Share This Page

Steelers safeties Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu hope to keep opponents guessing

| Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, 8:15 p.m.
The Steelers' Ryan Clark puts a hit on the Browns' Chris Ogbonnaya in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

Ryan Clark is promising different looks from the Steelers' secondary, and it's not just because longtime partner Troy Polamalu is fully healthy to start the season.

It's also because of offseason help from an unlikely source: former Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, now the offensive coordinator at Clark's alma mater, LSU. Cameron ran the Ravens' offense for nearly five seasons.

Clark and Polamalu later talked about what Cameron said, and they decided to implement some altered looks and wrinkles because of it.

“As a guy I respect as an offensive coordinator, he (Cameron) was just very insightful,” Clark said. “If you play us one time, it's really hard to figure out what we're going to do. But like anybody else, we have rhythms, we have things I feel like I do well and he (Polamalu) feels like he does well. So what we tried to do was work on the opposite.”

Clark found Cameron's knowledge useful because he and Polamalu are beginning their eighth season together as a safety tandem. As a result, Clark might perform wrinkles that opponents are more accustomed to seeing Polamalu do, and vice versa.

“Switch it up in a game, just to keep people guessing,” Clark said. “No. 43 (Polamalu) is already a wild card in every game and people study him so much to learn some of his tendencies. If we can just throw them off a little bit and allow him to be in better position to make plays, it's going to be crazy what he can do.”

Polamalu was bothered at the start of last season by a calf injury that caused him to miss nine games, but he was healthy by the end of the year. That allowed him to start his offseason program earlier and be more aggressive with his conditioning.

“He looks amazing. I don't know if he's practiced this much in training camp in years,” Clark said. “His weight's down, he's moving well. We haven't had the opportunity (before now) to work together for a whole camp to try to like figure some things out. ... I tell people, it's like a front-row seat at the circus when you play with 43.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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.