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83-Steelers-43 08-23-2006 04:02 AM

Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
Steelers' LBs still see themselves as team leaders

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Joey Porter is proud to take his place on the field as a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Porter, an eight-year veteran, sees himself and his fellow linebackers as the heart and soul of a defense that is coming off a Super Bowl championship and has ranked at or near the top of the NFL consistently this decade.

But that same mentality has been prevalent throughout the Steelers organization for a long time ? well before the group of Porter, Larry Foote, James Farrior and Clark Haggans took over the positions.

The linebacker mystique was so prevalent, Porter saw it as a youngster growing up in Southern California and when he was playing at Colorado State in the 1990s.

"You knew that coming in, that the Steelers' linebackers were the face of the defense," said Porter, who was drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 1999 draft. "Even with stars like (1990's All-Pro defensive backs) Carnell Lake and Rod Woodson, you still always heard about Greg Lloyd, Levon Kirkland and Chad Brown, and even way back with (Hall of Famers Jack) Lambert and (Jack) Ham... it's the mystique.

"All those guys played and were always the main focal point of the defense. They created high expectations with the defense and with the linebacker position."

Farrior, in his 11th year, agreed. He grew up in Virginia, played his college ball at the University of Virginia and was with the New York Jets for five seasons before signing with Pittsburgh as a free agent in 2002.

Since then, he has blossomed into a player that was voted team MVP in 2004, when the Steelers went 15-1. He was named to the Pro Bowl and AP All-Pro team.

"The way I have been seeing it since I was a little kid growing up watching the Steelers play, they have always been known for linebackers," Farrior said. "(Head coach Bill Cowher) is a linebacker guy. There's a lot of tradition at the linebacker position with the Steleers. We're just trying to uphold that."

And this current group appears to be doing that.

From right to left, Porter, Foote, Farrior and Haggans are entering their third season together as starters ? no small feat in the free agency era. And in their two previous seasons together, the Steelers have ranked first and fourth, respectively, in total defense and first and third in rushing defense.

While Pittsburgh has made changes along the defensive line and secondary in recent seasons, the linebacking corps has remained relatively constant. The organization gave the linebackers a vote of confidence by not selecting one in the April draft.

"That gives us a lot of continuity, being around so long together," Farrior said. "We try to be leaders out there on defense, and we take pride in that. We feel like we're the best players out there on the field. We need to be out there making plays, helping our team win."

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BlackNGold203 08-23-2006 06:48 AM

Re: Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
All those great LB's starting for us...and a plethora of up and comers already in the wings...bodes well for the future of our defense...

LOL....on the SB DVD...the Minnesota game???

"Whats the name of that movie???...LINEBACKERS GONE WILD!!"


LMAO...I love those guys...


:cool: :cool:

Livinginthe past 08-23-2006 07:39 AM

Re: Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
Can anyone explain to me the amazing continuity the Steelers have had producing all-Pro LBers?

I cannot imagine that there has been a single coach over the period that includes Jack Lambert through to Farrior, Porter and Foote?

NM

BlackNGold203 08-23-2006 07:42 AM

Re: Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Livinginthe past
Can anyone explain to me the amazing continuity the Steelers have had producing all-Pro LBers?

I cannot imagine that there has been a single coach over the period that includes Jack Lambert through to Farrior, Porter and Foote?

NM

Well...since 1992...its always been an area of emphasis for Cowher...a former LB himself....

tony hipchest 08-23-2006 08:33 AM

Re: Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Livinginthe past
Can anyone explain to me the amazing continuity the Steelers have had producing all-Pro LBers?



NM

i think j. porter can:

"You knew that coming in, that the Steelers' linebackers were the face of the defense," said Porter, who was drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 1999 draft. "Even with stars like (1990's All-Pro defensive backs) Carnell Lake and Rod Woodson, you still always heard about Greg Lloyd, Levon Kirkland and Chad Brown, and even way back with (Hall of Famers Jack) Lambert and (Jack) Ham... it's the mystique.

its really a psychological edge, maybe feeding off the fans and tradition that possibly makes them strive a little harder to be a small part of the legend that was "the steel curtain"

Livinginthe past 08-23-2006 09:24 AM

Re: Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tony hipchest
i think j. porter can:

"You knew that coming in, that the Steelers' linebackers were the face of the defense," said Porter, who was drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 1999 draft. "Even with stars like (1990's All-Pro defensive backs) Carnell Lake and Rod Woodson, you still always heard about Greg Lloyd, Levon Kirkland and Chad Brown, and even way back with (Hall of Famers Jack) Lambert and (Jack) Ham... it's the mystique.

its really a psychological edge, maybe feeding off the fans and tradition that possibly makes them strive a little harder to be a small part of the legend that was "the steel curtain"

Sure, I think teams can get pschologically over-awed by the prospect of facing a team that once boasted the Iron Curtain - but they still hit the jackpot more regularly in terms of LBer talent than any other team in the NFL.

It can work the other way aswell - players with insufficient talent/drive can often suffer from the comparison to late great members of Steelers defenses - though that hasn't happened in a while.

NM

BlackNGold203 08-23-2006 09:39 AM

Re: Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
Your team has actually benefitted LITP....

Mike Vrabel could never crack the starting lineup in Pittsburgh as a LB...but with the Pats...he has had an excellent run....

:cool: :cool:

tony hipchest 08-23-2006 09:47 AM

Re: Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Livinginthe past
Sure, I think teams can get pschologically over-awed by the prospect of facing a team that once boasted the Iron Curtain - but they still hit the jackpot more regularly in terms of LBer talent than any other team in the NFL.

It can work the other way aswell - players with insufficient talent/drive can often suffer from the comparison to late great members of Steelers defenses - though that hasn't happened in a while.

NM

the "Iron Curtain"??? :sofunny:

i re-read my post and noticed i didnt mention anything about the psychology of the steelers opponents. pure talent can only take a player so far. there needs to be a mental edge also. steelers almost always find lb's who want to play beyond their talent to be part of the tradition thet has been established in pittsburgh for over 30 years.

you asked a question and i gave what i think is the most reasonable explanation. its kind of like me asking why players play hard for bill belichick. (is it just because they are always the most talented guys out there?) steelers play hard for the rooneys.

Livinginthe past 08-23-2006 10:11 AM

Re: Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tony hipchest
the "Iron Curtain"??? :sofunny:

i re-read my post and noticed i didnt mention anything about the psychology of the steelers opponents. pure talent can only take a player so far. there needs to be a mental edge also. steelers almost always find lb's who want to play beyond their talent to be part of the tradition thet has been established in pittsburgh for over 30 years.

you asked a question and i gave what i think is the most reasonable explanation. its kind of like me asking why players play hard for bill belichick. (is it just because they are always the most talented guys out there?) steelers play hard for the rooneys.

Ha.... Iron...Steel whats the difference eh?

I always get confused between Eastern Europe and Pittsburgh - and I just got out of bed.

BB has been a coach at New England over a much smaller amount of time - I was asking what maintained the continous flow of quality LBers thorough coaching changes - but that might be the answer in itself - there haven't been many in Pittsburgh have there?

NM

HometownGal 08-23-2006 10:17 AM

Re: Steelers LB's still see themselves as leaders
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Livinginthe past
Sure, I think teams can get pschologically over-awed by the prospect of facing a team that once boasted the Iron Curtain - but they still hit the jackpot more regularly in terms of LBer talent than any other team in the NFL.

It can work the other way aswell - players with insufficient talent/drive can often suffer from the comparison to late great members of Steelers defenses - though that hasn't happened in a while.

NM

LMAO!!! LITP - the defense of the 70's was known as the "STEEL Curtain", not the "Iron Curtain", as in Pittsburgh STEELers! :sofunny: :sofunny: :wink:

Tony and 203 hit the nail on the head here. I don't feel that any of our present Steelers feel "threatened" psychologically by the greatness the 70's teams accomplished. This is a totally new era and a totally diferent group of guys who have now played together for several years and have complete confidence not only in themselves but in each other. They've gelled together as a unit and know what they need to accomplish each and every game. The Steelers have always gone for those who they feel will give 150%, not just 100%, to the team and that is evident from the way the Steelers have evolved as a team over the past couple of years. A lot of NFL"ers want to play here not only because of the professional and repectful way they are treated by the Rooneys, but because of Bill Cowher, imo. He squeezes his players to get the most he can from them and pushes them to be the best they can be at their respective positions. He accepts nothing less and imho, is one of the greatest motivators in the history of the NFL.


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