Although Troy Polamalu will always be a fan favorite, I always find it humorous to see the reactions when Polamalu doesn’t make a play or makes a mental error. The chorus of “Damn it Troy!” can be heard from all sides of Pittsburgh and throughout the Steeler Nation.
One such play was Sunday when Polamalu tried his classic move where he tries to time the snap just right to disrupt the play. While his timing was almost perfect, the bigger question was “Why are you doing it on a play where the Jaguars are trying to spike the ball?”
This is the type of thing that has come to drive some of us nuts in recent years when it comes Troy’s attempts at making the big play.
While we’ve all come to expect a splash play from Polamalu just about every game he plays the truth of the matter is that he’s been very quiet so far this season. There are a myriad of reasons we can point to as to why his presence is as quiet as it has been.
Is it because of Mike Mitchell? Is it because of the overall state of the secondary? Is it just simply because of his age?
Polamalu is now 33 years old and to say he’s got some mileage on his body would be a massive understatement. The good news is that he played every snap on defense last season after struggling to stay on the field in 2012. The better news is that Polamalu is actually on a better pace now than he was last year.
At this point in 2013, Polamalu had 25 tackles through the team’s first five games. As of right now, he has 34 tackles. Now the honest truth is that he probably has more tackles because of the early struggles of the run defense which means ball carriers are getting to the second and third level more often than he’s previously seen.
He’s also got one pass defended on the season and had one at this point in the season last year too. Also through five games both this year and last, he has no forced fumbles and no interceptions.
The good news part of this is that Polamalu picked things up as the season wore on. He ended up with two interceptions and five forced fumbles before the season ended. Granted, those aren’t the type of numbers we’ve come to expect from him but at least he picked up the pace as the season wore on.
I don’t think anyone can disagree when I say Troy isn’t what he used to be but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be an effective safety in the NFL. The question remains however , can he be as effective as the Steelers need him to be?
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game
photo courtesy zimbio.com