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Camp Tomlin - Hampton, Ward Assuming Leadership Roles
Nice article, especially the part about Hines and Marvel and others "coaching" the rookies because of the example Jerome set for them. Contrast this with the sturm und drang of certain other teams' camps right now....makes me proud, as always, to be a Steeler fan!
By Jim Wexell , For the Herald-Standard
Hampton, Ward assuming leadership roles
LATROBE - Steeler, Steeler on the wall, who's the leader of them all?
Casey Hampton won the defensive honors by unanimous decree of one Brett Keisel. No one argued.
But the offensive leader isn't so easy to figure out.
"We have a couple leaders between Hines and Alan," said wide receiver Nate Washington. "Ben's become way more vocal, but for the most part it's Hines. If anybody's down on that offense, he gives him a bump. He's one of those type of guys who doesn't expect anything less than greatness from us. That's what we're looking for on our side of the ball. It probably definitely would be Hines."
So mark down one "probably definitely" for Hines Ward, who chewed out the defensive backs last Saturday for taking potshots at his fellow receivers.
Washington said that Alan Faneca "is not going to step down as a person" even though he's embittered by a contract dispute.
As for Ben Roethlisberger, Washington sees a new quarterback, one who can help him when he forgets his assignment.
"Just the other day we ran two-min, and I kinda was lost on what I had," Washington said. "Normally, I'd look at Ben and he'd look back at me with a blank look. Now I look at Ben and he can tell me what I have. He's definitely a guy who took pride this offseason in getting better and that's what he's done."
Bruce Arians, the offensive coordinator who allowed Roethlisberger input into the new playbook, agrees. He says it's not forced.
"It comes natural," Arians said. "When you don't have to think about what you're doing any more, when you can play the game because you know the game, well then you can be the leader.
"Leaders don't necessarily have to be vocal. Danny Kreider's a leader. He's a silent assassin. It comes in all different forms. Guys who rah-rah and jump around sometimes are straight (bologna) artists. When you look at what they're doing, they're talking. They ain't playing. Never fall in the trap of thinking the vocal guy's a leader."
Arians said the leadership skills Roethlisberger's developing are subtle.
"Getting in the huddle and saying, 'All right, look dude, expect this, we're going for this, let's go.' You say, damn, he's like five steps ahead. Used to be just 'Call the play and do my job.' Just those kind of silent little sentences show where a guy's growing."
When initially approached and asked about the team's offensive leader, Arians said, "Oh, yeah, Hines. Well, we've got a bunch. Alan in the line, Hines, Ben is becoming it. Willie (Parker) has jumped out there and is vocal now."
Any examples of strong leadership moments?
"If you watch the wide receivers, watch Hines coach them," Arians said. "He's coaching the rookies - who have no chance of making this football team - like they're his best players. You'll see the same thing on the offensive line with Marvel (Smith), Alan, all those guys. They coach each other. That's leadership, you know, when you're coaching a guy who might take your job. And the guy who set that standard was Jerome (Bettis). He got up and told the guys, 'These rookies are ours. Yes, they might take your job, but it's our job to get them ready.' It's kind of a tradition here."