Category Archives: Commentary

Football is a year-round sport

As training camps are getting underway, we’re starting to hear reports of the first injuries as players begin to work out those muscles that have been resting since the season ended. Bruschi hurt his wrist, Vick hurt his leg, Bentley’s out for the season, and there are many other such injuries. Some, I’m sure, are just plain old football injuries, and they can’t really be avoided. But how many are from poor offseason conditioning? You hear about these workout warriors that lift weights and excercise several hours a day all year, and you shake your head and think they’re working too hard. But maybe that’s the way to do it. Every year reports flood out of training camps with out of condition players ripping muscles and hurting themselves because they weren’t in good enough condition to practice. It’s already started, but I think more and more in the future players are going to have to start working out all year just to stay healthy enough to play during the season.

The epitome of unlucky

Cleveland Browns high profile free agent aquisition LeCharles Bentley is reportedly out for the season after tearing his patellar tendon in the first 11 on 11 drill of training camp. To those who follow the Cleveland Browns, this was almost to be expected considering the team’s string of bad luck over the last 7 or so years.

In other news, the first round picks are finally starting to sign, with some top players like Vince Young inking in their contracts. Reggie Bush and Matt Leinhart have yet to sign with their respective teams.

Why Pittsburgh is not, in fact, in trouble

Not so very long after Pittsburgh won Super Bowl 40, everyone suddenly decided they wanted some of their players.

Antwaan Randel El was lured to Washington with promises of a huge contract and a big role in a somewhat pass-oriented offense. Chris Hope and Kimo Von Oelhoffen were also taken by other teams.

Jerome Bettis retired, as well, leaving another gap to be filled.

Already some were saying that the Steelers were in trouble. Then Roethlisberger got in the accident. Then Santanio Holmes was arrested. Twice. Things were not looking so good. The popular position now is to say that the Steelers are, in fact, toast before the season even starts.

After all, they didn’t do much more than beat the AFC’s top three teams and the NFC’s top 2 teams, mostly dominating all of those games, on the way to the Super Bowl and in the Super Bowl.

The loss of Chris Hope supposedly destroys their secondary. The loss of Bettis ruins their grinding ground attack. Santantio Holmes being arrested makes him a bust. Roethlisberger making a mistake makes him useless for the rest of the year. The loss of Kimo makes the defensive line useless.

Right?

Maybe not. The Steelers are a team with extraordinary depth, and none of the losses mentioned above will kill them. Chris Hope was indeed a great player, but guys like Deshea Townsend, Ike Taylor, and Troy Polamalu are all good enough to carry on without him.

Jerome Bettis had some great moments in 2005, but he was really only used in short yardage situations. That will be a small loss, but with Parker, Haynes, and Staley all on the roster, they’ll be ok.

With Antwaan Randel El gone, you might think the reciving corps would be in trouble, but that’s not really the case. Hines Ward is back, and he’s one of the top recievers in the league. Cedric Wilson started playing really well towards the end of the year, and he’ll probably slide into the number two role, which he should fill in well enough. Santantio Holmes is fast and a good overall player. He should make a solid player even as a rookie. Heath Miller had an incredible rookie season (six touchdown catches) and he should be even better this year.

The loss of Randel El on special teams stings a little, but the coaches have liked what they’ve seen from third round pick Willie Reid, and he should be able to fill in the role of returner without much of a loss.

And Roethlisberger? He’s expected to start game 1 against the Dolphins, so the only thing that the accedent did was make him a wiser man.

All in all, things aren’t really looking all that bad for Pittsburgh.