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Old 09-16-2009, 04:50 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

The Steelers have lost one starting safety for a while in Troy Polamalu, and they may lose another for one game.

Ryan Clark has not decided if he will play Nov. 9 in Denver. The last time he played there, he nearly died, and there could be a risk if he returns to exert himself in Denver's high altitude.

"I've taken the test, I've taken the pictures and done all those things, so I guess we'll just cross that bridge when we come to it," Clark said.

Clark knew he had the sickle-cell trait when he traveled with the Steelers to play the Broncos Oct. 21, 2007. He did not know the problems that would cause. The high altitude caused a reaction in his blood that attacked his spleen. Over the course of a few weeks, Clark lost his spleen, gall bladder and more than 30 pounds. He did not play again that season.

"The first speech I got from the doctors in the hospital was that my lungs had filled, my kidneys were dented and my stomach was closing," Clark told the Post-Gazette last year. "My spleen had gotten enlarged and infected and it died."

Clark, though, pulled through and had the best season of his seven years in the NFL last season when he started 17 games, including the postseason. The two games he missed had nothing to do with his sickle cell but with a shoulder injury.

But now Denver and that high altitude loom again, and Clark is uncertain what to do about it.

"We haven't really talked about it too much yet, so we're not at that point," he said this week.

Clark will hold a conference with his doctors and his coaches but the decision will be his. While he cannot lose another spleen and gall bladder, he also does not want to risk something else happening from a similar reaction in his blood. He feels healthy now; missing one game to stay that way might be a good trade-off for him.

"We have a bye week before it," Clark said of the Steelers' Nov. 1 weekend off. "That's when everything will be decided."
Offensive line kudos

Let's hear it for the Steelers' offensive line!

While the debate continues about who and what prevented the Steelers from producing much on the ground in their opener, there is little debate about another important aspect of the line play -- its pass protection.

The coaching staff came away from grading the videotape of that game with one consensus about the pass protection -- it was superb.

"I thought it was solid," coach Mike Tomlin declared yesterday.

"We got hit a couple times in some blitz-game things and some no-huddle things, but, all in all, I thought, from a matchup standpoint, they did a nice job up front."

Ben Roethlisberger was sacked four times, and, if that becomes an average, he would break either a Steelers record with 64 sacks over the course of a 16-game season or some part of his body before he can get that far. But there is other evidence that the pass protection held up well, and at least one sack of minus-19 yards should be discounted because Roethlisberger held on far too long and ran far backward before the Titans got to him.

Here are some numbers the coaches discerned from the video: The combined quarterback hurries/pressures from that game came to 13 for the Titans on 47 pass attempts by Roethlisberger (43 passes plus four sacks). That compares with the Steelers' hurries/pressures of 19 on 36 attempts by Kerry Collins (35 passes plus one sack).

The Chicago Bears are not particularly good at getting to the quarterback. They ranked 29th in the league in sacks per pass play last season when they had only 28 sacks. That compares with the Steelers' 51. And now they've lost linebacker Brian Urlacher.

They did ring up four in their 21-15 opening loss at Green Bay, and Tomlin yesterday made them sound like the 1985 version of the Bears.

"They will pursue the ball relentlessly. They will rush Ben relentlessly. They'll chase. They'll do the things that you can't coach, the detail things."
Tomlin on running game ...

In so many words, Tomlin acknowledged that his running game did not work in the opener. And he will put more emphasis on it in practice this week.

"We've got to get better in that area as a football team. For one reason and one reason only, that increases our chances of winning. That's what we're about, putting ourselves in position to win. We acknowledge that if we continue along those lines from a run-game standpoint that doesn't help us in that regard, so that's why we're focusing on it."

Tomlin said that in his experience defenses key on the run more in the early part of the season to stop it.

"I believe, particularly in September football, people make a commitment to stopping the run, and it's easier to make the commitment in September when everybody feels good and you've got all the horses in the stable.

"I think over the course of the long haul, you see who's good at it week in and week out. It's usually tough sledding early in the football season. That's been my experience. That was my intent when I was a defensive play-caller, that, in order to be a good defense, it starts there -- making people one dimensional, making people struggle if they're committed to running the football."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09259/998255-66.stm
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

Surely if there's even a slight risk of injury he should be left out. It's only the Broncos anyway.
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

Its an unacceptable risk. Its a game. He gives his all on every play. If it were me, I wouldn't even travel there.
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

I wouldn't play if I were him.
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

I would fully understand if he didn't go, and encourage that decision.

That is the week after he bye...let's just hope Troy's ready to go. I would hate to lose to the Donkeys because both our starting safeties are out. Even then, Troy may not be 100%.
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

Yeah, I agree the risk is just to great to potentially loose a great player like clark. I definately would not play him or ask him to even make the trip to Denver.
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

DON'T DO IT!


"The first speech I got from the doctors in the hospital was that my lungs had filled, my kidneys were dented and my stomach was closing," Clark told the Post-Gazette last year. "My spleen had gotten enlarged and infected and it died."


But now Denver and that high altitude loom again, and Clark is uncertain what to do about it.


It's only one game - we need you for the season - pretend you sprained your ankle and STAY HOME!
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer View Post
DON'T DO IT!


"The first speech I got from the doctors in the hospital was that my lungs had filled, my kidneys were dented and my stomach was closing," Clark told the Post-Gazette last year. "My spleen had gotten enlarged and infected and it died."


But now Denver and that high altitude loom again, and Clark is uncertain what to do about it.


It's only one game - we need you for the season - pretend you sprained your ankle and STAY HOME!
Exactly.

It's not worth the possible consequences and as said above - it's only ONE game. If Clark doesn't go and Troy is still out (which hopefully won't be the case), somehow, some way, Carter and Mundy will do their best to get 'r done, along with some alterations by Papa Lebeau. No sweat here.
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

No sir don't go. Losing you for the season again would be a huge blow to our secondary. Clark can miss one game out of a season, but having him for the playoffs is key and for the rest of the season.
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Clark's call to play in Denver

I don't think that this is something he will even decide for himself. Sure, he may feel great, but if a doctor tells him there is any kind of risk...he will not play. Done, decision made for him.

One football game is not worth a possible risk to your life. Well, maybe the superbowl , but this an out of division game against the smelly donkeys, so we probably won't need him anyway.
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