09-07-2007, 05:32 PM
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ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons- Steelers To Playoffs
ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons not surprisingly picks his Pats to win it all (if he could he would pick the Red Sox to also make the Super Bowl), but he has the Steelers as his #8 team (he says they will go 10-6 and lose in the second round of the playoffs, which sounds about right to me). Here is Simmons' take on the Steelers:
They could go 5-11 or 13-3 and I wouldn't be surprised. Ben Roethlisberger and Willie Parker could make the Pro Bowl or lose their jobs and I wouldn't be surprised. Santonio Holmes could be the fantasy breakout star of 2007 or a waiver wire staple by November and I wouldn't be surprised. Hell, Hines Ward could go an entire week without getting the red flag slapped next to his name in fantasy report, and I wouldn't be surprised. I'm prepared for any scenario.
Here's the X factor: Usually when a team hires a new coach, the players react in one of two ways: If the guy is succeeding a drill sergeant, they play the "It's a whole different atmosphere here, he treats us like men, it's nice to have fun playing football again" card. If the guy is succeeding a player's coach, they play the "He's a no-nonsense guy who makes sure we're totally prepared, we needed that around here, we got a little soft, we needed someone to kick us in the ass" card. But the reactions to Mike Tomlin didn't fit either category -- the various quotes from players sounded like this:
"He's still feeling us out and we're still feeling him out."
"He's definitely a hard guy to read, no question."
"It's definitely been a little different this camp, that's for sure."
You know what it all sounds like? Code language for "THIS GUY SUCKS! WE HATE HIM! BRING BACK COWHER!" On the other hand, last year's Pittsburgh team committed too many mistakes when it mattered and had one of those textbook Super Bowl Hangover seasons. So maybe the players needed a kick in the collective ass. Let's stick them at No. 8 to be safe. By the way, I'm feeling a big year from Big Ben.