Understanding Adversity, Part 2

Winning a one-sided game provides no insight to a player's heart. Until you see a player exceeding his expectations in a losing situation you can't appreciate his heart. That is known as leadership.

The games are still played for sixty minutes. Some players are emerging as shining examples of what this team needs in addition to the normal stalwarts of Ward, Porter, Aarron Smith, Kendrell Bell, and Alan Faneca.

Plaxico Burress: There is film of his 38-yard catch on the desk of every defensive coordinator we will face this year. I have never seen him give-it-up for the team like that before. Plax is beginning to amaze me, and he did not let up all game. Beyond a doubt, his best full game effort. He needs to keep this newly found standard.

Amos Zereoue: Wanna make Special Teams special again? I don't think Amos will ever give up on anything, much less a kick returner. He gave the defense an opportunity to change the momentum of the game with that tackle of Samari Rolle at the one yard line. He deserves a change of pace again. All heart, all game.

Jeff Hartings: Every game played against the Titans has resulted with the opposing team's center having to help a guard; they turn him right or left and that's when the trouble flows in through the middle. Jeff was helping left, helping right, and still plugging the middle, one of the better performances I have seen to date against the Titans defensive line from the center position. The man is playing through obvious pain and beginning to garner Gandy type respect.

James Farrior: There is a new Sheriff in town. Starting only his second year with the Steelers, he leads the team in tackles and won't tolerate less than supreme special teams effort. Nowhere to go but up, who knows where his game will be come play-off time.

The Steelers have three veterans on offense that are forcing their way onto the field in only their first year with the club. Jay Riemersma, Chris Doering, and the new whipping boy at RT named Fordham. All three are virtually guaranteed to improve as the year progresses.

The Steelers are learning lessons from outside of their division. Meanwhile Maddox takes the heat.

"All the rave" will be about Tommy Maddox's interception-fest with a brief intermission for Octoberfest. What will be forgotten is the fact that this is the theme for every QB that has played for the Steelers over the past ten seasons.

Adversity runs downhill.

Pittsburgh Steelers fans have perfected the pasteurization of a gripe into a whine. Not that you would enjoy it if it were bottled. A glass of '99 Stewart would probably rival a glass of Mad Dog 20-20 due to its massive overproduction. It's all bitter anyway.

The quarterback controversies have become Annoyances of Intolerable Magnitude (AIM). Wanna-be QB experts crawl out of the woodwork like cockroaches infesting the internet with their Annoyances of Intolerable Magnitude until their "prodigy child" looks stupid.

Tommy Maddox is officially "in season" with many fans AIMing at him. I know how this works and I back Tommy-boy because I feel his mistakes are still correctable. He is only guilty of attempting to do too much, a common theme of this team right now. He will settle down. He has sold insurance longer than he has marshaled the Steelers offense.

He is guilty of attempting the undoable when under tremendous pressure. Hopefully he will employ the "smart sack" when his protection has been broken down. Maybe he can throw a couple others away. I am not worried about Tommy Maddox at quarterback, there are plenty of other people doing that.

Keep the adversity coming, it makes us stronger.

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