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83-Steelers-43
10-09-2007, 09:11 AM
Nice to see somebody giving the guy some love.....

Steelers' Smith the best on the best
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By at least one measure, Aaron Smith is the Steelers' MVP, all due respect to Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker and James Farrior.

Smith is the best player on the team's best unit.

"In my opinion, he's by far our best defensive lineman," defensive end Brett Keisel was saying Sunday.

That's no knock on Casey Hampton, a three-time Pro Bowler. Keisel will tell you the Big Snack is a terrific nose tackle, the NFL's finest. It's also not excessive modesty on Keisel's part. He knows he is a very good player who's having a superb season, a significant piece of an outstanding defensive front.

It's just Smith's greatness.

"I've never seen anybody so sound," Keisel said. "Week in and week out, he grades out 95 percent on plus plays. That's almost impossible to do at this level."

Just as in every game, Smith was huge in the Steelers' 21-0 win against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday. His five tackles don't fully reflect his role in limiting Seattle star running back Shaun Alexander to 25 yards on 11 carries, Alexander's worst day in five years. Statistics never are going to show Smith's true value to the defense. That's why he is the team's most unappreciated star. Many times, he does his job perfectly by occupying a blocker or two or three so Farrior and the other linebackers can make the play. He, Keisel and Farrior are the only players among the front seven who never leave the field, no matter the defensive package.

"He's a beast," Keisel said.

To understand Smith's importance, you need to look at the Steelers' defense as a whole, then talk to those who play with him. They know the truth.

The defense has been lights out all season, a big reason the team is off to a 4-1 start, looking playoff bound. It ranks first in the NFL in total defense, second against the pass and fourth against the run. Perhaps most telling: The Steelers are giving up just 9.4 points per game, fewest in the league. If you throw out the punt-return touchdown by the Arizona Cardinals' Steve Breaston in the 21-14 loss Sept. 30, that number drops to 8.0.

As for finding players to talk about Smith? That's easy. They gladly line up to do it. They've already started to push Smith for the Pro Bowl. There was outrage in the locker room when he didn't make it the past two seasons after being selected in 2004.

"I don't think he's ever had a bad game," linebacker Larry Foote said.

"He always plays well and he plays hard," linebacker Clark Haggans said. "With Aaron, you expect it. It's never a surprise with him ... It just pushes all the other players to try to equal his energy."

Keisel is especially close to Smith. When he broke into the NFL in 2002, Smith immediately became his mentor. "I told him, 'Take my job, son.' Then I tried to help him do it," Smith said. "I taught him a lot. But now, he's become so good that he's teaching me."

Not exactly, Keisel said.

"I get better just by watching him."

Smith, in his ninth season and a starter since early in the '00 season, hasn't missed a game because of injury, playing in 130 in a row since his rookie year, including postseason games. That's remarkable considering the brutal punishment all NFL linemen take. Hampton, who is considered durable, missed the game against Seattle with a hamstring injury, another game last season with a bad hammy and sat out more than half of the '04 season with a knee injury. Keisel missed three games in '04 with a hamstring problem and all of '03 after shoulder surgery.

"Aaron is the iron man of our defense," Keisel said. "He's what all of us want to be, the guy we all try to emulate. He's our leader and we all follow him."

Are you ready for the topper?

"He's going to lead us to the Promised Land," Keisel said.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07282/823930-87.stm

Tankus_Maximus
10-09-2007, 09:19 AM
Great Post 83-43!!

I've been saying the same thing for the past 8 years! A. Smith is a stud!!

Also, as a side note, anybody notice how well Keisel has played this year??

tony hipchest
10-09-2007, 10:08 AM
chosing a captain on this defense has gotta be the hardest thing to do. im sure smith will get snubbed for the pro bowl in favor of r. seymour (who probably wont play more than 5 games) and his back up j green.

klick81
10-09-2007, 10:15 AM
Great post! I'm glad he's getting his due credit.

The Duke
10-09-2007, 03:31 PM
I love smith, every play he does something great.

sadly like tony said probably guys like seymour will get elected for the pro bowl, you know, the guys that have the numbers and stats, not guys like smith a pure class act and a beast no one recognizes

Preacher
10-09-2007, 03:47 PM
great story about Smith...

Greater comments by Keisel.

Dang...

Anybody think we are starting to see some type of fabric coming together? I think it is made of steel... and it is in this long hanging configuration....

Not sure what to call it though. A steel something.... OUr defense really looks like it right now....


Steel something. Hmmm. let me think of it for a while.

Atlanta Dan
10-09-2007, 04:04 PM
Great post! I'm glad he's getting his due credit.

Including what I recall is a new and improved contract this past offseason.

aburdell
10-09-2007, 06:03 PM
Yea i agree with that side note about The Diesel #99. He has been great this year. I like the fact that he lost weight so they could do multiple things with him. I think he dropped like 15 pounds so he could be a more flexible player. They are using him like a Jason Taylor/ Adalius Thomas this year. He has had his hand on the ground, lined up as a linebacker, covered short routes. His speed is underestimated I think. All those years playin special teams behind Kimo have paid off for Keisel.

Another side note, I cant wait for when Willie faces that terrible Denver run defense. I heard they give up like 187yds a game!!! Another 200+ yard game coming?

stillers4me
10-09-2007, 06:07 PM
great story about Smith...

Greater comments by Keisel.

Dang...

Anybody think we are starting to see some type of fabric coming together? I think it is made of steel... and it is in this long hanging configuration....

Not sure what to call it though. A steel something.... OUr defense really looks like it right now....


Steel something. Hmmm. let me think of it for a while.

I'm sure you'll think of something catchy...........:sofunny:

This team is full of unnoticed stars.

steelpride12
10-09-2007, 09:14 PM
Smith is overlooked.... just like the whole Steeler team.

tony hipchest
10-09-2007, 09:33 PM
Smith is overlooked.... just like the whole Steeler team.lol. the steelers are pretty high on everybodys radar. i doubt any of the past 3 sb champs will be overlooked this year (well except for maybe the ravens and patriots super c0cky head coaches taking us lightly).

aaron smith on the other hand will be overlooked because hes on the wrong side of 30 and the rooneys dont give multi million $$$ deals to those on the wrong side of 30.

shhhhhh. its a dirty little secret. :wink02:

Black@Gold Forever32
10-09-2007, 11:27 PM
Not bad for a journeyman Dlineman...Ok I'm sorry I know Nigel isn't here to defend himself.....I just can't help myself with that one calling Aaron Smith a journeyman Dlineman....lol

Preacher
10-10-2007, 01:58 AM
I am really excited about our Dline right now. I hope we can keep these guys together for a while.