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mesaSteeler
01-14-2009, 06:50 AM
Steelers' 'Garbage men' prove they're no longer a 'weak link'
By Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY

PITTSBURGH — There was the night Willie Colon sat alone in a bar on the South Side, unwinding after work and minding his own business when a stranger approached.

"You a Steeler?" Colon remembers the man asking.

Good guess. Colon is a thick 6-3, 315, and has started every game at right tackle the past two years for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With that much established, the stranger — whom Colon says wore a raggedy jacket to match disheveled hair — got a bit personal.

"You've got to understand," Colon recalls the man telling him, "I've lost 40% of my portfolio. I put 10 Gs down in Vegas. If you guys win the Super Bowl, I get $200,000. If you can help me out …"

Exhale, Roger Goodell.

Colon says he did exactly what might be advised at the league's annual rookie symposium, when it comes to handling such sticky situations.

"I paid my tab and got the hell out of there," Colon said. "But that kind of shows you how people put it all on us. That's the pressure that makes our job unique."

Sometimes, it feels like the Steelers' offensive line is carrying the weight of the world. When Colon went to Wal-Mart earlier this season, he says he got a mouthful from a heckler who was upset by spotty protection for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and limited holes for running back Willie Parker— a theme that has been an undercurrent in the Steelers' season as the unit tries to come together through various forms of upheaval.

No wonder left tackle Max Starks suggests calling the line, "The Garbage Men."

"Everybody has looked at us as the weak link," Starks said Tuesday, as the Steelers prepare for Sunday's AFC title game against the Baltimore Ravens. "But we just take all the crap, shovel it, and throw it out."

Like Colon, Starks has drawn unflattering attention in public. He says he's constantly amazed that passionate fans will cite details such as false-start penalties.

"You figure players at the marquee positions will get noticed," Starks says. "But here, people will make comments about you and your performance, no matter what. And it can come from little kids or little-old ladies alike. Everyone in Pittsburgh is tuned in."

Unlike offensive lines for recent championship teams that developed over at least a couple of seasons, the Steelers' unit has had to mesh quickly. Only Colon returns to his position from last year. Chris Kemoeatu is the new left guard, stepping in after perennial all-pro left guard Alan Faneca left as a free agent. Center Justin Hartwig came during the offseason as a free-agent signee. Right guard Darnell Stapleton has been in the spot for 13 games, after Kendall Simmons tore an Achilles tendon. Starks has started 12 games, after Marvel Smith went down with a back injury.

The shuffling undoubtedly contributed to the 46 sacks Roethlisberger took during the regular season that were second-most in the league, and a 3.7-yard average rushing gain for the team that was fourth-lowest in the league.

"People don't understand that the continuity comes by playing together," Colon said.

Added Starks, "We'll take that burden. That's the job of the offensive line."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin suggests the line has been an easy target when the offense sputters. Parker's injuries have factored into the inconsistency of a 23rd-ranked rushing game, and Roethlisberger's tendency to hold onto the football (often while seeking big plays downfield) have always spiked his sack totals.

Still, when Tomlin listed priorities for the playoff opener he emphasized the play of the big men on the offensive and defensive lines, Starks said, as the No. 1 key to victory.

Done. Roethlisberger was sacked just once in Sunday's AFC divisional playoff win against San Diego. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians called smash-mouth runs on the first three plays, gaining 22 yards, and setting a tone that resulted in 146 rushing yards from Parker, most by a Steelers back in a playoff game in 33 years. An avalanche of praise followed.

"It's a group of guys that battled all year," said tight end Heath Miller. "They took some knocks from people outside our locker room, but they just keep on the grind. They're playing as good as they've played all year."

Adversity has helped the unit become closer, using criticism as fuel.

"It's kind of one of those things where you want to play hard for your brother," says Starks. "We're definitely like brothers. We fight, we play around. But we know when it's time to get the work done, the accountability is between us."

And their endearing public.


Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/2009-01-13-offensive-line_N.htm?csp=34

KeiselPower99
01-14-2009, 09:47 AM
I hope they continue to gel and take some Ratbird trash out come Sunday night.

coldsweat
01-14-2009, 10:12 AM
I could not imagine talking trash to these guys.
The few games I have attended ( Three Rivers Stadium) where the players would come out of the locker room, I did not even want to ask them for an autograph.

I did however get some great pics. I remember Dwight Stone just sitting on the hood of his car and signing autographs.

There was like no security around, We were standing right next to Cowher's black bmw.

chenzzo
01-14-2009, 10:25 AM
when complaining about the o-line this year, I never realized or thought about just how much turnover there's been.

MasterOfPuppets
01-14-2009, 10:30 AM
Sometimes, it feels like the Steelers' offensive line is carrying the weight of the world. When Colon went to Wal-Mart earlier this season..... willie got a false start penalty from the door greeter....:doh:

Stlrs4Life
01-14-2009, 10:31 AM
They need to play well for the next 2 games.

MasterOfPuppets
01-14-2009, 10:33 AM
when complaining about the o-line this year, I never realized or thought about just how much turnover there's been.considering they've went from not very good, to flat out suck over the last 3 years....:noidea:

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-14-2009, 11:05 AM
willie got a false start penalty from the door greeter....:doh:

It would have been better if he gave Willie a "slap n' swim" move. :chuckle: right out of an NFL commercial.

Honestly, the line hasnt been as bad as everybody says. Sacks are a deceptive statistic and even if they had the same line as 06 with 3 pro bowlers on it, they would give up a lot of sacks because of the offensive scheme and the QB.

If the gameplan for most of the season was like the last 2 games....line up and run at the defense, then mix in some passes. There would be less pass attempts, more running yards, more worn out defensive lines and more traditional Steeler football. These guys are better run blockers than pass protectors, but our coaching staff played to the coaches strengths, not the players strengths.

steelreserve
01-14-2009, 12:09 PM
when complaining about the o-line this year, I never realized or thought about just how much turnover there's been.

Yeah. Like, pretty much EVERYONE.

tony hipchest
01-14-2009, 12:16 PM
we need to replace the entire line with these-

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q23/shortyshane_2006/turn2_1.jpg

:rolleyes:

MasterOfPuppets
01-14-2009, 12:32 PM
we need to replace the entire line with these-

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q23/shortyshane_2006/turn2_1.jpg

:rolleyes:or these......
http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/5869/s222tc5vn2.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

tony hipchest
01-14-2009, 03:51 PM
If the gameplan for most of the season was like the last 2 games....line up and run at the defense, then mix in some passes. There would be less pass attempts, more running yards, more worn out defensive lines and more traditional Steeler football. These guys are better run blockers than pass protectors, but our coaching staff played to the coaches strengths, not the players strengths.

did you see this from tomlins presser?

What do you attribute to the improved play of the offensive line?
I accept responsibility for everything that goes on here, particularly when things are not good. That comes with my job. We’ve performed better as an offense because we block people and ran the football. Everybody wants to zero in on our offensive line as a source of why we play well or why don’t play well. We’ve got 11 guys on offense, we’ve got 53 guys on our football team. We play to win. We did enough to win last Sunday and we tend to leave it at that and let our performance speak for its self.

i guess it takes some reading inbetween the lines, but it definitely appears he told arians to get his act together.

i also have heard several nfl radio talking heads say that tomlin told ben he better start taking care of the ball if he wants to be the quarterback. :whip:

jjpro11
01-14-2009, 04:01 PM
i think we should all take bets on at what time during the game does colon get his first penalty.. my pick is at the 7:22 mark of the 2nd quarter.

KeiselPower99
01-14-2009, 08:54 PM
i think we should all take bets on at what time during the game does colon get his first penalty.. my pick is at the 7:22 mark of the 2nd quarter.

Ill go with second drive of the game as soon as we enter the Ravens side of the field. Time undetermined

Kaeg
01-14-2009, 10:35 PM
Colon penalties (particularly when we've made a good gain) are a bit of a sore point for me. Maybe it's my imagination, but I could swear he's starting to improve in that respect, so that's good. Anyway, I'm hoping he'll hold out on getting a penalty til late 3rd qtr. Say.....3:55 left. And only once in the game.

MasterOfPuppets
01-14-2009, 10:56 PM
Colon penalties (particularly when we've made a good gain) are a bit of a sore point for me. Maybe it's my imagination, but I could swear he's starting to improve in that respect, so that's good. Anyway, I'm hoping he'll hold out on getting a penalty til late 3rd qtr. Say.....3:55 left. And only once in the game.

no he's not....he kills at least 1 drive everygame with a penalty...it's a given...:popcorn:

LVSteelersfan
01-14-2009, 11:38 PM
Colon gets no respect from me. He is the worst of the worst and he is the only one left from last year. His position BETTER BE REPLACED in the offseason because he is the weakest link. We need a RG and a C in this draft big time. The C could be a center in training. I think Kemo has room to improve but he is not bad. Starks can hold his own. Colon and Simmons are the ones who open the floodgates and end up with the drive killing penalties (COLON) I hope they are able to find someone to replace that piece of garbage.

devilsdancefloor
01-15-2009, 12:04 AM
It would seem as soon as we get into some kind of rhythm offensively he has a back breaking penalty.

The Duke
01-15-2009, 01:30 AM
Colon gets no respect from me. He is the worst of the worst and he is the only one left from last year. His position BETTER BE REPLACED in the offseason because he is the weakest link. We need a RG and a C in this draft big time. The C could be a center in training. I think Kemo has room to improve but he is not bad. Starks can hold his own. Colon and Simmons are the ones who open the floodgates and end up with the drive killing penalties (COLON) I hope they are able to find someone to replace that piece of garbage.

No, that would actually be stapleton

And believe me, colon will be here next season. Not 100% sure if as a starter, but he'll be here

Just change the man to guard!!

Steelers & I
01-15-2009, 02:36 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson

If the gameplan for most of the season was like the last 2 games....line up and run at the defense, then mix in some passes. There would be less pass attempts, more running yards, more worn out defensive lines and more traditional Steeler football. These guys are better run blockers than pass protectors, but our coaching staff played to the coaches strengths, not the players strengths.

did you see this from tomlins presser?


Quote:
What do you attribute to the improved play of the offensive line?
I accept responsibility for everything that goes on here, particularly when things are not good. That comes with my job. We’ve performed better as an offense because we block people and ran the football. Everybody wants to zero in on our offensive line as a source of why we play well or why don’t play well. We’ve got 11 guys on offense, we’ve got 53 guys on our football team. We play to win. We did enough to win last Sunday and we tend to leave it at that and let our performance speak for its self.


i guess it takes some reading inbetween the lines, but it definitely appears he told arians to get his act together.

i also have heard several nfl radio talking heads say that tomlin told ben he better start taking care of the ball if he wants to be the quarterback.




Great post Jackson and Tony. I completely agree with both of you. I'm sold on my belief that Tomlin took Arians behind closed doors and "had a talk with him". The "new look running plays" as well as the PLAY CALLING, have been great the past 2 games.

Sure, the offensive line play has improved a bit over the past month but the biggest improvement has been the play calling including the ELIMINATION of certain play calls out of a particular formation, dare I say the singleback set? Those offensive spread plays seemed to be doomed from the word HIKE!

As many Steelers fans pointed their fingers at the offensive line, giving them a Kings share of the blame for the Steelers offensive woes, I firmly believed that Arians was the culprit due to his play designs and play calling.

I mean hell, who else is there to blame? An offensive line that has been called "Turnstiles" and "the worst offensive line in Steelers history" by some, sure as hell couldn't get their act together in a months time, could they??? $hit NO they couldn't, not if they were as bad as some fans have indicated.

The turnaround is simple, Tomlin took Arians aside and TOLD him how he wanted his offense coordinated. Since then we've seen more I-Formation plays then we saw all season. We no longer see the Steelers passing out of spread formations during 3rd and short situations. We no longer see the Steelers trying to punch it from the 2 yard line by use of the singleback formation. We no longer see the Steelers attempting to S T R E T C H nearly every freaking run play beyond the hash marks prior to the RB cutting it upfield. The Steelers are currently running the ball right at the defensive line, SMASH MOUTH STYLE, and I LIKE IT!

Smart-situational play calling is all that I wanted out of Arians. It looks as if someone FINALLY got through to him.