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83-Steelers-43
08-21-2007, 11:53 AM
Ron Cook: Standing on the corner
Despite frequent challenges, Deshea Townsend remains a starter
Tuesday, August 21, 2007

By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

OK, so maybe it's corny.

Corny, but meaningful.

"Look at this shirt. This is my motto," Steelers receiver Hines Ward was saying yesterday, pulling a yellow jersey out of his locker.

HARD WORK BEATS TALENT WHEN TALENT DOESN'T WORK HARD.

"That's been me my whole career," Ward said, "and that's him," pointing at the man in the next locker.

Deshea Townsend.

"To me, he's still our best corner," Ward said. "Maybe he isn't the tallest in the NFL and maybe he isn't the most talented, but you need more than physical tools and talent to make it in this league. You have to be smart and you have to know the game. He does. That's why he's lasted so long with this team."

Ten seasons and counting, making Townsend, along with Ward and guard Alan Faneca, the most-tenured Steelers' players.

They came in together in the 1998 draft class -- Faneca, the can't-miss No. 1 pick who has become the most-decorated guard in franchise history, Ward, a third-rounder now the team's all-time leading receiver in catches who was a Super Bowl MVP, and Townsend, who, as a fourth-round choice ...

Hey, he's still starting.

No one can beat him out.

Not that they haven't tried.

It was supposed to happen at training camp last season. Bryant McFadden was going to be The Man. He had done a nice job as a rookie in '05, giving the Steelers a big push toward Super Bowl XL by knocking away a late pass in the end zone against the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning in the AFC playoffs.

Townsend held him off.

Skip ahead to this camp. Again, McFadden was supposed to win the starting job. He played well in nine starts last season when the Steelers' big-money cornerback, Ike Taylor, was in coach Bill Cowher's doghouse. He had three interceptions, matching Troy Polamalu for the team lead.

But guess who was running with the first defense at practice yesterday opposite Taylor, who has re-emerged as a key player for new coach Mike Tomlin?

Guess who has been there all summer?

Yep, Townsend.

He had a nice game at Washington the other night. In one three-play sequence in the second quarter, he chased down Redskins back Derrick Blaylock from behind for a 1-yard loss, closed quickly to tackle wide receiver Brandon Lloyd after a 2-yard catch and sacked quarterback Todd Collins for a 9-yard loss.

"I can still run with people out there," Townsend said.

But there's so much more to it.

Ward was absolutely right.

"The mental part of the game allows me to slow things down," Townsend said.

Townsend never stops working at his trade, never stops studying it.

"I don't take anything for granted," he said. "I take the same notes now that I did as a rookie. In our meetings, I always write down every player's assignment. That helps me to be better prepared to do my job.

"I learned that from coach [Bill] Cowher. He always said, 'Nothing is etched in stone. When you come to camp, be prepared to win your job.' That's what I've done every year since I've been here."

Even Townsend thought he might be finished with the Steelers after the '05 season. He did the NFL tour as an unrestricted free agent and was at New England Patriots headquarters, ready to sign a deal, when Cowher got him on his cell phone. He sheepishly excused himself from that meeting with the Patriots and wound up signing a four-year, $8 million contract with the Steelers through the '09 season.

Now, who's to say Townsend -- 32 on Sept. 8, the day before the opener in Cleveland -- won't last long enough to play it out?

"People always put so much emphasis into age, but I don't think you can do that nowadays," he said. "The way we train year round, the medical staff we have ... It's easy to keep playing at a high level as you get older."

That's if you consider hard work easy.

"It's never been easy for me and Deshea," Ward said. "It seems like they're always bringing in someone to replace us ...

"Go back to that '98 draft. If you would have asked then what players would still be with the Steelers 10 years later, I guarantee no one would have said me and Deshea."

Sometimes, it's nice to be wrong.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07233/810965-87.stm

mental.apparition
08-21-2007, 12:07 PM
DT brings a lot to the table. But he's going to struggle against certain types of receivers where McFad might not.

I like this suggestion from another site I read:

- Change your corners with your matchups, Mike. Who says you have to have two set starters? If it's the Redskins with their smurfs, you go with Townsend. If it's the Chargers with Jackson, Floyd and Osgood, maybe you go with McFadden. Anyway you look at it, both guys are going to be on the field a ton, and cornerback depth is a decided strength.

http://www.steelerfury.com/articles/title/Random-Thoughts-Episode-I

50 posts goes a bit over board on the spam protection doesn't it?

stlrtruck
08-22-2007, 10:35 PM
DT does bring a lot to the table and he offers a lot of leadership for an otherwise young bunch of DBs. However, he also can't handle certain receivers and unless he's been looking at film last year when he looked more like bread left in the toaster 5 minutes too long, he's not going to be ale to defend certain receivers (as ma alluded to) that can out muscle and out hustle.

I remember in the day when DT was a go-to guy and would come up big. It seems that lately he's been coming up lame. I hope his off-season preparation has changed some of those things.

Welcome To Smashmouth
08-22-2007, 11:10 PM
You've gotta love what the guy brings to the table. He's been our most consistent cornerback of recent years, and if you beat out Rod Woodson for an all-time Steeler statistic (sacks for a DB) thats really saying something.

I'm not going to lie, at this point in time I like him as a nickel-back for several reasons. Number one McFadden has been nothing but lights-out with what chances he gets, and I believe he will eventually become the teams #1. Secondly, Townsend is a GREAT blitzing DB, and from the niceklback position he will thrive doing just that. I'd still want Towsend on the field a whoole lot, just as the #3, with Lebeau cooking up some fancy schemes for him and the rest of the boys

Steeldude
08-23-2007, 08:35 AM
DT brings a lot to the table. But he's going to struggle against certain types of receivers where McFad might not.


but the real matter is he won't struggle with as many WRs as mcfadden.

NastyLloyd95
08-23-2007, 11:12 AM
Ward is just talking way to much these days...Coaches will make the calls, live with it Whines. And if you long time buddy does not make the starting line up live with it.

steelpride12
08-23-2007, 01:20 PM
DT brings a lot to the table. But he's going to struggle against certain types of receivers where McFad might not.

I like this suggestion from another site I read:


http://www.steelerfury.com/articles/title/Random-Thoughts-Episode-I

50 posts goes a bit over board on the spam protection doesn't it?

Mcfad. is still young and will prob. still make many mistakes, im very happy DT is still on the team we need his leadership for all our young guys playing DB!

Livinginthe past
08-23-2007, 03:30 PM
I remember the Patriots were sniffing round Townsend a season or two back - they obviously liked his ability to play above his physical size and his ability to read the game.

Its a common theme for football fans to get overexcited about he younger unproven talent on the team when there is a solid vet doing his job well.

Townsend/Mcfadden, Smith/Clark, Timmons/Harrison

Teams went after big money CB Ike Taylor for a reason - he has plenty of natural size but played smaller.

HometownGal
08-23-2007, 04:31 PM
Ward is just talking way to much these days...Coaches will make the calls, live with it Whines. And if you long time buddy does not make the starting line up live with it.

Huh? What's wrong with Hines giving credit where credit is due to a longtime teammate? I'm sure both Hines and Deshea are well aware that Tomlin isn't handing out jobs like candy - those jobs will be EARNED.

DT does work very hard. Sure he gets beat on occasion, but name me a CB in the NFL who hasn't or doesn't. B-Mac is the future, no doubt about it, but for right now, I'll take a veteran CB with an excellent work ethic, attitude and desire to be the best he can be at his position. If it's good enough for Tomlin, it's good enough for me. That is why I am in the stands, on a barstool or the sofa and Tomlin is making the big bucks as the Steelers' HC.

Preacher
08-23-2007, 04:38 PM
Huh? What's wrong with Hines giving credit where credit is due to a longtime teammate? I'm sure both Hines and Deshea are well aware that Tomlin isn't handing out jobs like candy - those jobs will be EARNED.

DT does work very hard. Sure he gets beat on occasion, but name me a CB in the NFL who hasn't or doesn't. B-Mac is the future, no doubt about it, but for right now, I'll take a veteran CB with an excellent work ethic, attitude and desire to be the best he can be at his position. If it's good enough for Tomlin, it's good enough for me. That is why I am in the stands, on a barstool or the sofa and Tomlin is making the big bucks as the Steelers' HC.

My take exactly.

And it may have been a little Vet incentive to a youngster...

Hey.. kid... you have to WORK to make this team.

Personally, I like the comment, and completely agree with it.