NEW ORLEANS -- Good morning and welcome to the last day of the first month of 2013,
The hiring of Danny Smith as the Steelers new special teams coordinator proves once again that one team’s perceived trash is another’s treasure.
Many Washington Redskins fans are saying good riddance to Smith, just as they did when Amos Jones left the Steelers to take the job in Arizona. The reason is neither coach’s special teams performances were very good recently.
It does not mean they are not good coaches. It could be the circumstances, it could be they just did not have good special teams players. Sometimes the head coach refuses to allow certain players to perform on special teams. Sometimes the head coach does not emphasize special teams enough.
I don’t know if that was the case in Washington. I do think the Steelers needed a fresh approach to special teams play and now they should get one. And in Arizona, Bruce Arians knew all about Jones because he coached with him here for five years as well as in Alabama years ago. So he knows what he’s getting.
Another example is Russ Grimm. He built a reputation with the Redskins and then the Steelers as a good offensive line coach. He went to Arizona and that reputation disappeared over several years with poor offensive line play. Now Grimm is still without a job. Did he turn into a bad coach or did he just not have the players in Arizona?
Onto some other stuff:
--- Bill Cowher will introduce Hines Ward when he receives his Dapper Dan Lifetime Achievement Award next Wednesday.
--- Brett Keisel will shave off his beard a week from tonight at
Jergels Grille in Warrendale. The event last year raised almost $50,000 for Children’s Hospital and Keisel is hoping to top that next week.
--- Here’s Keisel on how he appears to be getting better with age, coming off one of his finest seasons at age 34.
“I work really hard, I do. I feel like as I’ve gotten older and my technique has grown, the game has slowed down for me. I don’t get as excited in the middle of battle as I did when I was a young player.
“I love going out and competing. The older I get the more I know I need to work to stay in shape. I’m really proud I started all 16 games. It was a good year, but obviously a disappointing season for us as a team.
“I feel I can at least do one more.”
--- Keisel likes the Ravens. His former teammate, Kordell Stewart, likes the 49ers with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.
“He’s just a good, young kid who plays the game well,’’ Stewart said of a quarterback who reminds him of the style he played with the Steelers. “Ray lewis is not the same linebacker he once was where he could run laterally better than most. He’s now waiting to allow Haloti Ngata in the middle to basically take up some key people and play off that.
“If like in Pittsburgh, you just come down in and attack him, go at him, they can win this game.”
--- Bob Grove at Comcast Cable reminds me that Steelers fans can catch highlights of every past Super Bowl on Xfinity On Demand by going to the Sports and Fitness, NFL Network, NFL Super Bowl and Highlights folders. Steelers fans might want to do this instead of actually watching whether their bitter rivals, the Ravens, win their second Lombardi or the 49ers tie the Steelers with their sixth.
--- Talking to Eddie DeBartolo on the phone the other day brought back plenty of memories, including how Donald Trump sealed the fate of the United States Football League by demanding it be moved from the spring to the fall. That put many teams, including the Pittsburgh Maulers, into direct competition with the NFL in some cities.
Once they decided to move to the fall, Edward DeBartolo Sr. folded the Maulers after one season, 1984, because he could not compete at the same time with the Steelers, especially in Three Rivers Stadium. The Philadelphia team moved to Baltimore, which had just lost the Colts to Indianapolis.
“That league might have made it if it weren’t for Trump,’’ DeBartolo said.
--- DeBartolo’s best move as 49ers owner – one that could ultimately carry him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame – was hiring Bill Walsh as his coach. He sees a lot of Jim Harbaugh in Walsh, although they have very different styles.
--- Jerome Bettis, on Fox Sports radio yesterday, on whether he wants his son to play football:
"Yes, there's violence in the game. Yes, they're trying to clean it up. In thirty years, I do believe the game will still be here... As for fatality in the game - that's always been a risk. That's always been one of those things you never really wanted to talk about, but the possibility always existed. So I don't think that's anything new... I have a 5-year-old son and I am definitely looking at, are there improvements being made? Obviously right now I don't have to make that decision, but in a couple years, that's going to weigh heavy on my decision in terms of, are the safety measures enough to keep my son safe? And if they're not enough, and I deem they're not enough, then…you don't let them play."
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