Originally Posted by K Train
I know, people get so sensitive about stuff like that. It like caused an uproar on the steelers board i use
He plays a disciplined brand of football, which is needed to compensate for polamalus chaos. But he has horrible closing speed, is afraid of turnovers, and only really excels at laying a boom, which legal or not draws a flag 50% of the time. He is a solid, middle of the pack safety. Nothing more
I considered Clark's season last year as good as any safety in the NFL (Earl Thomas was great in the playoffs so I might consider him to have the best year when all is said and done). With Polamalu' injury shortened season, Clark stepped up and became a complete player, which he's always been, but it was magnified more last year than ever before. He was the best player in the secondary. The secondary that gave up the fewest passing yards in the league (Keenan Lewis' Pro Bowl caliber season also helped). And it's not like the front 7 was so dominating and putting all kinds of pressure on the QB.
You seem to focus on all the negatives. I don't know why. You seemed to have had no problem with Weddle making my list. Both players were asked to do almost identical things last year. They could both play the deep half or deep third on one play, then come up in the box as the 8th run defender the very next. If you look at their impact stats (INTs and FFs), then you have two players that are nearly identical in terms of turnovers (Weddle with one more INT). Their tackles are also very close as both had around 100 tackles.
Saying he has horrible closing speed? Only excels at laying the boom? And is afraid of turnovers? WTF. You kinda need a running start to lay a boom, so I don't how a guy with horrid closing speed could ever be in such a position to lay a boom.
This reminds me of Chris Hope. Hope was a really good player in the Steelers defense. The second they lost him, they were giving up big passing plays left and right. Clark eventually filled the void after a couple years in the system, and has since been a better player then Hope ever was. Clark completely takes away anything deep. The Steelers never give up anything deep (unless its in Denver, then you get to really see his impact). It isn't because of Polamalu, that's not his game or his strength, or the great CBs they have.
I'm not going to say Clark is elite against the pass because he doesn't force enough turnovers (which you alluded to by talking about how afraid he was), but he's very good because of his positioning and instincts. I'm not going to say he's elite against the run because there's a guy who plays SS right next to him that is elite against the run (and the difference is astronomical), but he's very good at playing down in the box. Not to mention, he stepped up as the leader in that defense last year and showed that he could play next to complete garbage and play like a great safety that does a little bit of everything.
There is a current discussion that is taking place. Some are saying that they'd rather have a guy who's elite at something over a guy who does a bunch of things well, but nothing great. Some want the player that does everything well. A lot has to do with your surroundings. Some players are asked to do more than others because they have terrible players around them. Clark was asked to do more last year because of injuries. Some players have great CBs and can allow their ball hawking to shine through, or their ability to play in the box. Either way, I don't think you can fault a player who does what's asked of him really well. Just like you can't be overly critical of a player who tries to overcompensate for terrible play around him (Malcolm Jenkins). Ryan Clark might be in the ideal situation. He might be completely average anywhere else, but I can't judge him on that. I can only judge him on him being in the perfect scenario.