´ Steel Curtain Rising: Watch Tower: Cook Wrong on Holmes Apology

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Watch Tower: Cook Wrong on Holmes Apology

Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes apologized to the public and his teammates for being charged with marijuana possession, an incident which caused him to miss the Steelers losing effort against the New York Giants. Post Gazette columnist Ron Cook’s opinion piece about Holmes apology undoubtedly drew praise throughout Steelers Nation, but his central contention is incorrect.

Cook is right in giving voice to the frustration of fans everywhere, and he joins a chorus of others in the Pittsburgh press corps in lambasting Holmes for such selfish and ignorant behavior. Keeping marijuana, let alone smoking, in one’s car defies common sense for anyone, but especially for someone who is in the public eye.

Cook imagines of what it must have been like for Holmes in his meetings with Mike Tomlin and his teammates. Continuing, Cook offers


It would have been nice if Holmes had chosen to apologize publicly. You know, in person…. But Holmes and the Steelers took the easy way out issuing a lame statement that was supposed to serve as his apology. The words – if they were indeed Holmes’ and not those of some staffer in the public relations office – don’t have the same impact on paper that they do coming from a man’s heart. Its just too hard to measure sincerity on paper.

A public Holmes apology would have been satisfying. A mea culpa before the cameras would have been cathartic for all of Steelers Nation. Not only would it have “made the papers” but it would have become an instant YouTube moment.

And that is precisely why Cook is wrong.

The Steelers just lost the biggest game [on paper] of the season. They also just ended a week filled with enough distraction to have made even Chuck Noll’s head to spin.

Coincidence?

Maybe. Maybe not.

The offense was out of sync save for two big plays. Sure, the Steelers offense has had serious issues with consistency all year, but the Giants game was the first time when they flat out shot themselves in the foot.

Cook imagines that Holmes must have castigated himself to the extreme in front of his teammates.

I am fine with that, but my imagination does not stop there.

I’d like to see Mike Tomlin wrapping up the apology session meeting by putting two words up on his white board:

Washington Redskins.

Followed by an admonition that would go something like this:

‘OK, now that that is past us, let me show you what the focus of team is for the entire week. Washington Redskins. Anytime anyone asks you anything, this is the answer you give them. Period. What to talk about fines? We’re focused on the Redskins. What to talk about drugs, sports, society and suspensions, we’re worried about the Redskins. They ask you about Aaron Smith, you got it, we’re talking about the Redskins.’
The Santonio Holmes story is not going away, but a public apology by Holmes would have all but guaranteed that the story dominated news coverage this week.

The press would have had a field day with a public apology, which almost certainly Cook’s motive in suggesting that Holmes should have offered one.

But a public mea culpa would have served the best interests of the team, and that is why Ron Cook is wrong on this one.


Misplaced Praise for the Steelers Offensive Line, Again

I almost hesitate to bring this up, lest new readers think that Watch Tower is a surrogate title for “Dump on Ron Cook.” Fortunately it is not, but he keeps providing good material.

After the Jacksonville game Cook wrote that the “offensive line had kept Ben clean,” to which Steel Curtain Rising took issue.

Now he’s at it again. In discussing the reasons for the Steelers loss Cook postulates: “…They also blamed the offensive line, which isn’t so fine. Those guys played a decent game, certainly good enough to win.”

Yeah, Right.

He’s correct when he says that Ben was having a very off game. He’s also right when he says that receivers were not getting open and making Ben the victim of coverage sacks.

But to claim that the line had a decent game?

While Ben might not have been the subject of some of the incredibly violent hits he took in Jacksonville or against the Baltimore Ravens, he was sacked five times and knocked down at least 13 times.

Indeed, when the team was trying to rally, the pocket seemed to collapse like a sand castle during high tide.

Ben’s style of play may lead to more sacks than another quarterback would otherwise suffer. Cook’s right that quality offensive line play was on display last Sunday, it was coming from the Giants.

Against the NFL’s number one pass rush the Giants front five protected their man. The Steelers did register some pressures, but did not record a single sack, and knock downs, if there were any, were few and far between.

Sure Eli certainly got rid of the ball quickly on a number of occasions, but for the most part he had time to do his thing. Ben did not.

And that is the difference between quality and poor offensive line play.

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