Flacco’s praise underscores Polamalu’s greatness

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Flacco’s praise underscores Polamalu’s greatness

Post by diehardsteersfan on Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:03 pm

Flacco’s praise underscores Polamalu’s greatness
Posted by Mike Florio on April 13, 2015, 7:10 AM EDT
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The expected retirement of Steelers safety [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] has sparked an unexpected debate regarding his chances of making it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, quickly or ever.  Not many safeties have made it, especially in recent years.  And with guys like John Lynch, Brian Dawkins, and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in the pipeline, Polamalu may be stuck deep in the pecking order.
The best argument in Polamalu’s favor is that he really wasn’t a safety.  He was a roving Tasmanian Devil who did whatever he had to do to create havoc for opposing offenses, tilting the field away from him because opposing offenses knew that challenging him was a recipe for disaster in the form of [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].
Ravens quarterback [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], a teammate of Reed’s, makes the best case for Polamalu getting consideration not as a safety but as a football player.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.],” Flacco told Peter King of TheMMQB.com.  “All bad.”
Flacco had one guiding principle for dealing with Polamalu:  “Know where he is at all time — and not just in the passing game.  Watch where he is before running plays, because he was a force against the run.  Every time we played them, that’s the first thing we talked about, and we ended up talking about it all week.”
Knowing where Polamalu was allowed offenses to avoid him.
“In the run game, you’re always going to run away from Troy,” Flacco told King.  “But when we were throwing, I’d just always try to throw away from him.  You can’t do it all the time, and you can’t let it ruin your game, but there were so many things he did that other safeties just couldn’t do.  There were times in games — he was the only guy I faced who did this — where he’d turn his back to the play and just sprint to a spot on the field where his football instincts told him the ball was going.  He’d turn around a couple seconds later when he got close to the spot.  Of the guys I played against, Troy was unique.  I was lucky, because I got to face Ed every day in practice, and he was very good at baiting you too.  But Troy was at the line more.”
In other words, it doesn’t matter what label is applied to Polamalu, or how many other players with that label already have made it to Canton.  He played defensive football at a level that justifies his inclusion among the best who ever played the game.  How or when the 46 voters (or however many there will be as of 2020) decide to make it official doesn’t really change that.

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