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Old 12-26-2006, 07:12 AM   #1
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Default Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Much more disappointing than the 31-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday and clearly more insulting than the two big touchdown passes the Steelers' defense gave up, the five sacks their offensive line allowed, the two interceptions Ben Roethlisberger threw and the killer fumble Willie Parker lost was this after the game:

"When we were 2-6, and everybody wondered what was going to happen, we told everybody that we weren't going to quit," Roethlisberger said. "That's why I'm so proud of these guys. Offensively, defensively, special teams -- no one quit."

Proud?

Proud?

Did the man really say he was proud?

Of a Super Bowl-winning team that failed to make the playoffs the next season?

Big Ben should have said he was embarrassed.

All the Steelers should be.

Sorry, it's impossible to put any kind of a happy face on this Steelers' season, a lost season filled with lost fumbles, lost interceptions and -- most painfully -- a lost opportunity to make a piece of NFL history as a repeat champion. Certainly, starting 2-6 and fighting back to 7-7 before that trouncing by the significantly superior Ravens is nothing to be proud of. Not for this Steelers team. Not when it started the season with such high expectations.

Give center Jeff Hartings credit.

In his anguish after a game that officially extinguished the Steelers' flickering playoff flame and fully realizing that he might just have played for the final time at Heinz Field, Hartings stood taller than any of his teammates.

"I don't know if I ever felt like I was playing really good football. I could have played better this year and given the team a better chance to win."

Hartings is far from alone.

Most of the Steelers haven't played nearly as well as they did in 2005.

Start with Roethlisberger. It's bad enough that he has thrown 22 interceptions -- more than twice as many as last season -- with the game at Cincinnati Sunday still to play. He has thrown them in bunches. Three in the home loss to Cincinnati. Four in the ridiculous loss in Oakland. Three in the loss to Denver. A total of 18 in the eight losses.

The offensive line hasn't done much to help Roethlisberger, allowing him to be sacked 45 times, almost twice as many times as last season. It isn't just Hartings, who could retire. Tackle Marvel Smith might have regressed more than anyone if only because he played at such a high level in 2005. Guard Kendall Simmons was benched for Chris Kemoeatu for a couple of games midway through the season.

Though Roethlisberger is the season's biggest disappointment, cornerback Ike Taylor is a close second. On Sept. 3, he agreed to a five-year, $22.5 million contract, including a $6.4 million signing bonus. At Thanksgiving, he lost his starting job. On second thought, Taylor -- not Roethlisberger -- is the team's biggest disappointment. At least Big Ben has played well in a few games.

So have outside linebackers Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, just not nearly enough. Porter's most important statistics -- seven sacks and nine quarterback hurries -- are down from a year ago when he had 101/2 sacks and 15 hurries. The same is true of Haggans (six and six after nine and 10 last season).

Even safety Troy Polamalu is having something of a down year despite being named a Pro Bowl starter again. He wasn't the same impact player, his spectacular performance in the win at Cleveland aside. Sunday, he was just flat-out bad, getting beat twice for 35- and 25-yard touchdown passes.

The Steelers who are having a big season make for a much shorter list.

Running back Willie Parker should be named the team's Most Valuable Player this week, even if his season has been maddeningly inconsistent. He has had four 100-yard rushing games and two 200-yard games. He also has had three games with fewer than 30 yards and four more with fewer than 65. And don't forget that fumble he lost at the Ravens' 3 Sunday.

Hines Ward is having another solid year. Does any wide receiver do a better job turning up the field for extra yards? Is there a tougher player in the NFL? How much better would his numbers be if Roethlisberger was more accurate? If he had another receiving threat opposite him earlier in the season, before rookie Santonio Holmes emerged?

The defensive line has been the Steelers' best unit. Nose tackle Casey Hampton deserves his Pro Bowl recognition. Defensive ends Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith have been superb from day one and done a better job getting after quarterbacks than Porter and Haggans. They have combined for 10 sacks and 38 pressures.

That's about it.

A much shorter list, for sure.

It's not hard to explain why the Steelers are 7-8.

What's incomprehensible is that some of 'em are actually proud.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06360/749015-87.stm
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

I think its possible that Ben just got caught up in the 'put a positive spin on things' mantra that is often chanted by losing teams at this stage of the season.

Its certainly a tough part of the job - knowing what statement to give to a press hungry for the kill - do you keep it positive and get torched for 'not caring' or do you dish out a few home truths and get accused of throwing teammates under the bus?

When he is isn't having his body language analysed to death Tom Brady has been one of the most succesful at giving the right statement to the press - he always acknowledges that he didn't play well (even if others were more at fault) but concedes that many parts of the team would be disappointed in the way they played.

I fear that many Steelers will be playing a game of 'out of the frying pan and into the fire' with the Pittsburgh media between now and the start of next season - especially while the playoffs are in progress and the evidence of the teams failure is particularly obvious.

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The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

Just curious, but has Ben ever come out and say "I stunk!"?
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post
I fear that many Steelers will be playing a game of 'out of the frying pan and into the fire' with the Pittsburgh media between now and the start of next season - especially while the playoffs are in progress and the evidence of the teams failure is particularly obvious.
That's the price you pay when you win a Super Bowl one season and then come out looking as bad as we did this season. I don't care what city you live in, you deserve the media heat after looking as bad as we did this season. The Steelers should just be lucky they are not dealing with the New York or Philly media.

As for Ron Cooks article.........

Blame towards the QB, DB, LB's, SS and the o-line. Sounds about right to me. Add in coaching decisions or lack thereof.

I'll now put these back on.....
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

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Originally Posted by Stillers#1 View Post
Just curious, but has Ben ever come out and say "I stunk!"?
Those exact words? No.
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
That's the price you pay when you win a Super Bowl one season and then come out looking as bad as we did this season. I don't care what city you live in, you deserve the media heat after looking as bad as we did this season. The Steelers should just be lucky they are not dealing with the New York or Philly media.

As for Ron Cooks article.........

Blame towards the QB, DB, LB's, SS and the o-line. Sounds about right to me. Add in coaching decisions or lack thereof.

I'll now put these back on.....
No doubt.

I cant think of many games outside of the KC game where all 3 units bothered to show up at the same time.

I agree that they deserve the heat - the drop off in performance across the board must be hugely disappointing.

As has been mentioned, the Pittsburgh media is pretty adept at gauging the the feeling amongst the Steelers faithful - this cathartic release is probably just what the doctor ordered.



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The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
Those exact words? No.
Well, then it's about time he man's up and says it.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

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Originally Posted by Stillers#1 View Post
Well, then it's about time he man's up and says it.
In his defense, he has stated on a few occasions this season that he needs to play better.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

ben didnt play that well in the superbowl.i just dont believe hes that great of a quarterback.the game against the ravens proved that.last yr the steelers ran the ball alot and won.this yr they just couldnt do much.i sure hope they win at cincy but im not gonna bet my home on it.the ravens seem to own the steelers and i really hate them.thats one team i dont want to see in the afc title.cincy comes in 2nd.the steelers had almost 400 total yards compared to oaklands 98 total yards and they still managed to lose to the worse team in the nfl.thats when i knew the season was over.what a yr.i just hope the steelers win at cincy and end up at 8-8.its at least abit respectable to end at .500.cincy also would be 8-8 and their playoff chances would be slim.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Ron Cook: It's no time for Steelers to be proud of anything

Well Ron Cook can blow this article out his ass. I think every player in that locker room knows that they have to get better as a team. I think what Ben was trying to say that he is proud that the team didn't quit like some teams do when their season is over. I'm not putting anymore thought into this season. My focus is the off-season and how this team is going to improve for next year.

I just think Big Ben deserves a break for this season. He had alot of health problems and never really got on track the whole year. Hopefully he works extra hard in the off-season and improves his game.
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