The Tribune-Review Is All Over the Steelers This Morning

Don’t read too much into it. Just because I occasionally read the Trib, that doesn’t mean that I’m some right-wing sports aficionado. I just like to get the full spectrum of sporting news, so I read the Trib just like I would read the Post-Gazette. And the Trib just happened to have more Steelers stories this morning. Here’s a few updates on the black and gold.

Mike Prisuta sat down for a one-on-one with Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. The interview centered mainly around the coaching change, and how bright Pittsburgh’s immediate future looks. I wanted Prisuta to ask Troy about the contract situation, and if Troy was confident that the Rooneys wouldn’t pull a Faneca/Porter on him. But alas, no “business” questions, and Troy stuck to “football-only” answers.

Marvel Smith loves “playing” next to Alan Faneca, according to John Harris. Smith said the two leftside linemen have their own communication system on the field, and having Faneca close by makes it easier on him. He’s one of the first Steelers to openly support Faneca, who will must assuredly miss all 14 workouts before reporting for training camp. Harris calls Smith one of the elite left tackles in the game. If by elite, Harris means “easily gives away when a play is going to be a pass by starting in a pass-protection stance,” then yes, Smith is elite.

Deisel Keisel is about to be put to work, says Scott Brown. Brett’s versatility and quickness will help Dick LeBeau and Mike Tomlin develop 4-3 plans in which Keisel (above, with the cool gold helmet) can play DE or Linebacker. His teammates call him one of the best basketball players on the team, and admit that the 28 year old still has a lot of football left in him. Brown even likens Keisel’s ’07-’08 position to that of Adalius Thomas’ position last year with the Ravens. The versatility part is right on, but Keisel is not the first person that I would compare to Thomas, who is a freak. I supported the decision to go with Keisel over Kimo last season, and I think Keisel can have a big impact on Tomlin’s new defense. The Thomas reference was a little bit of a stretch, though.

Oh, and this isn’t Steeler news, but the Pens have made offers to both Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts, writes Rob Rossi. Terms haven’t been discussed, but Ray Shero obviously liked the positive influence that Roberts had in such a short time with the Pens. Popular consensus around Pittsburgh states that the Pens need a goal-scoring winger next year. Shero has been adamant, however, that the Penguins aren’t going for a one-year “rent-a-player,” and Pittsburgh already has the core to compete for the Cup next season. We have goal-scoring wingers in Colby Armstrong and Ryan Malone, but those two need to produce after having down years in ’06-’07. The Pens can keep two proven vets for a reasonable price, while only expecting a moderate rise in points from Armstrong and Malone, in order to continue last season’s success.

The Post-Gazette so far today? The Nuttings are finally seeing the importance of Dominican players. Little late, there. And Dave Littlefield is confident in Zach Duke (1-5) and Paul Maholm (2-6). That last story made my head hurt, seeing as how the two pitchers combine for a record of 3-11. And we’re at the 1/3 point in the season. Anyone want to guess why we’re going to push the losing streak to 15 years? Anyone?

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