It's been a very difficult two weeks for us here at If It Ain't Steel and, therefore, there was a drop off in the writing and posting of blogs. I lost a friend to death, I had personal problems in between, I then lost an uncle to death and my partner-in-crime lost an uncle to death as well. So, writing about sports hasn't been foremost on our minds. For those who were aware, by the way, we appreciate the well-wishes received.
In one sense, it was fortunate that little truly went on during this time. It wasn't as if much was truly happening that required immediate attention. Plus, there are plenty of good blog sites we endorse here at If It Ain't Steel, as well as terrible sites and reports which assuredly wrote at least one article on the '10 Best Places To Piss At PNC Park', to go to for speculation and minutiae. That being said, let's catch up by going over the only three things that were worth blogging about in the first place.
There has been some talk about whether it's more important that Steeler head coach Mike Tomlin should be signed to a new contract before Mike Wallace is signed to his. Personally, I don't believe one is any more or less important than the other long-term. The success of one, or lack thereof, could very easily be directly affected by the other. i.e. Tomlin is a natural leader who knows how to get inside a player's mind and get the best out of him. Let's say Tomlin continues to prod Wallace to become more than a "one-trick pony", Wallace responds positively and that leads to any and all game plans working flawlessly. Game plans run flawlessly and that leads to double-digit wins. Double-digit wins leads to the playoffs and the confidence and swagger to perform their best in the Super Bowl. Ok, now this is starting to sound like a reverse Direct TV commercial ("Keep calling Wallace a 'one-trick pony!'). Seriously though, you get the point.
The other side of this is that Wallace's amazing natural talent and drive to be the best is enough to make something out of nothing in given situations. Since we all know that Tomlin has been questionable in his clock management and end of half strategies, a more mature Wallace could be the determining factor in turning nothing into something. This not only brings wins, but allows Tomlin and the team to look and be better overall. So, to bottom-line it: Get. Both. Signed.
On Monday, June 25th the Steelers announced that they had released veteran quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith from the roster.
I know, I was shocked too.
I mean, this was a man who couldn't even start for the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL, who decided to go with that household name Jeremiah Masoli because he had been with the team longer, when an injury opened the door for him. Did anyone REALLY think Smith would make it to the preseason games?
The Steelers simply were not going to carry five quarterbacks to Camp, and Jerrod Johnson is eligible for the practice squad, Smith isn't. Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review added this wonderful little revelation about him: "Troy Smith had a cannon for an arm, but unfortunately, he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn and he showed that during OTAs and minicamp." 'Nuff said.
Smith's release ensures that Uncle Charlie Batch and Byron "Don't Hurt Me" Leftwich will make the team. So, the only chance Jerrod Johnson has is by way of an injury. Which, when you consider the history of the aforementioned Leftwich, is definitely possible. In fact, the possibility of an injury to BLove is like a no-hitter in baseball: don't say anything or you'll jinx it. Who knows? I may already have.
The 2012 Training Camp schedule came out on June 18th and told us that players will report on Wednesday, July 25 and the that the first practice open to the public will be on Friday, July 27. All practices will begin at 3 p.m., except for the annual Friday Night Lights practice which is scheduled for 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 3 at Latrobe Stadium.
Thanks to 93.7 The Fan, @937theFan on Twitter, here is a complete schedule:
Friday, July 27 – (helmets and shorts)
Saturday, July 28
Sunday, July 29
Monday, July 30 – Campus closed
Tuesday, July 31
Wednesday, Aug. 1
Thursday, Aug. 2
Friday, Aug. 3 – Night practice at Latrobe Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 4
Sunday, Aug. 5
Monday, Aug. 6 – Campus closed
Tuesday, Aug. 7
Wednesday, Aug. 8-Friday, Aug. 10 – Campus closed
Saturday, Aug. 11
Sunday, Aug. 12
Monday, Aug. 13 – Campus closed
Tuesday, Aug. 14
Wednesday, Aug. 15
Thursday, Aug. 16
Friday, Aug. 17