Insider Only Polamalu was a once-in-a-decade type player, Jagr helps Pens, Management Incompetence & more in Today’s TIOPS Daily Five


*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*

nfl_g_polamalu_b1_28811. Troy Polamalu retiring was always the expected ending since the season ended, though, it just took a little time for it to become official.
There will be no retirement press conference for the 33 year old Polamalu, and Jim Wexell of the Herald Standard who Troy broke the news to, believes the next time you hear Troy speak regarding a football matter it will be his Hall of Fame induction. That’s if he even shows to that.
If that’s the case, that is so Polamalu. It was never about him.
He was a unique player on the field but also a unique player off the field. Polamalu was so different from the football culture and mentality that so many players are accustomed of portraying.
The NFL will probably never see another individual like Polamalu again.

Polamalu will go down as one of the greatest and beloved Steelers off all-time. That’s saying a ton about him on the field and off the field for a franchise with such a rich history.

polamalu2. Polamalu was a once-in-a-decade type of player at the safety position, a type of player that only comes around every eight to ten years. He was that good.
During Polamalu’s prime, Ed Reed was only other safety during the 2000’s that was in Polamalu’s category. Those two were head and shoulders above the rest and it wasn’t even close.
In 158 career games, Polamalu finishes his career with 576 solo tackles, 12 sacks, 32 interceptions and 3 touchdowns. Some like Mike Florio appear to be trying to downplay how great Polamalu was because the statistics don’t wow you, which they don’t, especially when stacking up against Reed who had 64 career interceptions, but Polamalu was one of the top-5 defensive players during his era, regardless of what the stats say.
From 2004-2010, he was one of the NFL’s most dominant, clutch defensive players who stepped up in big situations. Some of the great Polamalu memories are his game clinching interception in the 2008 AFC Championship game and from 2008-2010, Polamalu had 17 interceptions in just 35 regular season games with 2010 being his last truly elite season with 7 interceptions and being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year and leading the Steelers to a third Super Bowl appearance in six years. He was the games best defensive player in 08 and 10. He also would have been in 2009, if not for injury.
The season that “what might have been” was 2009 for Polamalu. Polamalu coming off a great 2008 season and still just 28 years old, played one of the best two quarters of football I’ve ever seen from a defensive player in the Steelers week 1 game against Tennessee. He had six tackles, two pass defensed and an amazing one handed interception late in the first quarter on a deep throw by Kerry Collins.
Polamalu, though, had his leg rolled up on by a Titans lineman in the second quarter and he was never the same that season in playing just five games. It was a lost season for Polamalu in one of his prime years and even though he had a great 2010 season, the explosiveness Polamalu had prior to the injury in 2009 was never seen again from him the rest of the way. That season (2009) without a healthy Polamalu, you also saw what became of the Steelers defense and what happened in 2010 when he was fully healthy again.

Jaromir Jagr3. Jaromir Jagr had a big role in the Panthers 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins with two primary assists in the win. The Bruins loss was a big help to the Penguins playoff chances and Jagr had a funny line afterwards.

Jagr now has 16 points in 19 games with the Panthers. Despite Evgeni Malkin wanting Jagr and ownership wanting Jagr, Pittsburgh never pursued the future Hall of Famer in a serious matter because they wanted a different type of player, specifically a Daniel Winnik type of player. Not to mention the money wasn’t there.  However, It’s funny how things have played out, Winnik a bottom-6 type role player, is now forced to play out of position in a top-6 role due to struggles of players like Chris Kunitz, Blake Comeau, and David Perron. — #Grit

rutherford4. The Penguins fighting for a playoff spot and already shorthanded to begin with, are forced again tonight to play with five defensemen due to cap reasons. It is total management incompetence. I’ve gone over the little things in recent weeks that led to this in starting the season so close to the cap and incompetence continued all season from having players up like Scott Harrington who were counting everyday against the cap just to get the experience of practicing with the club, to using up every dime of the Long Term Injured Reserve savings for Pascal Dupuis and Olli Maatta, and the list goes on and on, to over-extending at the trade deadline.
There is a lot of throwing people under the bus going on behind the scenes in the Penguins organization but Jim Rutherford holds the General Manager title and the blame goes on him. He’s in charge, despite the presence of Jason Botterill being a so called cap expert. This is not Botterill’s fault, though, Rutherford was well aware of how tight things were and the dangerous waters the team was in.
The Penguins might have a head coach who is over-matched and was never going to be the right guy for the job, but the position that Rutherford has put this staff in while fighting for a playoff spot is unacceptable and there’s a good chance Rutherford pays for this.
Derrick Pouliot doesn’t have to clear waivers to be sent down but the Penguins are backed into a corner tonight with the Pouliot injury because you can’t send an injured player to the minors to begin with and if the Penguins tried to, the league would look at them as circumventing the cap. Scott Harrington, Brian Dumoulin count too much against the cap to qualify for an emergency recall and the same for Nick D’Agostino and others. The only defenseman who would be is Reid McNeil but he’s injured and not an NHL caliber defenseman to begin with.

penguins_logo_svgzv=75. The Penguins weekend wins over the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks nearly two weeks ago where it took the Penguins over 47 minutes to score against a tanking Coyotes team and gutted out a victory against the Sharks with five defenseman, hasn’t turned into the “turning point” of the season type of win  that Mike Johnston and players believed it would, but boy do those wins now look like huge ones to the Penguins when it comes to their playoff chances.
The Daily Five Returns Monday

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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