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Y'all Don't Know

December 17, 2009 - John Mehno

Steelers safety Ryan Clark had a mini-meltdown yesterday, apparently spurred by a nasty fan letter. Clark addressed that, then turned his attention to the media, claiming writers and broadcasters are pinning the blame on the wrong players in Steelers losses.

"Y'all don't know," is what Clark said about efforts to assign the blame.

Mostly he's correct. A defensive back trailing a receiver who's just caught a pass may be trying to cover for a player who missed his assignment. So while the tendency is to blame the defensive player who's closest, that may not be correct. You would have to know who had what responsibility, and the Steelers don't distribute playbooks to the media or invite reporters to sit in on meetings and tape study.

That doesn't mean reporters are clueless. Reporters ask questions. Sometimes coaches answer them honestly. There are ways to find out, and there are some plays where the failure is obvious. But not always.

TV guys in particular seem to like to draw instant conclusions. There was a gasbag a few seasons ago who proclaimed that one of the Steelers' offensive linemen had a terrible game. A guy close to the team checked with the assistant coach in charge of the line. The coach told him he didn't think the accused player played badly, but he couldn't be sure until he watched and graded the tape. If the coach didn't know for sure, how could the TV guy know?

Y'all don't know. Sometimes it's true.

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