Thursday, October 11, 2012

Debating The "It Is Time For Troy Polamalu To Retire" Talk; Ta'amu Latest, Penalties and Trai Essex

Updated 10/15/2012

They're calling for the head (and shoulders) of Troy Polamalu.

There has been a lot of talk on this subject recently from Steelers fans, NFL fans and media alike. Many have begun to manifest a similar prevailing mentality, that being that 'Troy is injured all the time and it isn't worth the effort to keep him around anymore'.

And now, since he's missed more games with his latest calf injury, I'd be inclined to agree.

I also believe the sky is falling, the moon landing was shot on a Hollywood soundstage and that police don't know who killed Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.

Look, talk that Troy is better off retiring and/or that he isn't worth the "headache" to the Steelers anymore should just stop. Has Troy missed playing time lately? Yes. But, is that reason to send him to the glue factory? Have the Steelers been better without him?

If It Ain't Steel wrote two articles last year that went into this very subject. They emphasized that Troy hadn't truly missed a lot of games in his nine years, not counting the 2009 season, and what his absence meant for the Steelers. - http://ifitaintsteel.blogspot.com/2011/08/ed-reed-or-troy-polamalu-who-is-better.html http://ifitaintsteel.blogspot.com/2011/08/to-peter-king-for-your-obituary.html

Not wanting to be accused of choosing stats to fit an argument, if you're looking to focus on the period of time including and since 2009 in which he was sidelined for 11 games, Troy's missed 16 contests. The Steelers are 7-9 (counting the Titans loss) in those games, with more coming. And in '09 specifically, the Steelers were 9-7 and missed the playoffs. Though special teams were a problem that year, it was painfully obvious that the defense suffered in his absence.

Expanding his worth to encompass the 24 total games missed, the Steelers are barely .500 with none having been playoff games. His value simply should not be underestimated.

Arguments have been made that surround Troy's offseason conditioning program with Marv Marinovich, suggesting that a possible change in his training methods is in order. Maybe even in trainers.

Ike Taylor, who never gets hurt...except in games this season when he gets beaten like he burned Ike Turner's dinner, has wanted Troy to train with him down in Florida a couple of times. The trainer, Tom Shaw of SPARQ Training, has trained athletes like Ike, Ray Lewis (who is now out for the rest of the season with a torn triceps injury) and James Farrior among others. Players who have played at a high level at much later ages than normal at their positions.

It is true that Troy has had calf and lower leg issues for a few years now. So, it's a thought.

Nonetheless, despite the missed time, Troy has been the Steelers anchor on defense when he has been available. We are still talking, after all, about a seven-time Pro Bowler, including 2011, five-time All-Pro, also including 2011, and the 2010 AP/NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The same man who was confusing Peyton Manning at the line of scrimmage in Denver opening night.

As for his departure, Troy is the type to do so on his own terms. It won't be because he feels pressure from naysayers who'd love to see his luscious locks walking away for the last time.

Nor should Steelers fans delude themselves into thinking he isn't needed.

Draft his successor, yes. Draft his replacement, no.

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TIDBITS - Everyone has heard by now of the senseless and wreckless crime committed by Steelers fourth-round draft pick, nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu.

In short summation, Ta'amu had a blood-alcohol level of 0.196 percent, more than twice the legal limit. He ended up leading police on a chase that resulted in his sport utility vehicle hitting several cars and was then arrested about 2:30 a.m. Sunday after a scuffle in which an officer punched him twice and was handcuffed with two sets of cuffs. Ta’amu posted $25,000 bail and was released.

I won't speculate on what the Steelers will do, regardless of Ta'amu's apologizing to his team. The Steelers, though, may have no choice as to what to do. With being booked on 15 counts, five of which were felony charges, the next time he sees the football field could be with the Gridiron Gang lined up next to his new cellmate girlfriend, Bubba. - http://tinyurl.com/9vkbxpl

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With the Steelers most likely without the services of right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who was in a boot Monday per Mike Prisuta of WDVE, and center Maurkice Pouncey, sprained MCL, could Trai Essex be on his way back to the South Side?

Essex was released by the Indianapolis Colts in September and could be a consideration for the Steelers to help shore up the offensive line. With Doug Legursky playing center in Pouncey's stead, they have no real backup. Practice Squad center John Malecki is an option also. Head coach Mike Tomlin is sure to address it at his weekly press conference.

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Before the Titans game, the Steelers had piled up more penalty yards, 346, than rushing yards, 318. They also averaged more than nine penalties a game. Guard Willie Colon Cancer recognizes his part as he led all offensive linemen with eight penalties going into the Thursday's game.

"I'm making it an easy job for those refs. I've gotta do a better job of putting my hands inside, playing a lil better technique."

He isn't the only one.

Ike Taylor leads NFL defensive backs in penalties also. Per Mark Kaboly, "including the two in the first half of the Titans game, Ike Taylor leads all defensive backs with six penalties called on him (1 of those were declined)."

That is beyond disturbing.