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I-Want-Troy's-Hair
05-28-2007, 01:21 AM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_509785.html

Steelers ready for safety switch?
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, May 28, 2007

One day, Ryan Clark is the Steelers' starting free safety.

The next day, it's Anthony Smith.

Then it's back to Clark again.

Smith, Clark. Clark, Smith.

"Coach (Mike Tomlin) said he wanted to see us battle it out,'' said Smith, a third-round draft pick in 2006. "They've got us rotating. Every other day I'll start, and then he'll start, and then I'll start.''

Given that Smith is younger than Clark, has a bigger upside and is one of the most ferocious tacklers on the team, the smart money says he'll be in the starting lineup for the season opener at Cleveland.

Like it or not, even Clark sees the logic in Smith's replacing him on the depth chart.

"With the way he (Smith) played (last season), I think they want him to start,'' Clark said. "He's a bright young player. They drafted him for a reason. (But) a lot of coaches came to me this offseason saying they watched the film and that I played good ball. I think out of respect for me and the way I played last year, they at least have to give me the opportunity to compete.''

So there you have it.

Smith, who started the final four games last season, is taking the company line.

"We know we're two good safeties, so whatever happens, happens,'' Smith said.

Clark, an undrafted free agent who missed three games because of injuries, isn't conceding the starting job to Smith. However, Clark raised the possibility of his coming off the bench and joining fellow safeties Smith and Troy Polamalu in packages that would highlight his ability to defend the pass.

"It's a long way from being decided, or maybe it's not. Maybe they already know who's going to start,'' Clark said at the conclusion of Thursday's organized team activity session. "Looking at some of the things Anthony did, some of the spectacular plays he made, I feel like it's hard to keep him off the field.''

Clark is more than just football smart. He's a fighter and a survivor who takes nothing for granted. It's why he's still in contention for a starting job entering his sixth season with his third team.

"I expected it,'' Clark said of rotating with Smith as the No. 1 free safety. "Coach (Dick) LeBeau kind of even told me at the end of the year that was what it was going to be, so it was no surprise at all. We're going to alternate all the way through until a decision is made, I guess when the season starts.''

While Smith's physical attributes outweigh his lack of actual game experience, he said he has a greater understanding of how he fits into the defense.

"Each day it's been easier for me,'' said Smith, who developed a reputation as a headhunter his rookie season. "You have to be a general when you're back there in this defense. They're looking for that, and a guy who can make plays.''

Said Clark: "We have a lot of talented guys. Who do you keep off the field? I just want to play -- period.''

Stay tuned.

Preacher
05-28-2007, 01:35 AM
Now that is the type of interview I like to hear. Tell you one thing... while I worry about our CB's I have NO worry about our safeties!

Galax Steeler
05-28-2007, 05:05 AM
I believe that will be the best duo in the leauge.

lamberts-lost-tooth
05-28-2007, 06:22 AM
I believe that will be the best duo in the leauge.

I think that by the end of the season...you may be right!!!!
...and Mcfadden starting over Deshea will be an upgrade also!!!

SteelCzar76
05-28-2007, 07:21 AM
Tell you one thing... while I worry about our CB's I have NO worry about our safeties!


I second that Padre. While Clark is a very solid player with a great sense of purpose and clear perspective regarding the reality of todays game. Smith is not only the future,....but the present as well.
His range is incredible and he plays with the neccesary intensity that you need from your safeties. And IMO he could very well become one of the very best in the NFL as he becomes more comfortable with the 'nuances' of how the F/S spot is played in the league.

If he maintains a strong work ethic to go along with his 'nose for the ball' and his 'lights out' hitting style,...his upside might be dare i say,.....'Lott like' ? (Okay,...i'm pushing it there,...but 'something like Lott' is very impressive to say the least)

Elvis
05-28-2007, 07:24 AM
This all sounds good to me. But our DB's are still my worry wart, I dont see McFadden being that much of an improvement, if any at all. He is still young and last year he didnt play near as well as he did his rookie year. As for A Smith at FS, I know the steelers coaches will do the right thing there, and maybe if Smith can show some coverage skills to go with his tackling and aggressive style of play then the Steelers may have something very special at our S's position. I just hope that all is well with Troy an all his concussions, that is my no.1 concern at our Safety positions.

The Duke
05-28-2007, 07:58 AM
Finally they talk about it. Smith and Polamalu will cause some damage to teams out there.

rbryan
05-28-2007, 09:28 AM
I'm wishing we could have gotten Revis instead of Timmons. Time will tell. Hopefully Timmons will surprise me, but I don't have a good feeling about him.

Unless Ike does a 180 from last year we are gonna have problems at CB. I've watched the games from last year (over and over again, lol) Ike is in postion to make a play on the ball the majority of the time yet he gets beat way too often. Seems that he lacks the confidence to play the ball once it's in the air as opposed to playing the receiver.

myopunger55
05-28-2007, 10:59 AM
You can never have enough good safeties on your roster. Just ask the Seahawks in Superbowl XL (Willie Parker went 75 yards on a terrible angle by their second string safety). I can't wait to see Anthony "A-Train" Smith laying the smackdown in 07' but at the same time it's nice to know we have a solid player in Clark to put in there in when needed. To me it's a win win. Go Steelers!!!

FastWillieParker39
05-28-2007, 11:25 AM
Clark & Smith, damn thats going to be a good combo for years to come!

ben2hines=6
05-28-2007, 02:16 PM
clark wont be on the team past this year with smith starting....but polamalu and smith is a nasty saftey combo......and i think ike wil make the 180 turn with tomlin at the helm......BIG NAST D BACK IN THE BURGH :tt02:

yinzer-inseattle
05-28-2007, 04:21 PM
I like the Troy-Smith combo too. I can't imagine having to focus on catching the ball with possibilty of those two lurking back there. Seriously, which one would you rather get hit by? Not a good choice for the receivers in the AFC North.

Great for us though!

Edman
05-28-2007, 06:45 PM
The secondary is pretty scary and talented. But it won't mean jack chit if the QB has a big comfy window to throw. When the pass rush gets going, the secondary kicks into high gear.

coachspeak33
05-29-2007, 09:22 AM
this is a great "problem" to have....Troy is what he is....Smith showed flashes of impact ability....Clark is steady and Carter proved to be very valuable last season....I would say that those four would rank highly among the rest of the NFL as a group

onthebus36
05-29-2007, 03:51 PM
this is a great "problem" to have....Troy is what he is....Smith showed flashes of impact ability....Clark is steady and Carter proved to be very valuable last season....I would say that those four would rank highly among the rest of the NFL as a group

I totally agree and I'm glad you mentioned TC along with the other three. Those are four players who can contribute on both defense and special teams.

Speaking of safeties, what's the word on Mike Lorello?

klick81
05-29-2007, 07:13 PM
If Smith can keep himself from high-stepping to the sideline everytime he makes a pick, he's gonna have a GREAT future as a Steeler.

nwksteeler
05-30-2007, 10:17 PM
We definitely need more Smith this year. Hopefully Ike gets back on track along with Bryant(who was our best cover guy last year)our secondary could be tough which will give support to our pass rush.

SteelerWatch
05-31-2007, 08:58 AM
This all sounds good to me. But our DB's are still my worry wart, I dont see McFadden being that much of an improvement, if any at all. He is still young and last year he didnt play near as well as he did his rookie year.

With absolutely no pass rush, ALL defensive backs will look bad. As a unit, our secondary suffered last year because we couldn't pressure a QB.

RoethlisBURGHer
05-31-2007, 09:27 AM
I would have loved Revis too,and not because of how Ike played last year...but because Townsend is too old and I am not convinced that McFadden is completley ready to be an every-game starter.

I love the Smith-Polamalu combo at saftey.Both guys can knock the snot out of you,and both can come up with the pick.I wanna see that punk ass KW2 go over the middle with Smith there waiting to break him in half.

SteelerWatch
05-31-2007, 10:46 AM
I'm suddenly seeing images of Chad Johnson being squashed by two of the hardest hitting safeties in the league and literally disintegrating into orange and black dust. It's a very pleasant image.