PDA

View Full Version : Bouchette on the Steelers: He says he's 'owed nothing,' but doesn't Hines Ward deserv


mesaSteeler
11-20-2011, 10:40 AM
Bouchette on the Steelers: He says he's 'owed nothing,' but doesn't Hines Ward deserve a little more?
Sunday, November 20, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Hines Ward: 14 years, two Super Bowl rings, nearly 12,000 yards ... and not one word last week?

The Steelers coaches could have displayed better bedside manners when they benched Hines Ward last week.

Maybe the coaching staff believes that veteran receiver Jerricho Cotchery, in his first season with the Steelers, can help the team more than Ward, in his 14th season with the Steelers.

And maybe they are correct. Hines Ward himself said Tuesday that he is "owed nothing" by the coaches. But this someday Hall of Fame candidate deserved one thing -- more respect through a simple, quiet meeting with one of his coaches to tell him that his role had changed.

This isn't some fly-by-night player here. This is the most decorated and productive receiver in Steelers history, a Super Bowl MVP and often the face and spokesman for the team.

It's not wrong that he lost his starting status or was dropped to No. 4 or even No. 5 on the depth chart. But someone owed him at least a heads-up that it was going to happen and maybe even an explanation as to why. Ward obviously could see it coming by how he was used in practices, but would it have hurt to have someone tell him before the practice week started?

It could have come from Mike Tomlin or Bruce Arians, who was Ward's position coach before he became offensive coordinator.

It would have taken them two minutes, somewhere in private so Ward could be given the chance to talk about it before the game on his terms, and he, the fans and the media were not blindsided by it.

Would that have been too much to ask?

Ward took the high road Tuesday, saying all the right things when a gaggle of media gathered around him in the locker room.

It comes time for everyone, sooner for athletes. The great ones, the ones who contributed to two Super Bowl victories and countless memorable moments, those who played through injuries and concussions and gave what Hines Ward did to play the game, deserve a little more respect when their time comes.
The Florida Factor

The runaway leader for the Steelers rookie of the year is Marcus Gilbert (pictured at left), their second-round draft choice from the University of Florida.

Gilbert, who was going to be groomed for their left-tackle job of the future, is their starting right tackle of the present. He stepped in after Willie Colon's season-ending injury in the first game and quickly ended the calls to bring back Flozell Adams.

Gilbert, like all rookies, had to do without the preparation time that the spring practices and study sessions would have afforded him. Then, he had a lengthy stay on the sideline in training camp with a hamstring injury.

"I studied my playbook and I knew when I got back on the field, I'd push harder," Gilbert said. "When Willie went down with his injury, I felt I was caught up, and they knew they could count on me."

When Max Starks rejoined the team Oct. 5 and started immediately at left tackle, it gave the Steelers three former Gators in their starting line, including Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Gilbert credits Starks, who has started at both tackles, for helping his progress.

"Bringing him back has really helped us a lot. I'm grateful to have a dude like him; he's like a brother helping me out. Without Max, I don't think I would be progressing as I have."

The whole line has progressed since Starks' arrival and since the five starters have been able to stay healthy. After seven different starting offensive line combinations through seven games, they have started the same five the past four.
They'll come ... but when?

Like a .350 hitter batting .198 in June, the Steelers defense is due for a gaggle of turnovers over the final six games.

Through 10 games, they have six turnovers, four interceptions. That puts them on a pace to get 9 or 10 for the season. Last season, they had 35. Four NFL players have more interceptions than the entire Steelers defense.

They may be the first 7-3 team -- tied for the best record in the AFC -- to have a turnover disparity of minus-10.

Troy Polamalu led the Steelers with seven interceptions last season on the way to being named NFL defensive player of the year. He has none this season, although he did score the only touchdown by the defense on a returned fumble to help them beat Indianapolis.

"It comes down to a little bit of everything," Polamalu said, explaining what goes into turnovers. "How prepared you can be, how comfortable you feel with the offense, how comfortable you feel with the defense, seizing those opportunities you may have, playing your technique.

"All of it obviously comes down to whether you can be in position to make turnovers. We just haven't been making any. Hopefully, we'll be better at that."
Shedding new light on an old theory

James Farrior, who turns 37 in January, does not think the Steelers' heavy veteran presence necessarily will help them down the stretch.

He said that because he was fooled into thinking, as many were, that veteran presence would help at the start of the season after the lockout prevented all those spring practices.

"We said that at the beginning of the season, how we should have an advantage being that we're an older group of guys, a veteran group and with the lockout we didn't need that much preparation and work," the defensive captain said.

"But it showed that wasn't really true because we're 7-3, we're not 10-0. So I don't think it really makes a big difference. It's about what you put on the field."

And, as they have moved through this season, many veterans have lost some of their status. Bryant McFadden went from starting cornerback to No. 5. Hines Ward went from starting receiver to, at least Sunday, No. 4. Starters Aaron Smith and Willie Colon were lost for the season. Young backup Steve McLendon has been getting more time playing nose tackle, and Marcus Gilbert took over at right tackle.

Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11324/1191240-66-0.stm#ixzz1eGDOCgvV

stb_steeler
11-20-2011, 11:28 AM
I just hope that fading out Hines doesnt become some hatred story like it did with Bradshaw.

RichardCullinanForever
11-20-2011, 11:33 AM
No, we're in it to win Superbowls. The coaching staff should play whatever players give us the best chance to do just that. Hines will see his fair share of plays in the next couple months. Not like the old days, but I still see him catching a few more clutch TDs.

Bayz101
11-20-2011, 02:23 PM
No, we're in it to win Superbowls. The coaching staff should play whatever players give us the best chance to do just that. Hines will see his fair share of plays in the next couple months. Not like the old days, but I still see him catching a few more clutch TDs.

Richard Cullinan, the late senior?

steelfury02
11-20-2011, 02:56 PM
there is two sides to every story so who knows - if Hines even so much as whimpered that he wasn't 100% that's all it could have took for the coaches to start looking at the deep run and trying to keep the proven vets as healthy as possible just in case

Goldsteel86
11-20-2011, 03:14 PM
I think, as silly as it sounds Hines may be the secret to the Steelers offense. I fully expect Hines to make some noise after the bye week. Hines will be a force to be reckoned with, he isn't done yet. He is a gamer, no he isn't owed anything, but he will give back two fold!!!!

lipps83
11-20-2011, 07:18 PM
I would just like to see Hines hit 1,000 receptions for his career this year. That is all I want to see.

bornaSteelersfan
11-20-2011, 08:53 PM
Just to give an alternate thought at what might be going on upstairs...didn't Hines get arrested for drunk-driving this off-season? Do you think that might have played a role in this decision?

steelbad@50
11-20-2011, 09:12 PM
I think, as silly as it sounds Hines may be the secret to the Steelers offense. I fully expect Hines to make some noise after the bye week. Hines will be a force to be reckoned with, he isn't done yet. He is a gamer, no he isn't owed anything, but he will give back two fold!!!!
I could'nt agree more, we surely have not seen the last of Hines Ward and something tells me he will be very instrumental in making the playoffs this season. Once a playmaker always a playmaker and that is what he has done over his entire career, make plays.:tt04::tt::tt02:

Fire Arians
11-20-2011, 09:15 PM
if fully healthy he can be effective. he hasn't looked right since the season started, maybe he's nursing some injury.

i would like to see him in more redzone packages. in the redzone, speed is less effective, but being able to find the weaknesses in a zone and hit them is crucial, and he can do that as well as anyone.

sacredgrooves
11-20-2011, 09:27 PM
The Bus became a part-timer too. Is what it is, but hope to see him hit the milestone!

Black N' Yellow
11-20-2011, 11:48 PM
Doesn't anyone remember his concussion from the Baltimore game? And I'm sure someone gave him a head's up on that, when did he say he didn't know/see the "benching" coming?

IowaSteeler927
11-21-2011, 05:56 AM
Just to give an alternate thought at what might be going on upstairs...didn't Hines get arrested for drunk-driving this off-season? Do you think that might have played a role in this decision?

I don't think a Serious Misdemeanor really effected this decision. I don't even know if he was convicted?

Whodis
11-21-2011, 06:52 AM
I think a lot of sports stars have trouble grasping when "it's time". I'm not saying this is the case, but the concussion should be a little bit of a concern.

Just never forget about the wasted pick on a quarterback out of the U of Georgia, never started at wide receiver until the Senior Bowl! When his career is over I hope he gets the send off he truly deserves.

steelfury02
11-21-2011, 10:54 AM
I'd be willing to wager that the coaches had a conversation with Hines that basically said they need him for the long run and that it isn't worth rushing him back full tilt. They maybe thought they were communicating to him that they were going to give him some more time so he was fully ready for a final run and maybe he thought it meant that he just wouldn't be involved in certain situations. Could be a complete and total miss-communication.

Obviously he isn't making a fuss about it so I'm sure it isn't as big of a deal as Bouchette thinks it is.

tunes4life
11-21-2011, 02:15 PM
I know this is going to sound silly because Ward is such a fighter, but I think the coaching staff may be using Ward less FOR him. No reason to get the guy seriously hurt in his last year. He's one tuff mo-fo, maybe its time to give him a little bit of a break.

tanda10506
11-21-2011, 02:27 PM
Wallace and Brown are more effective than Hines in between the 20's, but Ward is more effective than them in the redzone and equally effective in crunch time. If the coaching staff was keeping him out because Wallace and Brown were doing better between the 20's, than by the same standard, Ward should be coming in when we are in the redzone. He is not though, which leads me to believe they are worried about the concussion or he has another injury that the staff want's fully healed before the last push. That's my opinion.

BengalDestroyer
11-21-2011, 03:45 PM
He had a 'stinger' and concussion like symptoms the week before...It was smart to take some the workload from him. Hines is classy and you better believe he will get plenty of time especially in clutch situations in the playoffs.

harts
11-25-2011, 10:34 AM
hines will contribute but prob much later in the season in a playoff game or something.
he just needs to rest and chill
this will be his last year though
he's done

Stlrs4Life
11-25-2011, 01:03 PM
He had a 'stinger' and concussion like symptoms the week before...It was smart to take some the workload from him. Hines is classy and you better believe he will get plenty of time especially in clutch situations in the playoffs.

I agree, that's what I thought it was. He was injured.