- You’re a 10-4 team who has clinched a playoff berth with one game to go.
- You started the season with your 3 and then 4 string quarterback.
- You lost the game’s number 1 3-4 defensive end and your other starters have lost time to injuries.
- You’ve also played the entire year with a make-shift offensive line.
What does that get you when Pro Bowl honors are awarded?
Not much apparently….
Hats off to Polamalu, Pouncy, and James Harrison
The 2010 Pro Bowl selections saw the Steelers come out on the sort end of the stick.
Mike Wallace has quickly established himself as one of the game’s most fearsome receivers, leading the league in average yards per catch for two years running.
- That however, is not enough for some. It should be.
- The timeless veteran also deserves a spot.
Lawrence Timmons has also had a monster year, particularly in the early going. Perhaps his low number of sacks is hurting him, but he likewise belongs along side the best of the AFC.
Curious Case of Casey Hampton
Perhaps no error is so egregious as that of the absence of Casey Hampton.
Hampton’s numbers might not wow anyone, but what 3-4 nose tackle’s do? But the Pittsburgh Steelers are having historic success stopping the run this year. All of that starts up front. Most precisely, it begins at the nose tackle position.
Ed Bouchette opined last spring in PG Plus that the nose tackle’s knees are the fulcrum that the success of the 3-4 defense swings on.
Anyone doubting that need only look to the Steelers defenses of 1998 and 1999. In both years the units started out strong, playing the stout, stingy defense that has long been a staple of Steelers Nation.
But in neither year did the defense finish that way, and in both cases the defensive decline can be traced directly to nose tackle Joel Steed’s deteriorating knees.
Casey Hampton does not deserve all of the credit for the Steelers success against the run. In fact, they’ve shut down primer runners without him.
But success does begin with him. If Hampton does not do his job, then Farrior, Timmons, Harrison, and Woodley have a far more difficult job.
I do not know who which interior lineman will represent the AFC’s defense in the Pro Bowl. I am sure they are men who’ve distinguished themselves appropriately.
But so has Casey Hampton, and he deserves to play along side them.