To those people who read the site somewhat frequently. Hell for that matter, any Steelers fan who has to suffer through the long spring and summer waiting for Steelers football to return: ever notice how rarely we talk about Hines Ward?
Why is that? Well, it's pretty simple. By now, we know what to expect from Hines: top-notch production, incredible blocking in the running game, toughness, leadership, guts, and no drama. There's simply no question marks with him. Consequently, when we talk about the big questions and concerns heading into each season, Wards' name rarely gets brought up.
Ward has been a stabilizing force for Pittsburgh for over a decade.
Ward started the 2006 season with a nagging hamstring issue, and missed two games late in the season with a knee injury, but he still led the team in receptions (74), receiving yards (975), and TD receptions (6). It seemed like a quiet year for Hines though. Perhaps that's because three of those six TDs came against his hometown team, the Atlanta Falcons. In that game, Ward caught 8 balls for an impressive 171 yards and 3 TDs. He didn't really have any other stand-out performances last year, but that's partly because opposing defenses weren't forced to pay much attention to Santonio Holmes or Cedrick Wilson. Now that Holmes is in his second year and developing nicely, I'd expect Ward to see much more single-coverage on the outside. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised for Ward to have one of the more productive years of his career in terms of the number of balls he catches.
My 2007 Projections for Hines Ward:
92 receptions, 1092 yards, 8 TDs.