Learning At The Feet Of The Master

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Speaking of crack-back blocks, during the Cleveland game while on the sidelines, i watched a Steelers play run towards the Browns sidelines.

Big o’l 6-4 275 pounds of outside linebacker Matt Roth for the Browns attempted to gain outside leverage on a Rashard Mendenhall run. As Roth moved towards the sidelines, what must have been a crack-back block upended the “Mighty Roth” and set him sidewise on his face eating Cleveland Browns Stadium dirt.

I was expecting to see the “Tougher than woodpecker lips” (as Tunch Ilkin likes to call him) Hines Ward standing over Matt Roth after knocking Roth to the turf.

Instead i was pleasantly suprised to see Steelers rookie WR Emmanuel Sanders standing over the Roth, giving Matt plenty of time to see who had mulched him.

Sanders than began jogging to the sidelines looking at Mike Tomlin, bobbing his head up and down with a smile on his face as if to say “I got him coach.”

Manny Sanders came to the Steelers as a guy well prepared for the sophisticated route running and coverage reads that he has to master. What i don’t think he came prepared to do was develop a taste for whacking guys bigger than him.

When you have a teacher like #86, a man so well known throughout the NFL as a guy who turns the table on the hunter in the scondary to being the hunted, you’ve got no choice other than to embrace the physical style of play that Hines Ward brings and as Charles Henry Noll used to say “Get in the spirit of the thing.”

The value of Hines Ward can never be solely judged through his statistics. What he brings as a player is much broader than that.