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lamberts-lost-tooth
08-19-2008, 04:07 AM
Where does Smith stand?
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

He is one of the quieter players in the Steelers locker room, yet he has been at the center of a media-driven controversy two times in the past nine months.
The paradox extends to the football field, where he can be so authoritative, yet rudderless at times.

There is not a more enigmatic Steeler than Anthony Smith.

And as the team breaks training camp -- practice shifts back to their South Side facility today -- at least one fundamental question remains unanswered: Can Smith, who one Steelers veteran said has as much physical ability as any player in the secondary, be trusted as one of the last lines of defense?

Or, more to the point, does Smith get it?
"Until he does get it, he ain't going to get it," Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton said. "He's not going to play unless he does it our way."


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Smith by the numbers
Here is a look at what free safety Anthony Smith did in his first two seasons with the Steelers:
Year....G...GS...Tackles...Assists...Total tackles...INT...PD
2006..16....4........13...............2........... .....15...............2.......7
2007..16...10.......65...............9............ ....74...............2.......3

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That equates to Smith doing battle on two fronts, as he tries to unseat Ryan Clark at free safety, and they are the same ones he waged a year ago: man vs. man and man vs. himself.
Regarding the latter, Smith is not unlike someone taking swings at a piņata.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder can deliver ferocious hits, but he also appears to be blinded at times by an apparent need to lay out any wide receiver that dares to trespass over the middle of the field.

What the former third-round draft pick needs to strike more than anything else is a balance between playing aggressively and showing the restraint that is demanded of a free safety.

"Sometimes, the way he plays right now is all one speed," starting cornerback Deshea Townsend said. "When he gets it -- where he plays the mental game as well -- he's going to be a star back there. He's probably the most explosive player we have in the secondary."

Pro Bowl strong safety Troy Polamalu included?

"Uh, yeah," Townsend said. "Anthony is explosive. When he gets all of that down, he's going to be a great one."

Smith has shown flashes of greatness, but they have been diminished by the lapses that have left him out of position as well as ones in he has been perceived to be out of line.

The latter includes the high stepping he did after making an interception during his rookie season and the guarantee he made last December that the Steelers would beat the undefeated New England Patriots.

Then, of course, there are the run-ins he has had, literally, with the Steelers wide receivers.

Even coach Mike Tomlin said Smith violated practice etiquette with his hit on veteran Hines Ward. It renewed questions about whether the former Syracuse standout is aggressive or just a reckless head hunter.

"I'm not a dirty player," said Smith, who had four tackles in the Steelers' 24-21 loss to the Bills in Toronto last Thursday. "I'm not a (Patriots safety) Rodney Harrison. I don't hit people after the plays and all of that.

"I'm just a guy who plays the game in between the whistles. If people get mad at me for that, that's fine."

Smith realizes the coaches have a problem with how he plays at times. They drove that point home late last season when they stripped him of the starting job he had assumed after a serious illness sidelined Clark. He is still trying to convince the Steelers coaches that they can rely on him.

"They trust me, but they don't trust me to the point of 'Alright, he's going to be the guy,' " Smith said. "Me and Troy, we have the same mentality where we both like to get to the ball. Some things I do, they don't really like.

"They want you to be in a certain position at a certain time, and it's just little stuff you've got to work on."

Smith has been practicing at free safety and strong safety, and he said he prefers playing the former because he can see the entire field.

The problem with that is he sometimes loses sight of the fact that he has to keep plays in front of him and not always give in to the temptation to go for the knockout hit.

"I think a natural athlete wants to do it a certain way, and we give them the leeway to do it in the system his way," Horton said. "But when it doesn't work, you've got to do it our way, and it didn't work last year."

When told that Smith said he knows he has to earn the trust of the coaches, Horton said, "I'm glad. He's maturing. He's got to be in the right place at the right time and do what's expected. He understands that he's not going to play until he does it our way."

Tomlin sees signs of that happening.

"I know from a day-to-day standpoint, how he approaches his business, there's been an improvement," Tomlin said. "I'd like to think he's moving in the right direction."
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_583673.html

Galax Steeler
08-19-2008, 04:40 AM
If Smith would keep his mouth shut and calm down a little bit then I would think he would be a good player he needs to focus on what he is doing more then trying to lay killer hits on everyone.

Aussie_steeler
08-19-2008, 05:26 AM
That is the first article I have read that highlights the potential problem the steelers may have with Anthony Smith - his similiar style of play to Troy and the consequences that may exist with two players on the field together.

To me it reads that way because both have a freelancing type of mentality. As a result you would end up with a safety tandem that prefers not to stick to a coaches scheme but follow their insticts. A real risk reward type defence.

If they want both on the field who is going to yield and play the more conservative role? My guess .. whoever the coaches want --and that would be Smith, if he chooses to listen.

Sounds like it is time to listen.

GBMelBlount
08-19-2008, 07:01 AM
"Sometimes, the way he plays right now is all one speed," starting cornerback Deshea Townsend said. "When he gets it -- where he plays the mental game as well -- he's going to be a star back there. He's probably the most explosive player we have in the secondary."

No doubt Smith has potential. He needs to mature and play smarter, especially opposite Troy.

wootawnee
08-19-2008, 08:34 AM
His demeanor on the field reminds me of Ron Johnson.......He was the same way his first couple of seasons.........Even Lambert had to settle him down sometimes......Ron Johnson shut down Drew Pearson in superbowl XIII as a rookie......

Mosca
08-19-2008, 08:53 AM
"I'd like to think he's moving in the right direction" is not the same as "He is moving in the right direction." It is a phrase Tomlin used to deal with the media. Between the lines, the phrase means, "He is a stubborn rockhead. I hope some day he figures it out." Which is exactly the impression I got from the article and from reading Snith's own words.

HometownGal
08-19-2008, 09:11 AM
"Until he does get it, he ain't going to get it," Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton said. "He's not going to play unless he does it our way."


That's it in a nutshell, Anthony.

Me thinks Anthony needs to put away the stubborness, trim off some of the attitude and get with the Steelers program or he may find himself on the outside looking in at some point down the road, which would be a travesty as I believe this kid has a plethora of talent. :doh:

RoethlisBURGHer
08-19-2008, 09:48 AM
The kid has talent, that's for sure. But he needs to realize that the only player on this defense with the leeway to freelance is Troy Polamalu.

That means no waving off coaches, they are coming there to advise you. Take their advice, take their direction.

Also, stop laying out the recievers on your own damn team! If you lay out Ried, okay he very well might be cut this year...but don't lay out the likes of Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and Heath Miller.

I really don't want this kid going to another team. He can be a beast at strong saftey if they allow him to freelance a little bit. I don't want the Bengals getting hold of this kid.

revefsreleets
08-19-2008, 09:55 AM
I'm not confident. Troy made leaps and bounds (mentally), and Smith seems stuck in neutral.

tony hipchest
08-19-2008, 10:02 AM
waving off coaches? :wave:

:link:

gotta love blogs and message board rumours.

he was shooing a bee. my man HATES bees.

BlastFurnace
08-19-2008, 10:26 AM
Reading about his talent makes you really think of what our secondary could be with him back there. Problem is, he has to engage mind and body to play for Tomlin.

rbryan
08-19-2008, 11:37 AM
The first time he flashes thru on the safety blitz and blasts Carson Palmer, D Anderson, T Brady, etc... with one of those bone crushers he's capable of, all will be forgiven.

I noticed they turned him loose on the blitz a couple times against Buffalo. I can picture that blind side shot on Brady right now.

19ward86
08-19-2008, 12:03 PM
he needs to learn how to do his job because everyone knows that if all 11 do their job no more no less everything will fall into place.

Alva Lord
08-19-2008, 12:43 PM
Anthony Smith is obviously a slow learner. Once his mind catches up with his physical game he's going to make the Steelers defense even scarier.

stlrtruck
08-19-2008, 01:54 PM
That's it in a nutshell, Anthony.

Me thinks Anthony needs to put away the stubborness, trim off some of the attitude and get with the Steelers program or he may find himself on the outside looking in at some point down the road, which would be a travesty as I believe this kid has a plethora of talent. :doh:

The problem is that if he doesn't get it, another team will pick him up just for the simple fact that he can lay the lumber. And a team, like cinci, won't care about his professional etiquette.

Mosca
08-19-2008, 02:21 PM
The problem is that if he doesn't get it, another team will pick him up just for the simple fact that he can lay the lumber. And a team, like cinci, won't care about his professional etiquette.

And if that happens, when we play them we'll take advantage of his overaggressiveness and burn him, like everyone else did when he was with us.

Lord Stiller
08-19-2008, 02:30 PM
I still dont understand why Tomlin plays Carter over Smith :banging:

lilyoder6
08-19-2008, 02:51 PM
i would rather have smith playing over carter and even clark right now.. b/c during the bills game there were plays that he couldn't tackle.. smith is a very good hitter.. he reminds me of roy wiliams.. he is a great hitter/tackler but got burn game after game last yr.. but dallas is sticking w/ him b/c he's good and is improving his covering skills.. u can't just give smith a couple of series in a game to improve his covering skills b4 u start the u suck chant

Steelman16
08-19-2008, 02:54 PM
I still dont understand why Tomlin plays Carter over Smith :banging:

The quote from Ray Horton tells exactly why:

"Until he does get it, he ain't going to get it," Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton said. "He's not going to play unless he does it our way."

It's because for all of his lack, Carter has a brain and Anthony doesn't. That's why I was hoping Mundy would make the team. Mundy has a brain and he also has physical ability.

I don't know if Anthony will ever learn. I hope he does because of the level of talent he can bring to the table, but I fear that he won't.

BlastFurnace
08-19-2008, 03:27 PM
And if that happens, when we play them we'll take advantage of his overaggressiveness and burn him, like everyone else did when he was with us.

But...if they get him to play smart...they have a heck of a player. The last thing we need is for a team that desparately needs Safety help....like New England...to pick him up...and they would. Bellicheck would make Smith into an All-Pro. It's still too early to give up on him.

Alva Lord
08-19-2008, 03:31 PM
It's still too early to give up on him.

If the Steelers could give kordell stewart seven years to try and become a legitimate NFL QB then they can give Smith more time.

The Duke
08-19-2008, 03:59 PM
"I'm not a dirty player," said Smith, who had four tackles in the Steelers' 24-21 loss to the Bills in Toronto last Thursday. "I'm not a (Patriots safety) Rodney Harrison. I don't hit people after the plays and all of that.

:sofunny:

I love him for saying that

i would rather have smith playing over carter and even clark right now.. b/c during the bills game there were plays that he couldn't tackle..t

so because ryan has one bad tackling game, in which pretty much he whole D was missing tackles, he is not a good tackler?

If I remember correctly he has never had a tackling problem, he doesn't deliver the anthony smith hits, but he is a good tackler. one bad game from someone coming off a life threatening injury doesn't change that

If anthoy is going to start he has to play smarter, that's it. he's an excellent hitter, that's already a positive, but brains are missing

can't we just make anthony and ryan into one player?? :chuckle:

.like New England...to pick him up...and they would. Bellicheck would make Smith into an All-Pro. It's still too early to give up on him.

:doh:

wouldn't that be ironic, team humiliates him and then turns him to an all pro.

Texasteel
08-19-2008, 04:12 PM
Give Tomlin a little more time to work with this kid, Smith has loads of talent, and hits like a truck. Remember Tomlin is suppose to be the DB genus. When he decides that he can't do anything with Smith he'll get rid of him.
I would just hate to give up on a young player, and have him become a very good player someplace else.

HometownGal
08-19-2008, 04:29 PM
But...if they get him to play smart...they have a heck of a player. The last thing we need is for a team that desparately needs Safety help....like New England...to pick him up...and they would. It's still too early to give up on him.

If he is going to get his head together, he's going to have to do it on his own, BF. Common sense can't be taught. Hopefully, with the team leaders and other players Smith has around him, he can at least try to learn by example.

I'm not saying that the Steelers should give up on him at this point, but if a season or two down the road Anthony still isn't delivering what the Steelers want from him and hasn't screwed his head on straight by that point in time, he may become trade bait or be given the heave-ho, as hard as that is for us Steelers fans to fathom, as I think we all can agree that the kid is extremely talented but has a puddin' head.

Bellicheck would make Smith into an All-Pro.

Ughhhhh - the name Mike Vrabel still makes my ears hurt. :doh:

BlastFurnace
08-19-2008, 04:45 PM
If he is going to get his head together, he's going to have to do it on his own, BF. Common sense can't be taught. Hopefully, with the team leaders and other players Smith has around him, he can at least try to learn by example.

I'm not saying that the Steelers should give up on him at this point, but if a season or two down the road Anthony still isn't delivering what the Steelers want from him and hasn't screwed his head on straight by that point in time, he may become trade bait or be given the heave-ho, as hard as that is for us Steelers fans to fathom, as I think we all can agree that the kid is extremely talented but has a puddin' head.



Ughhhhh - the name Mike Vrabel still makes my ears hurt. :doh:

I know. While we can see so little of the kid from a fans perspective, what bothers me is hearing what the coaches say...Arians and Horton...Horton especially. They are the one's who see him every day. It goes to show, it was much more than the NE game that seems to have put him in the position he is in with them.

Vrabel.......I completely agree with you. I don't know how we missed on him so badly.:banging:

fansince'76
08-19-2008, 04:51 PM
Vrabel.......I completely agree with you. I don't know how we missed on him so badly.:banging:

We didn't. The only reason anybody knows who Vrabel is is due to Belicheat turning him into a novelty act during the SB and him catching a couple TD passes lining up as a TE in goal line situations with about a billion people watching, not to mention the nonstop and neverending ballwashing the Patriots* get as a franchise as a whole anyway. He made his first Pro Bowl last year, but who on that team didn't make the frigging Pro Bowl last year due to the hype? Vrabel is a solid player, and has always been a solid player, but Belicheat didn't coach him up to be a vastly better LB than when he played with us, IMO.

BlastFurnace
08-19-2008, 05:09 PM
We didn't. The only reason anybody knows who Vrabel is is due to Belicheat turning him into a novelty act during the SB and him catching a couple TD passes lining up as a TE in goal line situations with about a billion people watching, not to mention the nonstop and neverending ballwashing the Patriots* get as a franchise as a whole anyway. He made his first Pro Bowl last year, but who on that team didn't make the frigging Pro Bowl last year due to the hype? Vrabel is a solid player, and has always been a solid player, but Belicheat didn't coach him up to be a vastly better LB than when he played with us, IMO.

We just see two different scenerios then. I think we missed on Vrabel. We did nothing with him other than play him on Special Teams. After the Bledsoe sack in the 1997 Divisional Game, he didn't get much of a chance. They didn't even start him over Carlos Emmons. Bellicheck, whether a cheater or not, saw Vrabel's talent and did something with it.

lilyoder6
08-19-2008, 05:13 PM
duke, first off i said as of right now since clark hasn't played in a while and needs to get back into the ropes.. second of all, it seems to me that ppl on this board would disect a player far worse than i did after 1 game...

Dino 6 Rings
08-19-2008, 05:21 PM
I'm a pretty big Smith supporter, I watched him at Syracuse being a Big East fan. I liked it when we drafted him and liked his potential. Yeah...he shot off his mouth, stupid, and yeah, he is playing undicplined at times, stupid...

but where does he stand...

He's one pick 6 in a playoff game away from being local legend. He hits like a ton of bricks, tackles great on run plays, can cover the field with his speed as long as he isn't biting up on play action and has the quickness to pick off passes and better hands than some in our secondary...Ike...So...I like the upside.

He shoots his mouth off again (about anyone other then the Pats because that talking is going to last a while especailly after the "We've played against better safeties" comment) then he's out the door.

fansince'76
08-19-2008, 05:24 PM
Bellicheck, whether a cheater or not, saw Vrabel's talent and did something with it.

Too bad he couldn't do the same with Charred Scott. :chuckle:

stlrtruck
08-19-2008, 06:03 PM
If the Steelers could give kordell stewart seven years to try and become a legitimate NFL QB then they can give Smith more time.

Since you put it that way...you're right. But really what I don't get is the words Smith spoke at the end of last season only to come out and prove this season it couldn't remember what he said about maturity and growth.

But I'm sure he'll eventually get it...hopefully.

Preacher
08-19-2008, 06:07 PM
Despite the way this article has been spun in this thread... I think it is a fair, down the middle article.

The kid has talent... a lot of it... he needs to grow up... NOW... won't play until he does... but it seems that he may be starting to get it.


Now we wait and see how he does over the next few months.

anything else is pure speculation.

Hapa
08-19-2008, 06:54 PM
He should grow about 3 inches and gain about 50 pounds and he could make a great MLB :sofunny:

Seriously though, aggressiveness like that is absolutely necessary at position, you can't hesitate at all.

Welcome To Smashmouth
08-19-2008, 07:33 PM
I've heard nothing other than Clark getting the starting position up to this point, but if you ask me both Clark's coverage and tackling looked very suseptible in last week's preseason against the Bills.

Something tells me both players see a lot of action ths upcoming year

lilyoder6
08-19-2008, 09:09 PM
i said in another thread or this one can't remember.. lol

but smith is like roy williams.. a great hitter/tackler but not so good in coverage.. just need to work w/ him and let them get better in covering.. and it seems to me it's working for the both of them in the short snaps of the pre-season