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83-Steelers-43
11-29-2006, 08:01 AM
Cowher not throwing in towel

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 29, 2006


There are several things Bill Cowher won't accept from his Pittsburgh Steelers: not working hard in practice, looking toward next year rather than focusing on what remains of this one, and, most of all, giving up on the season.

The Steelers have five games left, but they couldn't have expected to be so far out of playoff contention with more than a month of the season remaining.

"It certainly is not where we expected to be at this point, but we're going to deal with it and proceed," he said.

The Steelers' 27-0 loss Sunday at AFC North-leading Baltimore not only exposed all of their season-long weaknesses, it ended any thoughts about staging another late-season rally and reaching the playoffs again. They could sweep their final five games and finish 9-7, but that record probably wouldn't be good enough to get them into the postseason.

Last year, they had to win their final four to get to 11-5, a record that earned them the last spot in the AFC playoffs.

"You have to learn to deal with it," Cowher said. "The longer you're in this business, the higher the expectation levels become. Certainly for our team and the expectations that we had, it becomes trying. It tests you. I think it becomes very revealing as well. It has a way of separating the conditional friend from the unconditional."

The Steelers (4-7) experienced a season like this three years ago when, after going 13-3 in 2001 and 10-5-1 in 2002, they matched their worst record under Cowher at 6-10. They rebounded the next season to go 15-1 and reach the AFC championship game, then won the Super Bowl last season.

However, Cowher isn't convinced that experiencing a bad season necessarily led to the two good seasons that followed.

"It's hard to say," he said. "I think you only know how to play one way and you don't turn that off. You've got to learn to deal with it. You've got to learn to accept it and grow from it. It becomes very revealing. ... It will be defining for a lot of people, including myself."

That's why Cowher doesn't plan any major personnel changes, especially now that he has a depleted roster. Two of his best players, wide receiver Hines Ward (knee surgery) and safety Troy Polamalu (sprained knee ligament), will miss Sunday's game against Tampa Bay (3-8) and possibly the Dec. 7 game against Cleveland (3-8).

"The bottom line is doing what you think gives you the best chance to win week to week," Cowher said. "People talk about wanting to prepare for the future and looking ahead. The best way to do that is win games and create that mind-set and mentality. You can't jeopardize any game just to develop somebody else. You don't know what your team is going to be like a year from now."

Cowher must be hoping these Steelers respond better to losing than they have in the past.

The Steelers reached the playoffs 10 times in Cowher's first 14 seasons, but the teams that didn't advance generally played worse in the second half of the season than the first. The exception was the 2000 team that started 0-3 but ended 9-7.

In 1998, they lost their final five games following an overtime loss in Detroit on Thanksgiving to finish 7-9. A year later, they went 1-7 in the second half to wind up 6-10 after being 5-3 at midseason.

Still, Cowher also doesn't want this team judged on its dismal play against Baltimore, a loss he said was as much an anomaly as last month's 45-7 victory over Kansas City was.

"I'm not going to let one game define who we are," Cowher said. "You're entitled to make whatever judgments you want to make. In my mind, one game does not define this football team. It's the ability to persevere through this, and that's what we're in the process of doing."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_481859.html

BigDuke6
11-29-2006, 11:20 AM
We need to win Sunday against TB and beat Cleveland again if we are to have even a sniff at 6-10. Carolina, Cincy, and Balt (again) will be hungry and tough, tough battles.

Steel12
11-29-2006, 11:24 AM
I just can't beleive that we suck!

Hines0wnz
11-29-2006, 11:41 AM
Argh, this whole season just disgusts me.

LambertLunatic
11-29-2006, 12:25 PM
I just can't beleive that we suck!

We have a much better team than our record implies. How many patriot fans jumped off the bandwagon after they missed the playoffs the year after their 1st SB? The patriots then came back to win 2 more. Likewise, our Steelers are primed and ready to go in 2007.

Too much has gone wrong this year. Ben had an off year after his accident and appendix. If he returns to form and we draft a Bettis type back, we have an even better offense than we had in 2005. I say this because Ben seems to have a lot more confidence in Holmes than he did in Randell El. As a receiver, Holmes done pretty good for a rookie. We've all been disgusted with Holme's unspecial teams play, but Reid will take over on there next year.

Smith will be ready to replace Clark at FS and McFadden should be ready to be effective. I honestly believe that our secondary will be one of (if not THE) best in the league, which will make our aging LB corp look better than they really are.

I don't think that we really sucked this year. Ok, ok, we DO suck this year, but we ARE poised to return to elite status. We had several guys have the worst season of their carreers all in the same season. Add to that the SB hangover (which can only be blamed on the coaching staff) and the emotional loss of Jerome, and you end up with a 4-7 record.

Next year we have the old Big Ben back, an experienced Holmes, (hopefully) a power back, an improved secondary, and a 3rd place schedule. All is good. :coffee:

memphissteelergirl
11-29-2006, 12:36 PM
Great post, LL!! Right on the $$$ :thumbsup:

lamberts-lost-tooth
11-29-2006, 01:14 PM
We have a much better team than our record implies. How many patriot fans jumped off the bandwagon after they missed the playoffs the year after their 1st SB? The patriots then came back to win 2 more. Likewise, our Steelers are primed and ready to go in 2007.

Too much has gone wrong this year. Ben had an off year after his accident and appendix. If he returns to form and we draft a Bettis type back, we have an even better offense than we had in 2005. I say this because Ben seems to have a lot more confidence in Holmes than he did in Randell El. As a receiver, Holmes done pretty good for a rookie. We've all been disgusted with Holme's unspecial teams play, but Reid will take over on there next year.

Smith will be ready to replace Clark at FS and McFadden should be ready to be effective. I honestly believe that our secondary will be one of (if not THE) best in the league, which will make our aging LB corp look better than they really are.

I don't think that we really sucked this year. Ok, ok, we DO suck this year, but we ARE poised to return to elite status. We had several guys have the worst season of their carreers all in the same season. Add to that the SB hangover (which can only be blamed on the coaching staff) and the emotional loss of Jerome, and you end up with a 4-7 record.

Next year we have the old Big Ben back, an experienced Holmes, (hopefully) a power back, an improved secondary, and a 3rd place schedule. All is good. :coffee:


I agree with your optimism..and would agree that not only will Smith and McFadden be an addition to our secondary...I look for Taylor to be better. I have ALWAYS thought that Deshea is our weak link...How many times have you seen him 5yds and 1 second behind his reciever!?

dSharp
11-29-2006, 01:17 PM
I won't say we suck. No way, because I don't think we do. I think certain areas are lacking.. or they suck.. for example, our tackles.. left and right.. are obviously two of the players Willie thought might have been satisfied from last years win. :)

I think it's a snowball effect.. winning or losing a bunch in a hurry. Personally, I point to the first 5 games we played.. all the turnovers.. cost us games that we were either in or had a lead and lost because of turnovers.

If's and but's are like candy and nuts, but if we hadn't screwed that first month - month and a half up with all the turnovers, we could quite possibly be leading or tied for the division/wildcard spot, etc.

Who knows what could have been. It is what it is.

Steelers
11-29-2006, 01:40 PM
How many patriot fans jumped off the bandwagon after they missed the playoffs the year after their 1st SB?

The Pats missed the playoffs that season? I don't know why, but that's really comforting right now.

Preacher
11-29-2006, 01:46 PM
I agree with your optimism..and would agree that not only will Smith and McFadden be an addition to our secondary...I look for Taylor to be better. I have ALWAYS thought that Deshea is our weak link...How many times have you seen him 5yds and 1 second behind his reciever!?

I agree with everything except for drafting a Bettis style back. Bettis was one in a million. We will waste more draft picks and money trying to find another big-quick-footed back that can stay away from injury like Bettis did for MOSt of his career.

I would prefer to see simply a bit bigger, yet fast back. I really don't want us to spend our number 1 or even 2 draft pick on one. Unless he is absolutely an amazing runner. I prefer we do it with a CB because I still am not convinced we have what it takes in our CB's.