I'm taking another crack at highlighting some of the compelling entries being made on some of our comments threads. Let me say at the outset that the amount of traffic is such at BTSC that I have absolutely no hope of doing proper justice to all the interesting threads and great comments that appear here on almost a daily basis, so I apologize in advance for the many pieces that will appear to be overlooked here. I want to emphasize that I'm aiming for a representative sample as opposed to a comprehensive listing of the many quality comments being rendered by the community.
One of the weird/funny early stories of training camp is a seemingly harmless hazing incident involving rookie 4th round draft pick Alameda Ta'amu. The nose tackle from the University of Washington was walking to Wal-Mart (a longer journey than he realized; that was the hazing part) and injured his foot en route. The injury appears to have been only a minor hiccup and after missing a couple of days Ta'amu seems to be no worse for wear. Neal Coolong wrote a piece on this July 30th; "Rookie Alameda Ta'amu Walks to Wal-Mart, Injures Foot, Misses Two Days of Practice".
This generated a humorous thread of comments with at least three submissions being 'greened'. Dur331 weighed in with the following:
I don't like to imagine a Steeler "almost breaking thier foot" from just walking
So I like to imagine Ta'amu hiking through the woods instead of the wussy move of taking the concrete path. Also, I picture him fording countless creeks, sprinting up banks and possibly fighting off mountain lions (possibly where the injury came from).
And this from Mechem:
I found this leaked statement by Tomlin
"The standard is the standard and when your standard is excellent prices the Wal-Mart is the standard. Giant Eagle has a large windshield for produce but a small rear view mirror for affordable miscellaneous products. K-Mart being a business in decline simply does not hold up to the tough physical mentality that our team needs to have on every down. We have to be ready to play 5 downs if necessary and two overtimes if need be. That's why Willie's walk to Wal-Mart was an exercise in attrition and it represents a grand metaphor for this season.
Wal-Mart is the Super Bowl, Giant Eagle the AFCCG, and K-Mart is a playoff berth. We're not satisfied with second place, there's 32 dogs out there and one bone. Got to get that bone, even if it means breaking one on the way."
/dropped mic afterwards.
Neal also ran a piece on the 30th speaking to the physical nature of the Steelers offense under new OC Todd Haley; "Steelers Offense Emphasizing Physical Football So Far in Training Camp"
Datruth4life2.0 offer that "A physical offense means a physical defense"
which translates overall to having a physical football team. If you practice smash-mouth football, then the D has to prepare for that as well. One thing that Haley can do which will make this D so much more effective (as well as a healthy Woodley and Deebo) is to run the ball efficiently to take time off the clock. You have to throw the ball to score points, but you can run it and use a controlled short passing game to keep the other team’s offense off the field.
Hombre de Acero has a knack for generating pieces that elicit heartfelt thoughtful responses from his readers. This July 23rd entry: "Hines Ward, Greg Lloyd and the Lessons They Give Us About the 2012 Season" is typical.
Fifty-Eight was inspired to provide us with some of his personal history in this response:
What is noticeable and appreciated, to me at least, is the pride and sense of history this franchise has. I pray that continues. Once it stops being passed down, we will slip backwards towards mediocrity.
When I ran track and field for my high school, being on the team wasn’t just something you did to escape "regular P.E. horror. Our team had a rich history. We hadn’t lost a meet in over 10 years in the highest "large school" section in California. We were a factory of talent. As a freshman on junior varsity, our boys varsity lost to a rival school (think Steelers/Bengals). The meet came down to the last event, the mile relay. We lost it. I found myself sitting next to our head coach, a man who had once qualified and ran in the Olympic Trials. Tough S.O.B. And he sat, silently looking out the window, tears running down his face.
The next 3 years I was on Varsity. We went undefeated the next year, and win our schools last (to this point) league championship. But we did not lose another mile relay. It became "our" event, a source of ownership, and our feeling was that you’d have to pry the winning baton out of our dead fingers. It just wasn’t going to happen. Passing down history to the incoming athletes was paramount to us as upperclassman, because that’s what the upperclassman did for us.
I’m a better person today because I was held to a standard.
Maybe that’s why I love and respect this organization so much. They recognize the vitally crucial role of history and its importance in helping shape the present and future.
PaVaSteeler weighed in with this in reaction to the notion that the Steelers were "Too old, too slow, void of leadership":
…let these Nattering Nabobs of Negativism have their say; let them bask in the temporary light of "instant media" attention.
For our F.O. and our Owner take the long view of things, and if we fall short this coming year of the only goal this team sets forth for itself, but amidst the rubble and cinders of a season gone down in flames, there arises new leaders, young leaders, who set for themselves the high bar of 6 LOMBARDIS as their goal, who commit themselves to upholding the character, the dedication, the traditions of those gallant men who preceded them (Webster, Lambert, Ham, Russell, Porter, Bettis, Farrior & Smith), then I for one will count this season a succuess, and will revel in the anguish and damnation that will fall upon those who doubted, those who scoffed, and especially for those poor lost souls who took the field beliveing such drivel, only to find themselves staring into the firey cauldron that has been, is now, and will forever be known as the Pittsburgh Steelers.
(best read with memories of John Facenda’s voice)
Actually the voice I heard was George C. Scott channeling Patton.
And this from Steeler Nation Va
Which is it? Hines, Smith and Hoke were not contributing at the same level as before. Farrior was on the field, but was a shell of himself. Leaders will (have) step up. On defense you see Woodley, Troy, and Keisel stepping up. On offense you have Heath, Pouncey and Ben assuming the responsibility. Will the former leaders be missed, Yea. But we will get over it with new leaders, younger players and great coaching.
Hines will be missed as was Stallworth. Smith was great, but so were those that came before him. Will Ziggy be able to match his performance, we’ll see. The defense will look different without Farrior, just as it looked different without Kirkland and Lambert.
If DeCastro, Adams, Spense and Taamu and the rest of the young guys play up to their potential, there will not be a drop off.
Bring on #7. Hines, Aaron, James and Hoke will be their to celebrate alon with the rest of the Steeler Alumni.
Finally, (and I promise this won't happen too often) I am going to quote myself. In the most recent Weekend Check Down (July 28th) I included an item about a group of former NFL players, featuring former Oakland Raiders quarterback Kenny Stabler who in addition to filing suit against the league over the issue of head injuries also called for the ban of Steeler James Harrison from the professional football. I pointed out that the Raiders of that era had exhibited that type of behavior directed at the Steelers. In the comments thread Homer J acquainted me with some information about Stabler that inspired me to make a comment (rant) of my own:
Raiders were stereotypical bullies...
They hated the Steelers because, to quote Mike Singletary, our guys liked that kind of party. They couldn't intimidate us in spite what they did to Swann and for a decade they couldn't win against us or others when it counted most. They were worse than the Vikings and the Bills. At least they were bridesmaids. The Raiders were more like flower girls. The won one SB under Madden and have spent the past 40 years, along with the Cowboys bitching about how the Steelers cheated them out of their rendevous with greatness.
Somebody cue up Mechem.
Apparently that struck a cord with those of us who remember that period in Steelers history, because it was 'greened'.
Thanks again to everyone in the BTSC community, highlighted here and not who have contributed to the high quality discourse on this site.