Apparently in the world of former Pittsburgh Steelers’ Safety Ryan Clark, there is no room for change. In his mind, because the Steelers have long been an organization that prided itself on defense, Clark is concerned that the fan base won’t be able to adapt.
Clark spoke to ESPN, where he is now an analyst (who isn’t), and more specifically to Jason Reid. Clark was asked about the switch from a defensive power to an offensive one.
“When you think of the Steelers, you think of defense first, and that’s always the way it has been,” former Steelers safety Ryan Clark, an ESPN analyst, said on the phone this week.
“So is this strange? Yeah. It’s really strange.”
When asked about the expectations for this year…
“You look at their offense and you know they’ll win games,” Clark said. “You look at the combination of having Big Ben, Bell, Brown and an offensive line that has come together — they’ll score points and they’ll be in a lot of football games. But I don’t know if the culture of Pittsburgh is really built to love that kind of football.”
My question is why can’t the fans adapt to an offensive style of football? I don’t recall anyone turning in their Terrible Towel after Terry Bradshaw won back-to-back Super Bowl MVP Awards for his huge offensive games. Which by the way one could argue bailed out the defense.
Reid’s piece goes on to mention that the Steelers were in the top ten in total defense starting in 2005 and that’s true. Over that period the team went to three Super Bowls winning two and losing one. Go back and examine the last two however.
In Super Bowl XLIII, the defense was riddled by Kurt Warner and was nearly the goat if weren’t for Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes. In the Super Bowl XLV loss to Green Bay, Clark’s secondary was torched by Aaron Rodgers to the point they were unrecognizable.
As for Clark’s assertion that the Steelers have always been thought of as a “defensive power” I think he needs to preface that by saying “since 1970.” For whatever reason, Clark forgets the prior 30+ years of history in which the franchise was pretty darn awful.
If Keith Butler does anything in 2015, he should make this defense more aggressive. Dick LeBeau got more and more conservative the more he had to use newer players and the results showed. Fewer sacks, fewer turnovers and more big yards given up.
Clark can wonder all he wants to about whether this fan base can handle being an “offensive power” or not but the fact is, that time is already here. It’s Butler’s job to raise the level of the defense so fans don’t soon forget Clark’s version of the Steelers.
Better yet, are fans really going to care if the Stairway to Seven is won with offense?
Quotes courtesy ESPN.com