View Full Version : Wins, not money, motivates Polamalu

11-17-2007, 08:50 AM
Wins, not money, motivate the Steelers' Polamalu
Saturday, November 17, 2007
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It might seem like safety Troy Polamalu started performing like the highest-paid player in Steelers history about the time one of the team's coaches said Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed is a better player, but that's merely a coincidence.

So says, ahem, Mr. Polamalu.

"I wasn't offended. I think that, too, about Ed. I've told Ed that. 'You're the best I've seen.' The best ever, in my opinion. So, no, it didn't bother me."

It's safe to say Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians wasn't dissing Polamalu but rather kissing up to Reed, who was going to be in town a few days later for the Nov. 5 game at Heinz Field. "Ed's a great player. I personally think he's the best," Arians told the Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. "I love Troy, and I think he's good. But Ed is really good."

If Polamalu wasn't offended, a lot of Steelers fans were. He has become a crowd favorite, right there with offensive stars Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and Willie Parker. Have you counted how many No. 43 jerseys are in the Heinz Field stands on any game day? It didn't help that Arians made his comparison the week Polamalu was honored among the Steelers' all-time greats in their 75th season celebration. You almost could hear the masses screaming.




Easy, people.

It's not like Arians called Polamalu a stiff.

No one at Steelers headquarters calls him anything but fabulous.

"He's just a consistently great football player," defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said.

Speaking of taking offense, LeBeau took a little at the suggestion that Polamalu has been making more plays than he did earlier in the season.

"He's always all over the field," he fairly growled.

Who are we to argue?

Oh, what the heck.

Polamalu certainly has had more impact on the games of late. It started after he missed the Seattle game Oct. 7 with a rib injury, a 21-0 Steelers' win that prompted him to say, in typical humble fashion, "They don't miss me." Since then, he has shown just how valuable he is to a franchise that dug deep to sign him to a five-year, $33 million contract --including more than $15 million in signing and roster bonuses -- before the season. He's been huge in a defense that's holding the NFL's version of a Superfecta ticket -- first in the league against the run, first against the pass, first in overall defense and first in fewest points allowed.

In the past four games, Polamalu had a total of 31 tackles, more than tackle-machine linebackers James Farrior and Larry Foote, more even than linebacker James Harrison, who is playing as if he wants to be the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. Polamalu was especially good in the wins against the Ravens and the Cleveland Browns last Sunday. About the time the great Reed was being knocked silly by a block from Ward, Polamalu was forcing a fumble by Ravens running back Willis McGahee to set up a Steelers touchdown. Against the Browns, he used his terrific closing speed to break up two passes for tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. and sliced through to stop running back Jamal Lewis for a 2-yard loss on a big play late in the third quarter.

OK, so maybe that's not Harrisonesque, but it was huge nonetheless.

Polamalu's response?

"So-so," he said of his latest performances.

So typical.

"Quite honestly, as a defensive back, what's just as upsetting as not getting an interception is knowing the other team is going to run a play, they run it and you still don't stop it," Polamalu said. "That happened a few times [against the Browns]. That bothers me as much as anything."

The man is a tough critic.

Tough, but fair.

Polamalu said he's no different now than he was earlier in the season or last season when he made his third consecutive Pro Bowl or in '05 when he was All-Pro and led the Steelers to the Super Bowl.

"I'm the first to say whenever I get the opportunity to make a play, I've got to make it. But you don't always get those opportunities. It's not like a quarterback or a running back, who can create their opportunities. You have to take what's out there on the field ...

"I don't think my effort or my preparation has changed since I was a rookie."


You thought the big money would go to the guy's head?

"It all depends on what's important to you. Money isn't the most important thing to me," Polamalu said.

"I don't even know what I make. My checks go straight to the accountant."

Added LeBeau: "Troy's never going to change. He's too well-grounded to change."

On that, the coach gets no argument.


11-17-2007, 09:03 AM
Nuff said.

From Cardinal & Gold to Black & Gold Polamalu is the 'gold standard'.

Atlanta Dan
11-17-2007, 09:25 AM
Cook obviously is missing the point

It was not Arians comments praising Ed Reed but the "Is Polamalu Overrated?" thread on this board several weeks ago that got Troy in gear.

IMO the rib cartliage tear and Troy assimilating the infusion of Cover 2 tactics into the defensive schemes (he spent 2003 learning the defense and then was off to the races in 2004) slowed Troy down earlier in the year. His play last Sunday showed me Troy still has his burst.

11-17-2007, 09:43 AM
Wins, not money, motivate the Steelers' Polamalu

"I don't even know what I make. My checks go straight to the accountant."

Same here! :toofunny:

tony hipchest
11-17-2007, 01:30 PM
IMO the rib cartliage tear and Troy assimilating the infusion of Cover 2 tactics into the defensive schemes (he spent 2003 learning the defense and then was off to the races in 2004) slowed Troy down earlier in the year. His play last Sunday showed me Troy still has his burst.troy definitely still has the burst.

one of the worst critisizms ive read is that "he misses tackles". this doesnt tell the whole story. i have noticed 2 things on alot of the tackles troy has missed.

1) he is flying in like a missle. it is a challenge of physics for someone flying in that fast, to clamp their arms around a moving target. these guys are good but their not superhuman and troy is not spiderman.

2) many times troy is flying in leaving his zone or man to assist on a tackle or slow down or redirect a player, from left field.

3) if troy is not lined up in the middle, alot of times the ball simply goes to the other side of the field. any time troy shows up in the picture is gravy, whether he causes a fumble, makes a tackle, or even slows and re-directs a player.

most safties who arent close to troys league dont even make it into the picture. like tomlin says, you are what you put on film, and troy is always in the mix. tomlin and lebeau will defend troy to the bitter end because they know what they got. i will too. thats why he got paid what he got paid.

ed reed is good too but i think he is tested a bit more and teams avaoid him a bit less.

steel striker
11-17-2007, 03:03 PM
Troy is amazing he is a game changing player without a doubt. He is one of those players that you love to watch and saw wow how did he do that. He plays with passion like no other and closing speed that makes other players look slow. He plays with reckless abandonment. I'm real happy he plays for the black and gold. He is a true steeler through and through can you imagine our defense without Troy? I sure can't.