LATROBE, Pa. (93-7 THE FAN) — If you’ve ever heard Steelers defensive back Ryan Clark during his seasonal show on The Fan, you’re well aware of both his candor and his humor.
Clark believes the team will effectively distance itself from last year’s playoff miss…which was no laughing matter to he or his teammates.
“We hate being attached to 8-8. So we’re trying to fix that ourselves, through the leaders, through the guys who have been here, we’re trying to implement the old ‘Steeler Way,’” Clark said over the weekend via the Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic. “You know, getting along, chemistry, hanging out, working hard on the field, but having a good time doing it.”
Fellow safety Troy Polamalu agrees, telling Josh Sanchez of FanSided about the importance of team chemistry in 2013.
Meanwhile, even as team chemistry reportedly grows stronger, the Steelers’ depth chart has grown weaker. Running back Le’Veon Bell was a late scratch from his anticipated NFL debut Saturday with a knee injury, and the team remains paper-thin at tight end.
Pro-Bowler Heath Miller is still on the mend from ACL/MCL surgery, and there is speculation the amount of time he misses at the beginning of the 2013 regular season will be significant. Backup David Johnson is also recovering from a knee injury.
Making matters worse, free agent Matt Spaeth, whom the Steelers brought back when they knew Miller would be out indefinitely, now has a midfoot injury.
The arch-rival Ravens have just signed 37-year-old free agent and Super Bowl XLI champion Dallas Clark, formerly of the Colts and Buccaneers, after losing their own starting tight end, Dennis Pitta, long-term to a hip injury early in camp.
A number of sources had suggested Clark, who has well over 5,000 career yards, and had 435 and four TD’s with Tampa Bay in 2012, as a viable option for the Steelers.
In Saturday’s 18-13 loss to the New York Giants at Heinz Field, a 13-yard reception by David Paulson, a second-year Oregon product who will step in for Miller and Spaeth, was the only one by a Steeler tight end all night.
Pitt grad LaRod Stephens-Howling gained a team-best 40 yards on seven attempts in relief of Bell.
Fortunately, the Steelers blog “Steelers Depot,” via Teresa Varley of the team’s official website, reports Bell is good to go for practice this week.
The Steelers (0-1) break training camp Saturday before visiting the Washington Redskins (1-0) on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” next week.