Lose Slag From the Still Mill (June 9, 2001)
- Humorous TR article on the new QB coach, Clements. Claimed Cowher, ""I always felt hesitant, because too many people in a guy's ear can create a little bit of indecision for a quarterback." Translation: "I didn�t want to confuse the QB by having TWO different guys giving him advice. And, when the offensive coordinator is working with the linemen, backs, receivers, or tight ends, I figure it�s better to have NOBODY talk to the QB, rather than someone who�s already been through the grist mill." It�s moronic comments like this from Cowhead that prove beyond all doubt what a dim-bulbed, stubborn moron he is. Let�s see � QB is the most important position on the football field. Cowher is perfectly happy to have a coach for the TE � a position that touches the ball (on his team, at least) about 1.2 times a game, but Cowhead was "hesitant" (his word, not mine) to have a coach for the position where the player touches the ball about 55 times per game, AND calls ALL the plays in the huddle, AND calls all the audibles at the line of scrimmage, AND is generally the one who does extra duties like managing the playclock, running the 2-minute drill, ensuring adequate substitutions have arrived in the huddle, and so forth.
Says the TR: "Among Clements' job duties is keeping an eye on the quarterbacks' mechanics, including footwork, leaving both hands on the ball to prevent fumbles and continually keeping their eyes on the pass routes and the secondary." Hey, now THERE is a novel idea !! How come no one in the NFL thought of this, before Little Billy did when he hired Clements ?? Imagine, having a coach to work on Stewart�s FOOTWORK, which has been downright atrocious since he entered the NFL ??!! Adds Stewart, "It was almost like I was on my own based on how I feel right now and the tutoring I've been getting," he said. "I honestly can say my thought process is 10 times greater than what it was the last couple years combined just because we've shut down all the thought process in a sense of worrying about everything. Being with a coordinator, you feel like a coordinator, because you're thinking about everything as opposed to thinking just like a quarterback. That's what I need. That's what we got." Wait, there�s more. Says the TR article, "Tee Martin said that he is receiving more personal attention this year (although that also might be tied to the team giving him the opportunity to ascend to the No. 2 role). "When you have a quarterback coach, that guy is there specifically for you and your questions and your needs." Martin said his mechanical problems weren't ignored last year, but he admitted they "weren't kept up with. Last year, I got away from it because I didn't have that guy." Heyyyy�. imagine this --- using a specific coach to help GROOM and DEVELOP the most important position, and most difficult position, on the football field. This is getting to be a bit too radical. I mean, development, grooming, and hands-on coaching are foreign terms for this organization.
- Richard Huntley, as yunz should have seen, was quickly snapped up by Siefert and the Carolina Panthers. Huntley should have little problem competing with Tim Biakabutuka down there. Siefert may want to employ a platoon, especially to keep the frail ex-Wolverine from getting nicked up. I will personally follow Hunt�s progress during training camp. Assuming Siefert gives Huntley a chance -- something Cowher never did -- I expect Huntley to have a strong season down in Carolina. I grow weary of hearing about Hunt�s "fumbling problems". This is a case of old stigmas being clung on to for far too long. Hunt lost 5 fumbles in �98 on 58 touches. In �99, he had 3 in 120 touches. Last year, he lost ONE in 56 touches. Bettis had the fumble stigma firmly attached when he arrived from the Rams. Mike Alstott has 14 fumbles in 650 touches the past 3 seasons. Anyone in Tampa trying to ride his butt out of the Bay? Sometimes fumbles are freak occurrences that happen a few times at once, and then are eradicated soon thereafter. Interestingly enough, one Huntley fumble was in �98 against the Ravens, in which he took the ball and dashed through the Raven defense, and was just a few yards away from a 60-some yard TD scamper, before a heroic poke-out by a Raven DB caused a fumble. The point to remember is that Doughboy Bettis, had he carried the ball on the same play, would have gotten 10 yards, tops. My primary reason for being upset at the release of Huntley is the fact that Huntley was an IMPACT player on a team totally devoid of impact players. By the term "impact player", I mean a player who can, on ONE play, significantly alter the course of a game, and can put points on the board with that one play. In �99, Hunt scored a TD once every 15 times he touched the ball (on a rush or a pass). In �00, he scored once every 15.3 times. In contrast, in �99 Doughboy Bettis scored a TD once every 45.7 touches, and in �00, once every 44.4 touches. Boiled down, Hunt scored a TD ever 15 times he touches the ball; Bettis every 45 times he touches the ball. Obviously, Bettis runs a lot of fruitless dive plays on, say, 2nd down and 8, which hurts his ratio. Nevertheless, Huntley�s touch-to-TD ratio is most impressive, and is exactly what this offensively-deprived team NEEDS. The Stillers have shown that their 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense, while adequate against sad-sack teams like the Deadskins and in games where they have a nice, comfy lead, is woefully deficient at scoring POINTS against the league�s more rugged defenses and when the team has fallen behind on the scoreboard. For those who think Amoz will become the big impact player for this team, think again. I have every amount of respect and appreciation for Amoz�s skills. The guy kicked ass at WVU against rugged Big East competition and has great potential. However, if Doughboy Bettis is the feature back, and Fu is the primary backup as well as the "3rd down back", exactly where does Amoz fit in?? Ah, yes --- I�m sure he�ll be given a couple chances per game to tote the ball on 3rd down and 10, or to catch a screen pass on 3rd & 14. And it�s still a great unknown if Amoz will even make the team. Bettis, Fu, and Kreider are locks to make the team. That leaves Witman, Rivers, and Amoz left to fight for perhaps only two spots. Remember, the team will probably carry only 5 RBs. Witman has long been a Cowher favorite, and Cowher may want to keep a true FB to backup Kreider, which would exclude both Rivers and Amoz. Or, the Cowher-loving Witman might very well emerge as the starter, and Kreider would remain as the backup FB. This leaves Amoz and Rivers fighting for the 5th spot. Let�s see -- Colbert, the Lion Lover, brought in Rivers. Think Colbert is going to be happy to see one of his buddies get cut ?? At any rate, if Rivers or Witman makes the team, Hunt -- the guy who scores TOUCHDOWNS once every 15 touches, will have essentially been replaced by Ron Rivers (3 TDs in a 7-year NFL career) or Jon Witman (ZERO TDs in 5 NFL Seasons). And fans will start wondering come September, why this offense again smells like manure.
- My other problem with the Huntley cut, is the ridiculous lack of direction from the Stiller front office. The Stillers could have easily traded Hunt back in �00 and gotten solid value in return. But instead, they went with Hunt as the "flavor of the month". Less than 6 months later, Hunt was replaced by Fu in the �00 season as the new flavor of the month, and the team STILL could have gotten good value with a RB trade, especially from the injury-depleted Eagles. Think this is an aberration by the front office? Go look at Nose Tackle. The team drafted a slashing, slicing kind of NT with a 3rd round pick in �00 -- a guy no other team was even close to drafting at that point of the draft. They also spent good money in FA on a slashing, slicing kind of NT, Kimo von Oelhoffen. A year later, the team scrapped its fascination with slashing type NTs and changed its flavor of the month by spending a first-round pick on a squatty, plugging kind of NT. At QB, the team was all gung-ho on Kent Graham last summer. This spring, they actually were frothing over trying to sign Scott Mitchell to be the backup. And, at 3rd string QB, rookie John Turman will fight to replace 2nd-year man Tee Martin, who replaced 2nd-year man Pete Gonzalez, who replaced 2nd-year man Anthony Wright, who replaced 2d-year man Mike Quinn, who replaced 3rd-year man Jim Miller. With any kind of luck for the young rookie from Pitt, John Turman will turn out to be the lastest flavor of the month and make the team over Martin.
- I found it ironic that one Pittsburgh paper (the TR) had an article this past week titled, "Gildon ready to be leader of the pack". Meanwhile, a day later, the Post-Gazette had an article titled, "Holmes 'the man' to replace Kirkland on, off field". This is a case where one newspaper got the story dead-on accurate, while the other laid an egg with a thoroughly sorry article. Jason Gildon couldn�t lead a group of toddlers out of a phone booth. If a player wants to lead a defense, he must first start out by showing a propensity and desire to HIT players on the opposite team. Earl Holmes will obviously be THE LEADER of this defense in �01, with some assistance from Flowers.
- Great insight from Pro Football Weekly on the Stiller management, or lack thereof: Writes PFW:
"The current off-season is another in which management has shown no instinct for changing markets and the leverage game that is so necessary to roster building. Rather than dare RB Bettis to find a rich contract elsewhere, the Steelers panicked on the eve of free agency and gave him a $6 million signing bonus. This is a player who has averaged only 3.7 yards per rush over the past three years and whose medical report last fall showed injuries to his toe, ankle, knee, knee cap, quad, hip, gluteus maximus, ribs and thumb. A week after Bettis signed, the running back market collapsed. So the club lives with the knowledge that RB Charlie Garner, a healthier, more versatile, far more productive player, received one-third the signing bonus it paid Bettis.
Pittsburgh's other free agency signings were just as bad: With ILB Winfred Tubbs on the market and Barry Minter soon to come available, the Steelers went for undersized, 32-year-old Mike Jones, an outside linebacker to play inside. Another acquisition, Mike Logan, has lost a step and represents only a marginal upgrade over FS Brent Alexander.
Most revealing was the signing of RB Ron Rivers, who has a Detroit connection with Steeler personnel director Kevin Colbert. After paying heavily for Bettis and back-up Chris Fuamatu Ma'afala, Colbert actually committed a vested veteran salary ($477,000) to a contender for the third RB slot?"
Well put !!! The Stillers, a team scared to death at the prospect of not having old standby Doughboy Bettis around, panicked, just as PFW states. There�s an old adage, "Success is the enemy of change." Because the Stillers and Bettis have had moderate "success" the past 3 years (although they obviously have failed to make the playoffs and Bettis� yards per carry has gone down), this so-called "success" inhibits the team from making changes. The team�s mantra: "Our passing game might suck, and we�ll be lucky to put even 16 points on the board each week, but we�ll be able to pound the ball with Jerome, and we can hope to keep the score close come the 4th quarter."