Hard Hat Award (Game #7, vs. Giants)
Stillers DEs Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel are the co-winners of the 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.
After barely practicing at all last week due to being excused for a personal issue, Smith had a rock-solid game, constantly thwarting the Giants� running game. Smith, apparently going through a family issue of some sort, obviously had a lot of other things on his mind, but he set those issues aside and put forth a very tough, gritty effort. His hustle and grit was never more evident than on the 3d & long screen pass in the 3Q, dashing a good 15 yards toward the sidelines to nail the ballcarrier short of the sticks. He was also a main cog that stopped the Giants� 1st & goal possession in the 1Q.
Keisel, who had missed some PT this season due to injury, played like a man possessed, making plays up and down the line in as strong an effort as we have ever seen from this man in his lengthy tenure with the Stillers. Keisel finished with an unearthly 6 solos and 5 assists, in a 3-4 defense where the DE is about 5th in priority in terms of getting good shots at ballcarriers and getting lots of solo blocks. The Diesel didn�t merely make weak slop stops that fell into his lap; rather, he knifed in to drop Jacobs for a 1-yard loss in the 2Q; moved adroitly down the LOS on a sweep and stopping it for a 2-yard gain in the 3Q; and blasted Ward on a 1 & G in the 4Q for a 2-yard loss.
The only other player receiving consideration from The Committee was punter Mitch Berger, who gamely fought through the pain of a torn hamstring and provided decent punting. It bears repeating that there is almost always -- if not always -- a strong correlation between the number of players in consideration for the Hard Hat, and if the team won or lost. Simply put, Hard Hat kind of football leads to victory; pansy football (a term used here long before Troy Pola popularized it) leads to defeat.
Kudos to Smith and Keisel for winning the Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly, fellas!
Previous 2008 Hard Hat Winners:
Week 1, vs.
Week 2, @ Clev: Keyaron Fox and Jamie Harrison
Week 3, @ Phil:
Week 4, vs. Balt: Jamie Harrison and LeMarr Woodley
Week 5, @ Jax: Ben Roethlisberger
Week 6, @ Cinci: Mewelde Moore