via i99.photobucket.compicture taken by my son @ Denver this pre-season
Over all my years as a Steeler fan I have always looked for the guy who does alot with little recognition. More often than not I find guys who may be under rated or overlooked. Guys like Hines Ward in the early years who was simply a special teamerbut later worked his way to starter and ultimately a legend. I noticed guys like Willie Parker and James Harrison wondering why they don't get the playing time and get stuck on the practice squad but they later got there shot. I always felt Aaron Smith was the best Defensive end in the league yet never got pro-bowl recognition. While all these may seem like unsung examples to me it is more a matter of being over looked or under appreciated. To me an unsung hero is one who provides a necessary performance beyond what the regulars already provide. Until now I can't think of anyone who fit that role like Jerry Olsalvsky. He played behind Chad Scott, Levon Kirkland, Gregg Lloyd and Kevin Greene. He filled in for all of them and HUGE shoes to fill when he did. He was no where near the pro-bowl caliber they all were but was expected to fill the void left by one during the course of games and even for entire games due to injury. He always did his role and all though he was not an all star, when he was in the game, he played like one. In the AFC championship game against the Colts Dan Dierdorf said he was playing like he was possessed by the devil. He became one of my all time favorite players from that point. He was a guy who had he not did his job the way he did we would not have been as successful. He never recieved a game ball for his efforts or was recognized as the star that he really was. After all he was "just a back-up".
Today we have that same type of guy in Doug Legursky. Now this years line is not as touted as that linebacking corps back in the day. Hell lets be honest our line is little more than a scrap heap to begin with. Even the starters like Max Starks and Willie Colon were considered middle of the road to below averege. So losing both of them means starting back-ups. So Legursky in who he is, is a back-up to back-ups. Now all season long someone was always going down on our line. whether it was Scott or Foster or Keamatu or Adams, Legursky was the man who got called in. Whether he Replaced the guy directly or filled in to replace the guy who moved over he filled in. He played tackle he played guard. He played right side he played left. He even played fullback a couple times. Not since Justin Streylzyk have I seen one guy play every single position on the line during the course of a season. Never have I seen one guy play back-up to five positions. When we drafted Maurkice Pouncey I knew he would become the next great center we had been looking for. I was impressed with him since camp and he only got better as the season went on. Being named to the pro-bowl says it all in what we have in this rookie. When he went down in the Jets game I got real nervous about that. From the time the final cuts were made I was not surprised too much that Pouncey had beat out Hartwig for the center position. What did surprise me is that Hartwig, the starting center the last what 3 or 4 years, was cut altogether. Was Pouncy so good that they felt he didn't need a back-up? No it was Legursky who was so good as a back up that Tomlin and staff knew he could fill in anywhere and he has. Throughout the season I wont say Legursky played every position like a pro-bowler because he didn't. But neither has Scott or Keamatu or Adams........ The only one who did was Pouncy. Now Legursky filling in for a mediocre Ramon Foster is one thing. But to fill in for a pro-bowl center is another. Especially against the leagues 3rd ranked defense. Aside from a couple botched snaps, he played an excellent game. He raised his level for the moment and played better than his capabilities. It's no cliche' he really gave 110%.
Now we will have to look to him to fill in and Start for Pouncey. I really was hoping he could come back we always want our best foot forward. But if our best foot is Legursky I'm ok with it. He will have to play out of his mind once again and faces just as tough a challenge in Raji. Many of the experts felt that even our pro-bowl center wouldn't be able to handle the big guy and none our giving us a chance. I guess they don't realize he will be practicing against Casey Hampton all week to prepare himself. I don't pretend to know whats going on in practice but I do know this. If he can handle Casey he can handle Raji. I guess it all remains to be seen. Even if Legursky gets dominated (which I really doubt) we still have playmakers in Big Ben and Wallace and Hines and Mendy and Sanders and Brown. We have 3 tight ends and Miller is great at not just catching passes but can block like a tackle. If we had to play without Big Ben we could win. We could win without Mendenhaul or Ward. We could win without Harrison or Farrior. This is a team that NEVER relies on one player and we won't start with Pouncey. Pouncy makes us a better team and I'd rather he play if he could,but, having him in won't guaranteee victory. Just like not having him won't guarantee defeat.