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Old 08-12-2013, 03:55 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Who was that player bouncing around in the Steelers defense early Saturday night at Heinz Field, jumping over linemen, disrupting the New York Giants' running game?

Troy Polamalu has been missing much of the past year and has had a quiet training camp. He made news just once this summer when coach Mike Tomlin reasoned that he gave his 32-year-old safety a day off because of a contusion to his birth certificate.

But that was vintage Polamalu in the early stages of the first exhibition game Saturday night, darting here and there at the line of scrimmage, making a pest of himself as the Giants struggled on the ground.

Yet all he wanted to talk about after New York's 18-13 victory was the mistake he made in coverage that allowed Victor Cruz to get deep for a 57-yard touchdown reception from Eli Manning.

"I was guessing," Polamalu said.

Cruz raced past cornerback William Gay down the middle and Polamalu came too late to his assignment, which was to pick him up deep.

"The good part, to be honest, is I know I can correct those mistakes," Polamalu said. "It's tough when you have to rely on other people to correct their mistakes. It's nice that I'm a weakness at this point.

"I made a mistake that I know I have to correct and that's huge. It's better than making it in Week 1. But there's also part of the preseason where you have to get a feel for what you can get away with and what you can't get away with. So we learned a lot, speaking for the first-team defense, for sure."

The Steelers would gladly accept the occasional Polamalu coverage error instead of the weakness that was Polamalu in 2012 -- his disappearing act. He played only seven games because of a persistent calf injury.

He said that calf gives him no problem now and he feels healthy, but provides a caveat.

"To be honest, I felt good last preseason too," Polamalu said. "It wasn't until like, the practice the week before [the regular-season opener] that I tweaked my calf. So I just have to make sure I stay on top of it this whole preseason."

Polamalu has been a laid-back practice player this summer, one who also has quietly avoided interviews. Usually, he reserves the kind of hyper-activity he showed Saturday night for the regular season.

Wanting to set a tone, perhaps, that he is ready to resume the position?

"I don't know. I wanted to fall into the groove of getting into the rhythm of the game," Polamalu said. "But there has to be a balance the way I approach the game. There are spots where you can take your shots and there are spots you can't take your shots. There are times when you get your shots with the right pieces in place.

"That's all part of this relearning process for myself and the secondary."

Woods makes a splash

The most productive Steelers defender against the Giants was not named Polamalu nor LaMarr Woodley nor Lawrence Timmons.

Al Woods might have had the best day of any defender on the field. Woods, playing defensive end, had a sack, two tackles for losses, a quarterback hurry and led the defense with six solo tackles and nine overall. It's the kind of play the Steelers might expect from one of their first-round picks at defensive end.

Woods has spent much of training camp playing nose tackle while Alameda Ta'amu was on the physically unable to perform list. With Ta'amu back, Woods played plenty of defensive end Saturday.

"Whatever the play was called, [I was] just running that play," Woods said. "If it meant for me to contain, I contained. If it was for me to rush, I rushed, if it was for me to take up two blockers to make sure the middle was clogged up, that's what I did, and it just opened up."

Woods, drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round in 2010, is with his fourth team after the Steelers claimed him in November 2011 from Seattle and in his second stint with the Steelers. He was with them all last season, and for almost two months in 2010, and his versatility and improved play will keep him here again.

Quick hits

Woodley could be spotted early in the game covering a tight end about 30 yards downfield. Apparently he has not convinced defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau it's time for a change in tactics.

With Plaxico Burress lost (he is scheduled for surgery today, his birthday, to repair a rotator cuff), the fifth spot for wide receiver could come down to rookie Justin Brown vs. David Gilreath. Brown led the Steelers Saturday with four receptions for 32 yards. Gilreath did not catch a pass, but did fumble one of his two punt returns.

Just like last year at this time, there were no deep passes from the Steelers, who averaged 8.1 yards per reception with a long of 14.

After Kelvin Beachum, the Steelers have little depth on their offensive line and none of the young linemen have made much of an impression two weeks and one game into the preseason.

Rookie tackle Mike Farrell, a Fox Chapel native who played at Penn State and Shady Side Academy, was cut Thursday but re-signed Saturday morning.

The Steelers will spend the rest of the time between now and Labor Day perusing the waiver wire for linemen. If they run into the kinds of injuries on their line the way they did in 2012, you would not want to be Ben Roethlisberger or any of his running backs.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz2bk97ZtXh
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

"To be honest, I felt good last preseason too," Polamalu said. "It wasn't until like, the practice the week before [the regular-season opener] that I tweaked my calf. So I just have to make sure I stay on top of it this whole preseason."

now my calf is twitching
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

He didn't sound as confident about that calf as he did a few weeks ago when he had said that it had been lingering for years and that he took special therapy this off-season to heal it and he felt great. Probably an over reaction on my part, but when a guy is injured for years in a row you start wondering. Seeing him charge the line of scrimmage back and forth again was great, that must really annoy opposing QB's. We need him all year if #7 is going to happen.

As for Al Woods, he was a beast. Definitely hurried the QB more then once. He deserves the shot to compete against #1 offensive lines in the preseason. Unless he totally drops off, I can't see how we don't keep him.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

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As for Al Woods, he was a beast. Definitely hurried the QB more then once. He deserves the shot to compete against #1 offensive lines in the preseason. Unless he totally drops off, I can't see how we don't keep him.
agreed with al woods, i thought he was the most impressive player. granted he was playing against 2nd and 3rd teamers but they just could not block him. i'd say give him some reps against real competition and see what happens. if anything, he adds solid depth to the d-line.
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

Jason LaConfora is generally upbeat about the Steelers prospects but not about Troy's
prospects

This very well could be Troy Polamalu's last season here. Would not surprise me a bit. The speed, quick first step and ability to cover ground just aren't there anymore, and free safety Ryan Clark is getting up there, too. Polamalu's contract puts him among the top safeties in the game, but injuries have prevented him from playing to that level for a while now. The Steelers have had to make these tough calls in the past, and have succeeded consistently by not letting sentiment cloud their football judgment.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/ja...hip-takes-hold
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Old 08-15-2013, 05:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

Define "old self"
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

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Define "old self"
I agree it is hard to recall when Troy was his "old self." I guess 2008 and 2010 until he hurt his leg?

Troy has been hurt at some point during virtually every season since 2006 when he injured his shoulder early in the season.

He also was having issues leading up to the Seahawks Super Bowl

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu looked good, running around freely on his injured ankle at Friday's practice at the Pontiac Silverdome.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playof...ory?id=2317103

and even in his last uniformly great year in 2008 (Troy was a a liability in the Packers Super Bowl) had a calf injury going into the AFC championship game

Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu potentially could miss practice time this week after injuring his calf before the Steelers' 35-24 victory over the San Diego Chargers, but coach Mike Tomlin said Polamalu is expected to play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playof...ory?id=3830172
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Old 08-15-2013, 01:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

I feel very disappointing at everyone, Steeler fans and others coming back and saying scathing things about Troy and his ability and calling him overpaid and overrated. Anyone with any intelligence saw this day coming. Troy's game, was never going to last 12 to 13 years. His game was the most unique set of skills I have ever seen on the defensive end. He was fast, ferocious and had instinct that was just amazing to watch. He put his body through hell and I made a conscious effort to accept that he wasn't going to be Prime Troy for a long time. As a matter of fact, it lasted longer then I thought, 6 years(2005-2010). I thought it would be 4 or 5. His hits, his nasty effectiveness just isn't born to be effective for a long time.

So, if this is Troy's "last chance", I hope you people do not turn this into a Lamarr Woodley situation. I read some nasty things about Woodley and that was him having a bad year from not being in shape. Relax, be happy you saw the Barry Sanders of safety in your lifetime, because I do not see anyone in the near future who is going to do what Troy did in his prime.
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Old 08-15-2013, 02:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

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I feel very disappointing at everyone, Steeler fans and others coming back and saying scathing things about Troy and his ability and calling him overpaid and overrated. Anyone with any intelligence saw this day coming. Troy's game, was never going to last 12 to 13 years. His game was the most unique set of skills I have ever seen on the defensive end. He was fast, ferocious and had instinct that was just amazing to watch. He put his body through hell and I made a conscious effort to accept that he wasn't going to be Prime Troy for a long time. As a matter of fact, it lasted longer then I thought, 6 years(2005-2010). I thought it would be 4 or 5. His hits, his nasty effectiveness just isn't born to be effective for a long time.

So, if this is Troy's "last chance", I hope you people do not turn this into a Lamarr Woodley situation. I read some nasty things about Woodley and that was him having a bad year from not being in shape. Relax, be happy you saw the Barry Sanders of safety in your lifetime, because I do not see anyone in the near future who is going to do what Troy did in his prime.
His prime has passed for sure, I just wonder what's left in the tank. The guy has been injured like crazy these past few years. It's time for us to look to the future because this game is about winning.
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Old 08-15-2013, 02:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' Polamalu looks like old self, but injury questions remain

you're in good hands with otstott
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