GarbageTalk: Pittsburgh Stiller Nation!!!! ‘Sup Wif U In 2015?
Hello America! Sorry for the long layoff. Lots of “real” work … anyway today, I thought we’d talk Steeler Nation! Hope that’s cool wif you.
Before we go there, a story about the first Steeler’s fan I ever met. A long, long time ago, way back when, I took a girlfriend to Aruba where we took a jeep tour excursion (that allowed you to drive jeeps through the countryside) one day. We were paired up with a couple on their honeymoon from … yup, you guessed it, Pittsburgh. And over the course of our three-plus-hour stick-shift journey (I had no problem but Pittsburgh dude, much to the chagrin of his new wife, my girlfriend and I, was not as adept with the stick) I learned a little about the Steelers. Namely, that the entire city walks, talks and thinks only about one thing on football Sundays. That’s about their black and yellow team winning. Basically, you walk into town and it’s like Halloween except everyone decided to dress up in jerseys. I’ll bet it looks like a swarm of bumblebees from a plane. Buzz. Buzz. For good measure, here’s Wiz Khalifa paying homage to black and yellow!
Oh, and, I also learned that natives don’t call them the StEElers. It’s the Stillers. Still Nation. Yeah. That’s Pittsburghese for you.
So now, what can we expect from Mike Tomlin, Big Ben and what’s left of the Young Money Crew? With the retirement of Polamalu, will this football team have the same focus? What about Heath … is he still playing? And what will Keith Butler bring to the table?
Will 2015 be the start of a new Stillers team? Focused on offense; less on defense? After all, Le’Veon Bell is dynamic … Bryant was an immediate break-out star … “Cash Money” (Antonio) is clutch … you’ve got Wheaton who was decent last year … and of course “Large Money” (Big Ben) coming off a career year in 2014!
Short answer is YES! The Steelers is going to be all about OFFENSE. In fact the offensive unit will see the return of all five offensive line starters, who, along with Big Ben and his crew is going be expected to pick up any slack from a team that just lost Troy and Ike Taylor, among others. Yup, this new defense is going to be young and mistake-prone, meaning they’re bound to make dumb mistakes as they learn the game. That’s right folks, there’s a learning curve.
Speaking of young blood, let’s quickly look at the Steelers’ fresh new rookie class, which was the result of, pretty much sitting down and waiting their turn. This was the complete opposite of Chip Kelly’s Eagles who made some spectacular, or more likely just idiotic (I can’t wait to see the Eagles fail this season), moves in the offseason to re-position themselves and trade away their most talented players. Haha. No, the Steelers played it conservative and boring, but in the end, drafted some pretty talented players.
First up is Alvin Dupree, outside linebacker, who was basically gifted to the Steelers when he fell to No. 22. A unique combination of speed, strength and size, this is gonna be a tough dude to deal with on run plays. Something you didn’t know? His “before and after” pictures look kind’a similar to me … no? Is it just me?
Next up, we have Senquez Golson … cornerback from Ole Miss! Much smaller than their third pick, Sammie Coates, a wide receiver out of Auburn, which makes you think that he’s going to have trouble against the tall guys on the outside (if they play him there), but he has great hands … so those balls he can reach, I guess he’ll take down. Wondering about that height difference? Here you go.
That’s a big difference! Next up is Doran Grant, another cornerback but out of Ohio State (god I hate the Buckeyes). Perhaps it’s because Pittsburgh had the sixth worst pass defense in the league last year they felt they needed to draft two CBs … to replace Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis and to give William Gay (a righteous dude who had to fend for himself as a young boy because his dad shot his mom and then himself … what the hell is wrong with people) some help on D!
Rounding out the class, we have at tight end, Jesse James (Miller’s eventual replacement who has a cute gf and apparently likes nutcrackers (lol)), defensive tackle, Leterrius Walton, defensive end Anthony Chickillo to help out the weak pass rush, and a safety, Gerod Holliman ‘cause damn they need to bolster that secondary.
These picks don’t come as surprises. After all, the Steelers historically are a defensive oriented team, but more importantly, well, Tomlin is not an easy guy to play for. Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right I said it. People say he is a “players coach,” which Tomlin apparently thinks is a racist comment, despite the fact that it historically has been a compliment, but ok.
Fact of the matter is he doesn’t like personalities on the team other than his (which is evidenced by his players saying “go ask coach” after games instead of giving their opinions) … which reminds me of other coaches, like Chip Kelly. And so if you are Tomlin and you are management who like Tomlin, you’re going to go get new recruits out of college who don’t have that football ego, instead of bringing in talent. Something that Dick LeBeau, a true players’ coach, or coordinator at least, (I say that because he kind’a failed as the head coach of the Bengals between 2000 and 2002) might have done, while not forcing Polamalu to retire.
Speaking of which, we’ll never know the full story of what happened this offseason, but Dick LeBeau, one of the arguably best defensive coordinators (and greatest defensive backs) in the business, walked … on over to the Tennessee Titans, where he’ll be assistant head coach in charge of defense!
A leftover from the Cowher era, the defense in Steel City thrived under him. So much so that when Tomlin joined the team as head coach, he kept LeBeau for team unity despite the fact that Tomlin himself was a defensive-oriented guy.
If you read between the lines and look at Polamalu’s retirement this offseason (which some would say was essentially “forced”) and the emergence of the “Young Money Crew” (two of whom (Emanual Sanders and Mike Wallace) were replaced (with Bryant and Wheaton) … it was just a matter of time before we saw the transition of Steel City from a defense-first team to an offense-minded team.
That’s right … the Stillers are in the midst of completing the transition and rebuilding of a new Steelers team, one in which LeBeau wasn’t welcome. No longer needed as a unifying force, Coach Dad (LeBeau) found himself out of place when Tomlin and management put the pedal to the metal on offense.
Now, I tried to talk to someone in Steeler Nation about these musing … and, here is what I got!
FBGT: Hey man. How’s it going?
Stiller Fan: ‘Sappenin.
FBGT: Excuse me?
Stiller Fan: S’up.
FBGT: Oh, hi. Are you a Steelers fan?
Stiller Fan: Stillers nation.
Stiller Fan: Stillers hooo hooo!
FBGT: No. I said StEElers. Are you a StEElers fan?
Stiller Fan: Geez. I’m sick’n tard of dis. Yeah, Stillers fan! That’s me.
FBGT: Just so I got this straight. If I asked you what a Ford truck were made out of, you would say…
Stiller Fan: Wellze, aluminum, mostly. Deze dayz anyway.
FBGT: Damn it. Ok. If I asked you what type of city Pittsburgh has been historically called, you’d say…
Stiller Fan: Historically, dose talk’in histori ’d say it was ferst, Iron. So, Iron City.
FBGT: God damn it. Ok. What professional football team plays in Pittsburgh.
Stiller Fan: Stillers. What, you dumbze, boy? Sheesh.
FBGT: Ok. How about this: ‘Sup Wif U Stillers In 2015?
Stiller Fan: Haha. Yinz gotta be loose to rilly speak Pittsburghese. Haha. Haha.
FBGT: Ugh. Forget it. Just forget it.
Stillers Fan: Ok. Sees Ya! Yoy, Yoy double yoy!
FBGT: What? Oh, forget it.
Well America … I guess I just don’t talk Pittsburghese. Perhaps that’s why the newlyweds ditched drinks with my girlfriend and me later that day in Aruba … after the jeep tour. Or, they were enjoying being newlyweds … Ah well.
What I do know is that we’re going to see a new Pittsburgh Steelers team this year. Focus is going to be on offense … Big Ben and Le’Veon and that young wide receiver core, which, I’m not gonna lie, is going to be fun to watch. And so even if you’re not a fan, you best be drafting some Steelers offensive players this year! They’re going to need to score to make up for mistakes made on defense!