Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu can be a difference maker when he is on the field, but in 2012 he missed 9 games and a half of another one due to calf injury. Head coach Mike Tomlin spoke Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings out in Arizona and sent a message to his safety that he needs to be ready this season.
“I want him to be ready,” Tomlin said, when asked if his safety needs to change his off-season workout program. “I think he wants to be ready like everyone. I am not going to make more out of that than what it is.”
Polamalu had it rough right off the bat in 2012.
He didn\’t look quite right in the season opener against the Denver Broncos and he wound up with a strained calf that sidelined until the Week 5 game against Philadelphia Eagles. He didn\’t even last a half in that game before hopping off the field after re-injuring his calf. It was obvious that the injury was serious in that game and it cost Polamalu the next seven games as a result.
The Steelers are certainly a better defense with Polamalu than without him and although veteran Will Allen stabilized the position, he didn\’t force turnovers or cause offenses to wonder if he would freelance from one play to the next. Polamalu makes quarterbacks think about him every play. Allen does not.
Polamalu more than likely could have made a game changing play or two had he been on the field for the games that the Steelers lost when both quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown were sidelined. They went 5-4 overall in the games that he missed.
The USC product still prefers to train out in California in the off-season and has often been criticized for not liking to use weights. It\’s his regimen, however, and all Tomlin cares about is if he, and the rest of the team for that matter, shows up in shape come training camp time.
A tiny message to the whole team, perhaps? It could be.