22 categories in the kicking game, ranked the Rams’ special teams 25th in the league last year. The Steelers, under Bill Cowher and special-teams coach Kevin Spencer, ranked 30th.
    “I love Coach Spencer,” said Kriewaldt. “A lot of people don’t realize he didn’t have any time in minicamps. He wasn’t allowed. He would’ve loved to have as much time as we have now. I think we only had 10 or 15 minutes during practice even during the season and he tried to cram everything in there. He had a limited amount of time, and a lot of people don’t know that Coach Cowher overruled a lot of stuff. He was basically the special-teams coach, too. Everything had to go through him.”
    Because of Tomlin’s “vision,” as Ligashesky put it, the Steelers now have two coaches to discuss and map out special-teams plans only. The result is a long and boring practice that has the players wondering aloud about the payoff. But those players are buying into Ligashesky’s methods. “Losing to Atlanta, losing to Cincinnati here, those games came down to one or two plays,” said Clark. “If you’d have focused on fundamentals and technique, you might make those plays, and those plays can make a difference in the game. I think it’s going to really help.” “Their communication in the meetings and on the field has been really good,” said Ligashesky. “Again, the standard that they’ve developed here is outstanding, the way that they make the other guys say, ‘Hey, you need to make sure you know what you’re doing when we’re on the field or in the meetings.’ You can see where that’s one of the strengths.

    By Jim Wexell
    SteelCityInsider.com
    Posted Jun 2, 2007
    Everyone already knows how bad our ST's sucked last year. This is great news to know that the new coaching staff is actually doing what they said they were going to do. I am still stoked about our team this year, we are making steady progress everywhere.

    You like that pic K?


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    Some games are won and lost on ST play, and I'd prefer that we lean toward the WIN direction--apparently Mike feels the same way lol

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    OMG i want a d-sep pic in full steeler gear so i can make a sig out of him lol...were getting there lol

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    This was a good read D-man
    It seems to me that Cowher was definitly not a team player. if everything had to go through him, what was the need for other coaches? I wonder how many more Superbowls we could have won if he would have just let other Coaches do their jobs and took some advise instead of running this team like it's just his.
    Well hopfully if Tomlin doesn't try to run this team like only he can make things happen, then we should be ok
    "It is hard to wait around for something that you know may never happen;but it's even harder to let go when it's everything you want"
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    Chairman of the Board Iron City South's Avatar
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    "Bill Cowher apparently was all talk about special teams. That’s what the players are saying after getting a taste of what Mike Tomlin means when he says special teams are a third of the game."


    This statement alone tells me we're on the verge of getting back on the road to success. Ben's INT's aside, with even average ST's play last year ... we were back in the playoffs.

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    We've lost so many games because of ST over the years it's not even funny. Cowher always said ST this and ST that but we were so inconsistent overall during his tenure with them that looking back the players are right, it was all talk.

    The return game and kicking game so important because it's sets up the defense and offense for their next time on the field. I love seeing us put so much emphasis on them.

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    Bill Cowher is living proof that if you stick with Marty ball long enough you CAN win a super bowl. He is a Marty protege' all the way and with any other team would have been fired long before he reached the 15 year mark. I applaud the Rooney's for being so patient with a guy who wasn't a great coach. I may be attacked for saying it, but I think with a coach like a Bill Belichick we would have 6 or 7 Lombardi's in the display case by now. We had some great teams over the last 15 years who fell short far too many times. 2-3 in conference championships and 1-1 in SB's is very Marty'esque.

    I am excited that we appear to actually have a head coach now who is "plugged in" to this team and is actively involved in every aspect of the team. I don't see Tomlin as a guy who is just a figure head or would ever allow himself to settle into that mold.

    I am happy to hear that none of the veterans feel comfortable or secure about their jobs......that's great! They shouldn't feel comfortable or that means that the back-up for their position sucks and is not putting enough competitive pressure on them. For maybe the first time ever some of those UFA's actually have a chance to make the squad because this coach is looking to field the "best" 53 players he can.

    Yes, Steeler football has definitely turned a corner and is heading into an exciting direction IMO. I am stoked about the possibilities!



    Mark my words......when Bill returns to coaching and gets hired by a 1-15 club you will see him last 2, 3 years tops and he will get canned from his next job. HE will never again work for owners as supportive as the ones he left. I have heard talk that maybe Jerry Jones has some interest in Bill. He definitely wouldn't last long in Dallas! 1 or 2 losses chalked up to incompetent coaching decisions would have Jerry showing Bill the door real quick!

    BTW....I don't hate BC. He was a great motivator, but just an average strategist.
    Last edited by BlackGold4vr; 06-04-2007 at 11:05 AM.
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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Its funny the more I stuff I learn about Bill Cowher, the more I'm really glad he is gone....He was all talk about special teams.....Now reading this that he really never paid that much attention to special teams during OTA's and mini camps proves that....What tool you're Cowher....

    As for Kriewaldt thinking its over kill....Dude its not rocket science....lol Just learn the **** and play...lol

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    Kreidwalt needs to wise up here...the NFL is changing and evolving as we speak, in all facets of the game. ST is no different, it's no longer good enough to just get a bunch of backups to go out and run down the field with wreckless abandon and tackle the ball carrier or just simply make a wedge for the return guy.

    ST is about controlled chaos when it comes right down to it. You need guys that are committed to being on ST and know what it takes and how important ST are the success of your team. If these guys can learn the specifics of it and apply it along with still having that killer instinct we'll have one of the best ST units in the league.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    Kreidwalt needs to wise up here...the NFL is changing and evolving as we speak, in all facets of the game. ST is no different, it's no longer good enough to just get a bunch of backups to go out and run down the field with wreckless abandon and tackle the ball carrier or just simply make a wedge for the return guy.

    ST is about controlled chaos when it comes right down to it. You need guys that are committed to being on ST and know what it takes and how important ST are the success of your team. If these guys can learn the specifics of it and apply it along with still having that killer instinct we'll have one of the best ST units in the league.
    Nice post Top....Can you imagine how good the Steelers special teams can be this year? With the ultimate weapon in Daniel Sepulveda and Mike Tomlin's extra attention to special teams the Steelers might have the best special teams in the NFL this year....I think our coverage units are going to be among the best since Chidi is still there. Then the youngs rooks like Timmons, Woodley and Gay will all play on the kick coverage teams...So if Kriewaldt can't hang then I'm sure he will be gone...Which wouldn't be to bad since thats all he is anyway is just a special teams guy..

    I never understood why Cowher kept three special teams guys? With Chidi, Morey and Kreidwaldt thats all those guys were for the most part...I guess Cowher felt since he didn't pay to much attention to special teams that he would make up for it by keeping three special aces....Well that didn't work...

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