Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers' swagger
Way back in Mike Tomlin's first season, he received a text message from a player after a particularly convincing victory. It was from Joey Porter, whom Tomlin had cut in one of his first big moves as coach. Tomlin could not help but smile when reading that Porter approved of the “Steeler Football” he had watched on television.
A part of Porter would never leave this organization.
Something has been missing from the Steelers, though. It's something that Porter provided as a player, something that can't be coached and something all the Super Steelers squads have shared.
Think Joe Greene. Think Jack Lambert. Think Porter. Think James Harrison.
Think LeGarrette Blount.
Yeah, he's a runner not a tackler. In fact, he's the secondary runner for the Steelers, who clearly view Le'Veon Bell as the stud among backs in only his second season. Coaches want the ball in his hands a lot, whether it is handed off or thrown by Ben Roethlisberger. They want it in his hands early and late.
The Steelers seem to see Bell as a breakout star.
Blount, though, might be The Man for this team.
“One thing I saw from LeGarrette on the very first day was you know when he enters and leaves a room,” running backs coach James Saxon said.
“He's got that type of personality.”
These Steelers need a lot to go right for them to reach the playoffs. That list includes a healthy Roethlisberger, a receiver to complement Antonio Brown, an offensive line that transitions from promising to imposing, a defensive line that can hold its ground, fast linebackers to play big and — most of all — the cornerbacks to cover at an NFL-caliber level.
Get all of that to go their way and the Steelers still will need to develop what they always had in abundance when Porter was playing: swagger.
Porter would punch you.
Blount will, too. Already has.
A team looking to get over an 8-8 hump needs to start swinging again.
Porter was famous for it.
Jerramy Stevens' Super Bowl XL was sabotaged by Porter, who seemed to verbally sack Seattle's then-tight end before the big game as often as he had Peyton Manning during the Steelers' divisional playoff win over Indianapolis that magical postseason.
Of course, by the winter of 2006 Porter's bravado was a big part of the Steelers' success. The more he talked trash, the better they played.
The thing about Porter was that he wasn't putting on an act when he played for the Steelers. He was an unapologetic Big Bad in an NFL full of players he believed were simply pretending to be tough.
Blount, a bruising back who joined the Steelers from New England, might not be all of that, but he seems to have graduated from the Porter School for Self Confidence. That was evident Saturday night.
After an exhibition victory over Buffalo, the Steelers' locker room was opened to a visitor. Only, this guy was no guest.
Thomas Tull, billionaire CEO of Legendary Pictures, stood out. It wasn't his throwback Jack Lambert jersey, but rather the comfort with which he moved from player to player, shaking hands and sharing laughs. With the Steelers, he is a minority owner, but really he was the biggest deal in that room — a lifelong fan with a lot of cash and clout.
He knows Batman. Literally.
A lot of people in that room appeared to act differently with Tull around, probably to his dismay. Equipment staffers carefully stayed out of his way. Players stopped undressing and rose from their chairs to chat. Tomlin made a point to greet him and talk shop.
From opposite viewing points, two Steelers observed this scene.
Passing by, a first-year assistant coach named Joey Porter walked toward the exit still wearing a serious scowl. From across the room, Blount shrugged his shoulders, slipped on his black n'gold Air Jordan sneakers and also headed out.
The Steelers still have some work to do, but something about Steelers Football looks like it is back.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- Rangers up ante in Metropolitan Division with trade acquisitions
- No tag for Worilds; Steelers cut Moore
- Penguins notebook: ‘Skill practice’ part of optional workout
- Pirates notebook: Hart ‘down a few days’ after cutting foot
- Nasdaq climbs over 5,000 points ... 15 years later
- Arrogant media elites mock Middle America
- Sales, income taxes increases expected in Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency
- Shale drilling boom a bust for some Western Pennsylvania towns
- Sestak to kick off U.S. Senate campaign