Kreider Wins Weekly Hard Hat Award (Game #8, vs. Balt.)
Stiller rookie FB Dan Kreider is the winner of my weekly Hard Hat Award, given to the Stiller player who best embodies the iron-tough, hard-as-steel attitude of the steel workers inside the blast furnace of a still mill.
This week's award was perhaps the tightest determination of any week thus far. Gandy, Washington, A. Smith., and Porter all received some nominations from The Committee, before Kreider was deemed the winner.
Kreider, a practice-squad rookie who was not only starting, but playing, in his first NFL regular season game, passed his initiation to the NFL with flying colors. Kreider threw a host of crunching blocks that helped spring The Bus for good yardage against one of the best front-7's in all of pro football. Kreider was especially effective on Bettis' 14-yard romp with a textbook block on LB Jamie Sharper, and on Bettis' 11-yard gain with a crunching block on all-world LB Ray Lewis. Kreider also chipped in a sterling 14-yard pass reception, in which he caught a short out near the sideline. Rather than limply lumber out of bounds, like some fullbacks we've seen, Kreider juked to the inside past one defender, then deked another, before sternly plowing into a third man.
And never mind the babbling of TV announcer Ian Idiot, who, after a stuffed 3rd & 1 run on the 1st play of the fourth quarter, muttered, "Dan Kreider�having a tough time out there against this Raven defense." What actually happened on this play, was that Kreider went wide, like he was supposed to on this counter, and Tharpe totally missed his block on Sharper, who was well inside of where Kreider was.
What makes Kreider's accomplishments all the more impressive, is the amount of "sky is falling" rhetoric that permeated the pre-game media coverage of this Raven game. Basically, every article, whether from the Post-Gazette, Trib Review, or a national source like ESPN or TSN, bemoaned, "With rookie Dan Kreider having to replace injured FB Jon Witman, the Steeler ground game will come to a frozen halt against Baltimore." Bah! What poppycock, it turned out to be. Kreider showed he is more than capable of filling Witman's small shoes. In fact, I was wrong when I stated, in my pregame report, that "Kreider, despite the fawning by the local media over Jon Witman, is just as good a blocker as Witman." Kreider is not as good a blocker as Witman�.he's better. Kreider gets better leverage; he packs a harder punch; and he has much better follow-through on his blocks than Witman.
Kudos to Dan for winning the weekly Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly, Dan !!
Game #7, vs. Balt.: Chris Fu
Game #6, vs. Cinci: D. Washington and Joey Porter
Game #5, vs. NYJ: Larry Tharpe
- Game #4, vs. Jax: Kimo von Oelhofen
Game #3, vs. Tenn: Shar Pourdanesh
The Still Mill