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Old 11-01-2011, 07:11 AM   #1
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Default Foote steps in as if Farrior was still on the field

Foote steps in as if Farrior was still on the field
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steelers inside linebacker Larry Foote received the highest of praise from the man he replaced Sunday against the New England Patriots.

"It was like I was out there," James Farrior said.

Don't get the wrong idea. Farrior wasn't being an egomaniac as much as he was taking a playful jab at Foote, his best friend on the team. But his words had plenty of validity.

It's not so much what Foote did after the ball was snapped to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, although he played every play and had a big part in holding the New England offense to 213 yards in a 25-17 victory. That he was so solid came as no surprise. He proved long ago he's a quality NFL linebacker. He started every game for the Steelers from 2004-08, including Super Bowl XL and XLIII. He played the '09 season with his hometown Detroit Lions before re-joining the Steelers before last season.

It's what Foote did before the snap that was impressive. As Farrior's fill-in, he had to make all of the defensive calls and make sure his teammates were lined up correctly for each play. "When you're not used to doing it, it can be tough," Farrior said. "But he made all of the calls and all of the adjustments. He did an excellent job."

The big victory and Foote's performance made it a little easier for Farrior to miss the game, ending a streak of 93 consecutive regular-season starts dating to November 2005. He is out with a torn calf and could miss a home game Sunday night against Baltimore and a game Nov. 13 at Cincinnati before the open week. It's likely Foote will remain the team's main man in the middle.

"I'll never be compared to 51," Foote said of Farrior, the team's unquestioned leader on the field and in the locker room. "I'm not even going to try to be him. I just wanted to go out and earn the respect of my teammates and show them I could lead this defense."

There didn't appear to be any blown coverages by a Steelers secondary that played a marvelous game. Brady completed only one pass longer than 19 yards and finished with 198 passing yards. There also didn't appear to be any missed assignments in the run defense. Running back Kevin Faulk's 9-yard run late in the second quarter off of a direct snap was the longest in a game when the Patriots had 43 rushing yards.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Mission accomplished for Foote.

This was Foote's fourth consecutive start, although his first at Farrior's inside spot. Foote moved into the lineup at Lawrence Timmons' inside position Oct. 9 against Tennessee, bumping Timmons to outside linebacker because of All-Pro James Harrison's fractured orbital bone. When Farrior went down Oct. 23 in the Arizona game, Foote moved over to his spot and was replaced by rookie Stevenson Sylvester in the team's base defense.

The Steelers are 4-0 in Foote's starts. Good thing the Steelers brought him back.

"It was awesome to be able to play every play in a game like this again," he said.

Foote never doubted himself. At least he didn't until Farrior called him at home Friday night.

"I was just relaxing on the couch when he called out of the blue," Foote said. "He told me I had better be ready for the Patriots. 'You know they're coming after you because they always come after me.' I was fine all week, but that got me nervous. He kept me in on a Friday night and kept me up all night watching film. I didn't want to let this team down."

Foote didn't sound as if he regretted the night in or the extra film work. The victory left the Steelers with a 6-2 record, best in the AFC. That game Sunday night against Baltimore at Heinz Field will be for first place in the AFC North Division.

Foote figures to be a lot more comfortable and confident starting for Farrior.

"It about killed him to miss this game and it will kill him to miss the Baltimore game," Foote said. "I just want him to be healthy in December because we really need him."

And until then?

"I told him I have him covered," Foote said. "I told him he can play vicariously through me."

Did I tell you Farrior's initial observation about Foote had great validity or what?

"It was like I was out there ... "

I mean, really?
Ron Cook: rcook@post-gazette.com. Cook can be heard on the "Vinnie and Cook" show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan. More articles by this author
First published on November 1, 2011 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11305...#ixzz1cSGn3b2M
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: Foote steps in as if Farrior was still on the field

Love me some Foote! So glad when he came back....
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: Foote steps in as if Farrior was still on the field

Pending Woodley, I think we need to leave Timmons back with Foote to seal the middle. Timmons wont get much pressure on Flacco from the outside. I would rather put an extra lineman in there like Heyward as opposed to bring Timmons up on the rush.

But Im guessing we are now running low on LB's, LOL
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Foote steps in as if Farrior was still on the field

He did a hell of a job.
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