PITTSBURGH – Rodney Harrison
this week told 93.7 The Fan radio station in Pittsburgh that Troy Polamalu
's "freelancing" plays right into the hands of Tom Brady
and the New England Patriots
"They love the fact that Troy freelances," said Harrison, the former Patriots safety who's now an outspoken analyst for NBC-TV.
"Ninety percent of the time he guesses right but a lot of times he guesses wrong and the Patriots are one team that actually has game plans to attack Troy Polamalu, force him to stay disciplined in his coverage, because he has a tendency of having great instincts and anticipating things but sometimes he doesn't anticipate well. So the Patriots are not afraid of Troy. They'll go at Troy and force him to stay disciplined in the coverage and I believe Troy Polamalu should stick with [tight ends Rob] Gronkowski and [Aaron] Hernandez and put the onus on Tom to find Deion Branch or one of those other receivers."
Polamalu, who fought the perception of himself as a freelancer last Super Bowl, bristles at the term.
"Yeah, for sure I've had difficulty against Brady. He's won quite a few games against us," Polamalu said in response. "As far as freelancing is concerned, I think that's a common misconception. I have a role in the defense like anybody has.
"To get back to your original question, what Tom Brady forces you to do is really be on your keys because he's able to see mistakes, and a lot more clearly than most other quarterbacks – I would say almost any other quarterback."
Harrison wasn't completely down on Polamalu. When radio host Gregg Giannotti asked Harrison to rank Polamalu with the all-time best NFL safeties, Harrison said, "I think he's one of the top five safeties to ever play the game.
"I think the one advantage Troy Polamalu has is playing in a great system. When you have a system in which you can freelance and become the rover and you can blitz and you can guess and you can jump things and you don't have a lot of responsibility, it makes it a lot easier to go out and make plays. But you can't take away his impact on the Steelers and how everyone has to understand and know where he's at on the field at all times."
Two of the more prominent players in the biggest game in the NFL this weekend were upperclassmen on the same 2007 Ole Miss team that went winless in the SEC for the first time in 25 years.
Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace and Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis played for the 3-8 Rebels, and according to the Patriots' media release they are cousins.
"He's my brother," said Wallace.
"No, that's my brother."
The guy playing for the Patriots is your brother?
The Patriots say you guys are cousins.
"That is my cousin," Wallace said with a wink and a smile. "That's my brother from another mother. That's my guy, man. We talk all the time. I talked to him yesterday."
The two were roommates when Wallace was a junior and Green-Ellis was a senior at Ole Miss. What does Wallace call him?
"Most times Ben. Sometimes ‘The Law Firm.'"
Down a few linebackers and possibly more with James Farrior a game-time decision, the Steelers activated inside linebacker Mortty Ivy from the practice squad and waived DE Corbin Bryant.
Ivy, of Gateway High and West Virginia University, tied Ryan Mundy for the team tackles lead this past preseason, but he didn't make the roster out of camp and ended up on the practice squad. A member of four different practice squads since 2009, Ivy has yet to play in the NFL.
Farrior is questionable today with a calf injury. The Steelers are already without OLBs James Harrison and Jason Worilds and have moved Lawrence Timmons outside.
If Farrior can't play, Larry Foote would slide over and call the defensive signals as the buck linebacker and Stevenson Sylvester would get his first start as the mack linebacker.
PATRIOTS MAKE MOVES
The Patriots activated running back Kevin Faulk and DL Brandon Deaderick from the PUP list and placed rookie CB Ras-I Dowling on injured reserve with a hip injury.
Faulk, 35, is the longest-tenured Patriot on the roster, entering his 13th season. He's the organization's all-time leader in all-purpose yards and return yards.
Dick LeBeau on whether Brady is most effective against zone defenses and blitzes:
"With his accuracy, I don't know that it matters to him that much. I've seen him make throws where you would tell your quarterback, ‘Don't throw that ball,' and yet the ball goes zipping in there for 35 yards. I don't see him having a problem with any throw versus any coverage. That's why his numbers are what they are."
Do Patriots take advantage of Polamalu's aggressiveness? Also, The Kid's big brother, Mortty Ivy, Kevin Faulk.
Do Pats pick on Polamalu? The Kid's big brother, Mortty Ivy, Kevin Faulk.