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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Ward the dirtiest player? I don't think so.

The fine people at Sports Illustrated have put together their annual list of the dirtiest players in the NFL and the Steelers' Hines Ward ranked No. 1, while safety Troy Polamalu was ninth.

Ward plays hard and he has drawn a couple of fines during his career, but he's not dirty.

A dirty player is one who goes for an opponent's knees. A dirty player is one who is out to hurt people. A dirty player has likely been suspended a time or two.

Ward is none of that. The same goes for Polamalu.

In fact, of the players on the list, the only ones I would consider dirty are Richie Incognito of the Rams, Harvey Dahl of the Falcons and Roy Williams of the Bengals.

Incognito is well known for his less-than-legal play, while Dahl is a cut-blocking specialist. Williams is so dirty that the league had to make horsecollar tackling illegal because of him - though it hasn't stopped him from doing it.

Albert Haynesworth of Washington and Kevin Mawae of the Titans are also on the list and I've heard from different players that they do some dirty stuff. But they are also very good players.

The thing to remember about these polls is that SI sends a lackey out to each training camp and polls 15 or so players - usually not starters because they're too busy – asking them a number of questions.

Many of the players polled really have no idea what to answer because they are end-of-roster guys or rookies. So they come up with what they've seen on the highlight shows. It's hardly a scientific process.

But kudos to SI for getting people to talk about it.

© As expected Travis Kirschke did not practice again Thursday as he continues to rehab his slightly torn calf muscle.

Linebacker Lawrence Timmons also sat out, though the team has two more practice days before leaving for Denver Sunday afternoon.


Anonymous said...

If I'm the GM of a new franchise I'd take all of the players on the list and it would be one helluva team. I don't put a lot of stock in those ridiculous polls but I do know that the players on that list are flat out ballers!

Robbie said...

Crack-back blocks are legal, so why is Hines considered dirty for being the only WR with the stones to deliver them?

The only borderline play I remember is a late hit on Daven Holly of the Browns a couple years back. I doubt he was trying to injure Holly, maybe he just got overzealous or didn't hear the whistle.

Zac said...

With the bye week, why did they wait till Sunday to fly to Denver? Isn't it best to have a few days to get acclimatized?

Chris said...

i always questioned that as well...but i've heard experts say it's better to get there late, BEFORE the altitude has a real chance to affect the players.

Dale Lolley said...

They feel that if you get in and get out, your body doesn't have time to begin going through altitude changes.

Darren said...

Now ask those same players if they would want Ward on their team. I'm guessing 99% would LOVE to have him on the team. (Actually, 100% but you have to account for at least a 1% "idiot who will say no just to be an idiot" ratio)

Eddie said...

Thank you Dale. That was the first Steelers article I read in the past 2 weeks that did not include something about Ryan Clark.

RP said...

Dale, right on.

Zac said...

I still think they should get there early to get acclimatized and rest. Your body can adjust, and as long as you don't exert yourself during that time, the altitude won't do much damage. That is people do when climbing Everest. I may be way off because there is a big difference between Denver and Everest. Also it would eliminate some of the time that they would rather use practicing.

keevin said...

Zac - you don't know what you are talking about. They mention this every year but according to doctors (not people guessing likt you) it's better to limit your time in Denver and fly in closer to the game rather than days before

If you were a fan in '05 you might remember a huge discussion about this before we played the AFC Championship game there

Carlos said...

With Big Ben pushing for the no huddle against Denver, does this mean they won't use that much Mendenhall? In my opinion, the biggest problem has been second half possesion time, maybe they should consider running early in the third quarter mixing it up with both running backs, though I think FWP is just not attacking the holes as he used to, he is more shy and dubitative when doing so, thus closing the window of opportunity for the openings the offensive line creates. By the way congratulations on your blog Dale, I am a huge fan, never had posted before but read every story and comments.


Dale, I enjoy reading your blog and other work on the O-R website. Keep up the good work. I miss the O-R.

There is a reader who trolls around here (can't remember his name; something Irish) and who thinks the defense stinks this year. What are your thoughts on the state of the defense? After some early weakness appearing after TP's injury, they've really picked it up. Aren't they first against the run? The passing defense is not as statistically gaudy as last year, but the team is winning games (5-2). Of course, Mark Twain said there are lies, damn lies and statistics. And we all know that interceptions, like sacks, seem to come in bunches. The defense has really held it together with some tough injuries, and we'll see how it holds up without Aaron Smith and his top backup, Travis Kirschke (sp?). There is a great balance developing with the offense's ability to score some points. Special teams needs some improvement though.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the defense and whether it can hold up its part to allow this team to make a run to the Super Bowl.

Best regards,
Anonymous reader who was raised in Washington County and now lives in Arizona

Dale Lolley said...

I think the defense is fine. The sack totals are right about where they were last year and the run defense has been solid.
Teams had an entire season to dissect the Steelers' defense. So of course they have come up with some ways to make it look human at times. The injuries have also taken something of a toll.
But it's still a top-five NFL defense.

Patrick said...

anonymous you're an idiot, how many times did I say it wasn't bad. In a comment completely unrelated I said the D wasn't playing as good as last year (when they were obviously weren't) and the offense was playing better.

So please shut up. You're an idiot and absolutely worthless, you've never contributed anything of a good comment besides trying to criticize anything I say.

If I knew you personally I would have broken your jaw by now, because you're an idiot who has been proven wrong time and time again but do you ever have a counter argument? Ever? Once?

Please show me ONCE where I said the D was bad. Please.

In fact, I want you to show everyone on here the exact comment I said, WHEN I said it, and compare the D's numbers.

Give me a sense of knowing what you're talking about before you bring up name again.

Otherwise you just prove you are worthless.

A-non-y-mous said...

I wonder if the poster who uses the name Patrick realizes that more than one person could be posting under the name "anonymous."

Patrick said...

yeh obviously they could but doesn't it seem to be the same one all the time?

Or all the anonymous posters just one big homer?

If so, shame on them.

Maybe you should log in now and again to distinguish when you say something worth while

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dale.