Maybe it’s hot in Latrobe, or perhaps he isn’t happy about the help he’ll have at receiver. Perhaps he’s ticked at Roethlisberger’s offseason decision-making abilities, but whatever the case, Hines Ward is all about business. Serious business. See that face?
According to reports, the Pittsburgh Steelers are trying to get back to a smash mouth, pound it at the defense running team — again — and considering the departure of Santonio Holmes, the firing of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and a lack of eye-catching receivers on the roster, save perhaps Ward, it’s easy to see why a change in offensive philosophy is in order.
The question is, does their current group of running backs; Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore, rookie Jonathan Dwyer; as well as lesser-known players like Stefan Logan, Isaac Redman, Frank Summers, and Justin Vincent; inspire one to think of a devastating, control-the-ball offense? Does Pittsburgh have the offensive line to block like such a running game will need? The Willie Colon injury will have a lot to say about that answer.
However, when you consider their best passer will not be playing for a few games once the season starts — although, there’s a chance that could change — the Steelers have little choice but to have an effective running game. Good thing they have “Serious Business” Hines blocking for them on the outside.
After essentially throwing his quarterback under the bus during an interview with Bob Costas prior to the Pittsburgh/Baltimore game, receiver Hines Ward has apologized for his remarks, saying he shouldn’t have reacted emotionally. Not only did Ward apologize to Ben Roethlisberger in private, he also posted it on his Facebook account in order to further legitimize his capitulation.
“So the moral of this story is not to do an interview based off of emotions and I made that mistake and I have apologized to Ben for that. Ben and I are cool and always will be. We will not let this come between us, our talk was very productive.”
If the Steelers want to salvage the defense of their most recent Super Bowl title, they’ll need to move past this little “incident” rather quickly. Currently, their record is 6-5, which has them on the AFC Wild Card bubble. A contentious relationship between the quarterback and one his star receivers could very easily damage whatever playoff-salvaging attempts this team has going forward.
Granted, the Steelers’ upcoming record is not the toughest in the NFL (three of their last remaining five opponents are the Cleveland Browns, the Oakland Raiders and the Miami Dolphins), but just like the Kansas City Chiefs proved, even the lower-tiered, sub-.500 teams have a shot “upsetting” the defending champs.
I’m not sure what Hines Ward’s aim was during his interview with Bob Costas before the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens last night, but if it was to through Ben Roethlisberger under a bus, he succeeded. With flying colors. While Ward’s comments were no doubt inspired by the frustration of losing, they still came off as selfish, uninformed — especially at a time when the NFL’s concerns about concussions are growing — not to mention, it sounded like Ward had some leftover issues from Roethlisberger’s “taller receivers” lament.
In his defense, Ward said he wasn’t aware Roethlisberger was experiencing any issues with last week’s head knock, and has since clarified his comments to say he wanted his team to have the best chance to win.
Obviously, Ward thinks that chance includes having Big Ben under center. However, the fact he commented about having played with a concussion before can lead one to believe Ward wanted Roethlisberger out there regardless.
As for the Steelers as a team, they are in danger of being left out of the NFL Playoff picture. Currently, they are in a pack of seven other teams fighting the AFC’s Wild Card berth. While one would expect the Steelers to rise out of that morass, the fact that they’ve lost three-in-a-row does not bode well for their Super Bowl Champion-defending opportunities.
Despite being the catalyst for an NFL rule change, courtesy of the play in the lead video, Hines Ward has no need for your stinking rules. Because the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, one of the bigger topics of discussion had to with the hit Ward laid on Keith Rivers last season. The hit was so violent, Rivers missed the rest of the season with a broken jaw. Whether or not the play was dirty — it does look like Ward led with his helmet — is not the issue here. The fact is, the NFL outlawed these types of plays, courtesy of Ward’s hit on Rivers.
And now that these two teams are having the first of their yearly double-dip, everybody’s asking about the hit, to which Ward replied:
“I’ll still hit him. I’ll just get fined. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s either that or try to hurt somebody. So are you going to fine me, or do you want me to end someone’s career? I’d rather take a fine than try to end somebody’s career, so I’m not going to change.”
Ward goes on to say his only options are to hit the player high, going for the same area he used to crush Rivers, or go for his knees. Evidently, the anatomy classes at Georgia aren’t quite as comprehensive as other schools.
I’m curious: If you violate a rule that’s been named for you and the play leading this post, is the subsequent fine going to be more than it normally would? What, exactly, happens if Murphy violates Murphy’s Law?
Last week, Troy Polamalu made the news when he lambasted the NFL for its hair-trigger fine policy. A big part of Polamalu’s complaint had to do with fines Hines Ward received for laying some crushing blocks, none of which warranted an in-game penalty. After yesterday’s game against the hapless Bengals, it looks like the NFL might have some more ammunition to use against one of the best blocking receivers in the league.