Friday, August 01, 2014

Buying trust is a must for Pirates

Thursday, July 31, 2014, 10:03 p.m.
 
Russell Martin

The Pirates still don't have Pittsburgh's trust. That probably isn't fair, but it's true — and it's a big problem.

By all accounts, general manager Neal Huntington pushed hard to acquire the ace pitcher that conceivably could have carried the Pirates to their first division title since 1992 and perhaps a first National League pennant since 1979. However, Huntington missed on Jon Lester, then David Price, and the non-waiver trade deadline expired on Thursday afternoon without the Pirates having improved.

Misses happen in baseball all the time. Ask any pitcher, hitter, base coach or manager.

Pirates fans didn't seem convinced Huntington had missed on Lester or Price. Nary a local or national reporter could convince them the Pirates were going after a big-time player. There was a sense that owner Bob Nutting had not permitted Huntington to really swing for the big trade that would have figuratively closed the door on two decades of dreadfulness.

Apparently that door remains more than slightly cracked.

Doesn't matter that the Pirates were willing to dig into one of baseball's top farm systems. Doesn't matter that they have Andrew McCutchen, an MVP, locked up to a long contract. Doesn't matter that they're threatening to play again in October.

It even doesn't matter that Nutting wasn't the primary owner for most of the embarrassment that summers were in these parts from 1993-2012.

Even with those adoring “blackout” crowds at PNC Park last postseason, the door remains open on the darkest period in franchise history.

So, Nutting needs to slam the door, and then lock it for good. The way to do that is by locking up Russell Martin.

Pittsburgh still needs something more from its Pirates. It needs a show of faith. It needs a statement. Landing Lester would have provided that faith. Paying for Price would have made a statement.

People here don't care why one of those potential deals didn't happen. They don't care that Oakland offered Boston a unique chip — All-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes — for Lester. They aren't impressed that two teams — Detroit and Seattle — were required to take Price from Tampa Bay.

There are very good reasons the Pirates lost the Showcase Showdowns in the game show that is a trade-deadline day. They weren't positioned, or didn't feel comfortable, giving up roster players for a pitcher whose stay was likely limited.

The bottom line in the baseball business is that contenders get better when the opportunity presents itself.

The Pirates didn't do that Thursday. They didn't do it during the offseason.

They did it last August, acquiring Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau after the non-waiver deadline. They might have to do it again to fend off St. Louis while also passing Milwaukee for the division title.

They do have to sign Martin, and there's no better time than right now.

He might be crazy to not test the free-agent market in the fall. He is 31, will be coming off two strong seasons and looking at a field of catchers that will fail to impress. The field won't include Kurt Suzuki, who on Thursday signed a two-year extension that totals $12 million with Minnesota.

Martin signed with the Pirates for $17 million two years ago. Keeping him might cost at least $40 million over four years, and that is a risky deal because he is unlikely to get better at the plate or from behind it over the life of a new contract.

Still, the Pirates must sign Martin.

Contenders don't deliver on their promise by lacking reliability behind the plate. Tony Sanchez, the fourth overall pick from the 2009 draft, won't be reliable for the Pirates next season, if ever.

The Pirates are contenders, right? The Pirates plan to keep this good thing going, right?

Pittsburghers want to believe. They've packed the park and delivered baseball's third best regional TV ratings.

Nutting probably should possess Pittsburgh's trust by now. Under his ownership, change has come to a once comically clumsy franchise.

Yet the conventional thinking is that Thursday was just another example of the same old Pirates settling for almost instead of awesome.

So sign Martin. Buy Pittsburgh's trust.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.


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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Joe Greene - AFC Player of the Year 1974

It's fitting that No. 75 is officially retired

By Bob Labriola
http://www.steelers.com/
July 31, 2014



It was Sunday, Dec. 10, 1972, and the Pittsburgh Steelers needed a champion. Still a franchise that never had won even a division title in any of its previous 39 seasons in the National Football League, these Steelers had arrived in Houston the day before with a 9-3 record that led the AFC Central Division by one game over the 8-4 Cleveland Browns, and by two games over the 7-5 Cincinnati Bengals. The day’s opponent was to be the 1-11 Oilers.

It sounds like a pretty simple task when stated that way, but even way back then the NFL didn’t allow teams to play games on paper. Matters had to be settled on the field, and once the ball was teed up in the Astrodome that day, 9-3 and 1-11 quickly were rendered moot.

Defensive end L.C. Greenwood and guard Sam Davis were out. Left tackle Jon Kolb and guard Gerry Mullins had the flu, and while Kolb played, Mullins only made it into the third quarter. Guard Bruce Van Dyke pulled a calf muscle in the first quarter and was done for the day. Center Jim Clack injured an ankle and was done for the day. Craig Hanneman, Greenwood’s backup at defensive end, aggravated a knee injury and was done for the day. Defensive end Dwight White injured a knee. Defensive tackle Steve Furness injured an ankle. Flanker Ron Shanklin was injured in the first quarter and was done for the day. Quarterback Terry Bradshaw dislocated a finger in the second quarter and was done for the day. And tight end Larry Brown, who would grow into an offensive tackle by the end of the decade, was that day playing flanker because of the injury situation.

And remember, this was 1972 before the Immaculate Reception. The Steelers had no magic, never had. They were supposed to lose games like this, because they always did. The Browns and the Bengals were the teams that had been taking turns winning the newly-formed AFC Central Division. The Steelers hadn’t even finished above .500 since 1963, and in that season when they had a chance to beat the New York Giants to win the Eastern Conference title, they were blown out, 33-17.

Some years later, after the Steelers had become Super, author Roy Blount Jr. would write: “When the Steelers made (Joe) Greene their first pick in 1969 they laid the first and biggest building block of a six-year program that brought them up from perennial failure. That primacy is one aspect of Greene’s eminence on the team; another is the assumption among the Steelers that Greene can whip any man, if not indeed every team, when he wants to.”

On Dec. 10, 1972, vs. the Houston Oilers, Joe Greene wanted to.

Greene had five sacks and blocked a short field goal attempt by the Oilers. He recovered one fumble and forced another and those led to two Roy Gerela field goals, of 24 and 13 yards. The Steelers ended up winning, 9-3, and in the final analysis Greene had been responsible for nine points himself – six the Steelers scored and the three the Oilers did not.

The Steelers would go on to defeat the Chargers in San Diego to finish at 11-3 and win the first championship of any kind in franchise history. But the Browns finished 10-4 that year, only one-game behind. If the Steelers had succumbed to their injuries and bad luck and lost in Houston that day and also finished 10-4, the Browns held the tiebreaker edge with a better record within the division.

Think about that for a minute. No division title. Instead of a game against Oakland at Three Rivers Stadium, the Steelers, as a Wild Card, would have had to face the undefeated Miami Dolphins in the Orange Bowl. That means no Immaculate Reception. And if that event didn’t take place, who knows how many, if any, Lombardi trophies would be lined up in the Steelers’ practice facility today.

Cornerstone. Linchpin. Those are architectural and mechanical words for things without which the building will collapse, and the widget will fail. In the world of professional sports, that’s what Joe Greene was for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. If Joe Greene hadn’t been Joe Greene that Sunday in Houston, on that Sunday when his coaches and teammates needed somebody to step up and be their champion, the Pittsburgh Steelers do not become what we know today as the Pittsburgh Steelers. Some version, maybe, but a lesser version for sure.

The Steelers honored their champion today with a gesture that speaks loudly primarily because of how infrequently they have done it. The franchise is officially retiring No. 75.

“Joe Greene is a special guy and has been a special person since I’ve known him,” said Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney. “He came to the Steelers in 1969, and along with our new coach, Chuck Noll, they worked together really well to make the commitment that we were going to win. From the time they both came, our efforts reflected a changed culture. We just showed that we were going to be all right. And we went on to have the best football team, I think, that ever played, and certainly the best defense. Joe Greene anchored that from his position on the defensive line.”

Greene is much more than that one 1972 game against the Oilers in the Astrodome. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a five-time first-team All-Pro, a 10-time Pro Bowl selection. Joe Greene led the 1972 Steelers with 11 sacks, and then in 1974, which ended with their first Lombardi Trophy, he had nine sacks and an interception during the regular season, and then another interception and a fumble recovery in Super Bowl IX.

“A special guy, and special in all ways, from the things that he accomplished to the way he conducted himself,” said Dan Rooney. “You can put in the statistics, as far as the sacks and when he made the Pro Bowls and won some of those awards, but the bottom line is Joe Greene, as a player and a leader and a guy only concerned about winning, was a special guy.”

The whole retire-the-jersey thing, the ring of honor on the fa├žade of the stadium, the Steelers never chose to follow that crowd. Yes, the franchise had retired Ernie Stautner’s No. 70 in the mid-1960s, but that was a different era. That was an era in which the Pittsburgh Steelers were a bit player in the annual NFL drama starring the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers, and the Cleveland Browns. That was an era when the Steelers were in a fight to stay relevant.

The post-merger history of the Pittsburgh Steelers is decidedly different. Six Lombardis, eight AFC Championships, 11 Hall of Fame players, a Hall of Fame coach, a Hall of Fame owner. If retiring Joe Greene’s jersey identifies him as the best of the best of this modern era of Steelers history, so be it.

“The question of retiring a number, we’ve talked about it for a number of years,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II. “I think we always had the feeling that, well it would be nice but where do you draw the line? And are there too many guys where you would wind up having too many numbers retired? Coming into this year with Joe retiring and approaching the 40th anniversary of Super Bowl IX, we felt it was the perfect time. We talked about it and came to the decision that it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it. When you look at the 1970s, there are a lot of different words that have been used to describe what Joe mean to that team -- cornerstone, heart of the team. It just really got to the point where it was the right thing to do, and Joe obviously is the right, first person from that team to have his number retired.”

Joe Greene has six Super Bowl rings, a bust in Canton and the Hall of Fame ring that comes with it. He has all those awards from his accomplishments as a player, and in February 2014 he was presented with the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his career as an NFL player, assistant coach, and scout. And now there’s this.

“It’s just right up there,” said Greene about where jersey retirement stands in the pantheon of his accomplishments, “because it’s not something that the Steelers do. That makes it even more significant. I have never seen a championship banner at our stadium. We have won more Super Bowls than anybody at this point in the history of the National Football League, and we don’t flaunt it. Winning is a statement and it stands alone. That to me is the philosophy of this organization, and so when they say we are going to retire this number, that’s extremely special to me because it’s not something that they do.”

It’s something the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to do for Joe Greene.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Liriano fans 11 in Pirates' 3-1 win

By Michael Wagaman
July 30, 2014
Liriano fans 11 in Pirates' 3-1 win
Pittsburgh Pirates' Francisco Liriano works against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- His left oblique no longer a painful obstacle, Francisco Liriano is starting to look like the dominant pitcher he was for Pittsburgh in 2013.

Pitching Details

With the Pirates in the thick of the race in the NL Central, the timing couldn't be better.
Liriano struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season and Pittsburgh beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Tuesday night.
''I was just trying to hit my spots, make some good pitches,'' said Liriano, who last won consecutive starts nearly a year ago. ''My last start and tonight, everything's getting better pitching-wise and I'm getting ahead with the fastball.''
Josh Harrison hit a leadoff home run in the first inning and Travis Snider added a two-run shot in the second for the Pirates, who moved within one game of first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.
A former minor league prospect for the Giants, Liriano (3-7) gave up a home run to Mike Morse but was otherwise stellar while leading the surging Pirates to their eighth win in 11 games. The left-hander allowed four hits, walked one and retired 18 of the final 21 hitters he faced.

Related Stories

More importantly, Liriano threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 26 hitters he faced. He's 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA over the last three starts.
''I thought it was his best outing,'' Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. ''The fastball played so well, he was able to get them into a swing mode. This is a guy who was a huge part of the success we had last year. That's why I felt it was important to get him up and running again.''
San Francisco lost its sixth straight, matching its longest skid of the season.
Harrison hit a 3-2 pitch from Giants starter Tim Hudson off the facing off the brick wall in right field for his first career leadoff home run. Harrison is hitting .583 (7 for 12) with a double and three home runs over his past three games.
Snider hit his seventh homer after Ike Davis reached on an infield single leading off the second.
It was just enough to help the Pirates (57-49) move a season-high eight games over .500.
Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his 20th save.
Buster Posey had three of the Giants' six hits, including a leadoff single in the ninth. Pablo Sandoval followed with a deep fly out to right before Melancon struck out Morse and pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa.
''We're sputtering with the offense,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ''We just can't string together a few hits. We have to find a way. It's tough to go through this.''
Hudson (8-8) allowed six hits over seven innings and took his sixth loss in the last eight starts.
NUMBERS
The Pirates have won 17 consecutive games when scoring first. ... The Giants have lost eight of their last nine series at AT&T Park. ... Posey hadn't had a multi-hit game at home since June 26. ... Hudson is 1-6 with a 4.32 ERA over his past eight starts.
POWER OUTTAGE
San Francisco has scored just five runs over its past five games and has had four extra-base hits during that span.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Pirates: Outfielder Starling Marte ran the bases but has not yet been cleared to play after being placed on the 7-day concussion list. Marte is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday but no move is expected.
Giants: Right-hander Matt Cain plans to meet with specialist Dr. James Andrews this week to get a second opinion on his injured elbow. Bochy said the move is precautionary and that surgery has not yet been discussed.
ON DECK
Tim Lincecum (9-7) pitches the finale for the Giants on Wednesday. Charlie Morton (5-10) goes for the Pirates, who are seeking their first sweep at San Francisco's waterfront ballpark since 2007.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Steelers LB Spence caps lengthy comeback

By Will Graves
July 28, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Sean Spence (51) spins away from running back Miguel Maysonet (30) during a blocking drill in practice at NFL football training camp in Latrobe, Pa., on Monday, July 28, 2014 . (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
LATROBE, Pa. (AP) -- The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.
Spence almost gleefully smashed into fullback Bryce Davis during the Pittsburgh Steelers' first full contact drill of training camp on Monday. The two tussled for several seconds before Davis - his fists full of Spence's jersey - pulled them both to the ground.
Call it a victory for Spence, in more ways than one. He's a football player again, however unlikely that may have been in the agonizing weeks and months after he shredded his left knee in a 2012 preseason game against Carolina.
The former third-round pick used to watch replays of his knee bending in ways it's not supposed to bend - ripping up his peroneal nerve in the process - as he raced into the Carolina backfield. No longer.
''I don't even revisit it,'' Spence said.
For good reason. Spence spent too many nights crying himself to sleep wondering if he would ever make it all the way back. Sure there were times he doubted he would get this far. He responded by forcing himself to go in for treatment on the days he would have rather stayed home because watching the Steelers prepare for life without him was just too painful.
Slowly, his surgically repaired knee regained strength. Amazingly, the nerve regenerated. The 24-year-old Spence looked as quick as ever during organized team activities during the spring, but he knew Monday would be the day of reckoning.
The Steelers begin the contact portion of training camp at Saint Vincent College with ''backs on backers,'' which is just as basic - and as violent - as it sounds. A linebacker bolts toward the quarterback, with a running back or tight end the only thing in his way. It's a chance for rookies to make a name for themselves and veterans to show they've still got it.
For Spence, it was a homecoming.
''I was anxious,'' he said. ''I was chomping at the bit.''
It showed. He plowed into the breach again and again, winning some battles and losing others. Not that it mattered. He'll have plenty of time over the next month to prove he's worthy of a spot on the 53-man roster. Monday was simply about returning to the game he worried was gone for good.
''I was never a person who would quit,'' Spence said. ''I'm never going to be that person.''
Coach Mike Tomlin certainly isn't concerned. Standing a few yards away while Spence competed in just his second padded practice in two years - his initial comeback last fall was cut short by a broken finger - it hardly registered to Tomlin that Spence's long road back had reached its destination.
''We've had a great deal of comfort on where he is for some time,'' Tomlin said.
It's a sense of comfort Spence doesn't take for granted. Considering the odds Spence faced as he laid on the Heinz Field turf in agony two summers ago, he knows many teams would not have invested the money or the time on what could have been a fruitless enterprise.
''They could have given up on me a long time ago,'' Spence said. ''I'm just so thankful.''
And so eager to pay that patience back. The one blessing of his injury is that it forced him to watch more football than he ever has in his life. While it may take a bit for him to get fully comfortable throwing his body around, there is little doubt Spence knows where to go when he's on the field.
The speed that overwhelmed him as a rookie has slowed to a more reasonable pace. It may be the one advantage he has over rookie Ryan Shazier, taken with the 15th overall pick in May to fill the job the Steelers expected would have been Spence's at this point if fate had not intervened.
The starting job next to Lawrence Timmons for the season opener against Cleveland is Shazier's to lose. Spence understands what he's up against but isn't ceding anything. He stressed he's ''just here competing.'' For now, that's enough.
''Soon as I got the first hit, I was good to go,'' he said, ''like back to football.''
NOTES: Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the team has some money to play with under the salary cap and could sign one of its impending free agents - including linebacker Jason Worilds or cornerback Cortez Allen - to a long-term deal before camp breaks. ... Rookie LB Jordan Zumwalt left practice early with a groin injury. ... The Steelers are off Tuesday.
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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Worley tosses 4-hitter, Pirates beat Giants 5-0

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ (AP Sports Writer)
July 29, 2014

Pittsburgh Pirates' Vance Worley works against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 28, 2014, in San Francisco. Photo: Ben Margot, AP / AP

Pittsburgh Pirates' Vance Worley works against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 28, 2014, in San Francisco. Photo: Ben Margot, AP

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Except for about 30 friends and family in the stands, Sacramento nativeVance Worley silenced the announced crowd of 41,794 at AT&T Park with the best performance of his career.

Pitching Details

Worley tossed a four-hitter for his first shutout, and the Pittsburgh Pirates pounded Madison Bumgarnerearly in a 5-0 win over the struggling Giants on Monday night.
''Just glad I gave them something fun to watch,'' said Worley, who didn't grow up a Giants fan but heard ''a lot of lip'' from friends after coming up in the Phillies organization.
Worley sure seems to bring his best against San Francisco.
Worley (4-1) struck out three and walked one in an efficient 100-pitch outing. His only other complete game came in a 7-2 win over the Giants on July 26, 2011, in Philadelphia.
Four players drove in a run off Bumgarner (12-8) in the first, and Josh Harrison hit his seventh homer in the second to provide all of Pittsburgh's pop.
Worley worked over batters the rest of the way to hand San Francisco its fifth straight loss and 12th shutout this season.
The right-hander was acquired from Minnesota on March 25 for a player to be named or cash. He spent time in extended spring training and with Triple-A Indianapolis before being thrust into Pittsburgh's rotation because of injuries.
Worley has made the most of his opportunities in the majors. He has a 2.54 ERA in eight appearances this season, including seven starts.
''He had to fight back. He had to make some adjustments,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ''He's been focused. He's been prepared. He's not doing anything he hasn't done before. His confidence is playing. The command is what's showing up.''
Worley didn't allow a baserunner until Pablo Sandoval singled for the first of his two hits. Gregor Blanco hit a swinging bunt single in the sixth before being nabbed trying to steal second. And Hunter Pence's two-out triple in the ninth was the only other hit off Worley.
The Giants, who were just swept in a three-game home series by the Dodgers to fall out of first place in the NL West, were counting on their All-Star pitcher to help wash away their woes.
Instead, Bumgarner gave up five runs and six hits in four innings. He had allowed one run in 14 innings since the All-Star break and was coming off his best start of the season.
All that evaporated in a 41-pitch first. He allowed three hits, two walks and committed one of two San Francisco errors in the inning when he misfired to second trying to pickoff Andrew McCutchen.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Pirates: Left fielder Starling Marte can come off the concussion list Wednesday but likely won't resume baseball activities until a few days after that.
Giants: First baseman Brandon Belt passed his concussion test, resumed working out and is expected to return early in the team's 10-game road trip that begins Friday at the New York Mets. ... Backup catcher Hector Sanchez failed his concussion test and said he will be out least another three days. ... Center fielder Angel Pagan (back) will go through his pregame workout routine Tuesday in Arizona, and if everything goes well the Giants will set a date for his rehab assignment.
ON DECK
Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (2-7, 4.18 ERA) looks for his second straight victory.
Giants: RHP Tim Hudson (8-7, 2.65 ERA) tries to stop his three-game home losing streak.
TURN TWO: The Pirates helped Worley out with two double plays, including a spectacular turn by second baseman Neil Walker in the fourth. Walker grabbed shortstop Jordy Mercer's glove scoop barehanded while falling, turned and threw to first to get Michael Morse. ''I knew I was going to have to bare-hand the ball, but I just didn't know where it was going to be,'' Walker said. ''It was kind of just instinctual.''
HOME-FIELD DISADVANTAGE
After starting the season 22-9 at home, the Giants are 6-20 in San Francisco since and 28-29 overall. ''This is kind of where you make your money at,'' said Bumgarner, who is 4-6 at AT&T Park this season. ''It's really weird.''

Monday, July 28, 2014

Timmons has goal of reaching first Pro Bowl


LATROBE — Lawrence Timmons has played everywhere, man, from Lambeau to London from San Francisco to San Diego. But the eight-year veteran has yet to play a game in Hawaii.
It’s the only blemish on an otherwise stellar resume.
The Steelers inside linebacker isn’t booking a trip to Honolulu in February just yet, but a Pro Bowl appearance — a first for Timmons -— would be well deserved and much appreciated by the oft-underrated 28-year-old.
“Not to be selfish, it’s something I’ve never done,” Timmons said Saturday after the first full day of training camp. “I’ve won a championship before but it’s always a goal for me. Since I was a little kid, I wanted to go to Hawaii. Definitely looking forward to it.”
Naturally, a trip to Arizona and the Super Bowl is preferable but, if not, the respect and admiration of his teammates will have to suffice.
“I feel like the way the team treats me, I’m appreciated, and that’s enough for me,” Timmons said.
While Troy Polamalu remains the face of the Steelers’ defense, Timmons has emerged as its undisputed leader, a player that his younger teammates are taught to emulate both on and off the field.
And with good reason. Timmons led or was tied for the lead in tackles every game last season among the team’s linebackers. He has registered 100 or more tackles in three of the last four seasons, including a career-high 155 last season.
At 28, Timmons is the “eldest” member of a dynamic young linebacker corps that includes 26-year-old Jason Worilds along with youngsters Jarvis Jones, 22, and Ryan Shazier, 21.
All but Worilds, who emerged as a weapon last season, were first-round picks (Worilds was a second rounder, by the way).
“Time flies, this is my eighth year,” said Timmons, who reported to camp eight pounds lighter (242). “When you hear eight years, you’re like ‘wow.’ That is kind of old in football years.”
A leaky defense has been the biggest culprit in Pittsburgh’s now two-year playoff drought. But, as Timmons says, this is a different year and a different team. Nearly 30 percent of last year’s team is gone.
The Steelers’ linebackers have the pedigree, now it’s time to put it to good use. Jones believes the Steelers’ quartet could be among the NFL’s best.
“That’s why you play this game,” he said. “We want to be, at the end of our careers, you want to be some of the best. I think we have a great group of guys to do that.”
Having former Steelers star linebacker Joey Porter around as a defensive assistant will help bring more fire and leadership, according to Timmons.
“Everyone knows the type of player (Porter) was, he brings that same mentality to his coaching,” Timmons said. “The players feel a sense of urgency in how he played.”
Picking up coordinator Dick LeBeau’s complicated defensive scheme won’t be easy for the youngsters. Timmons, the 15th overall pick in 2007, didn’t start until his third season.
“We’re a totally different ball club then when I came in,” Timmons said. “It’s hard to compare, but it’s obviously worked out for me.”