Bob Akapita wins his first Monthly Mug

first_imgPSC Golf from The Growling SwanMonday, Jan. 27, Pattavia – StablefordIt was time for another visit to the “new & improved” Pattavia Golf Course, formerly known as Century Chonburi and there were 25 golfers signed up and ready for the challenge.  It was a reasonably quick trip with no real delay on 331 and we arrived at the course after a 57 minute drive to find it not too busy and lockers available for most.  Our scheduled tee time was 10.00 am but we managed to get our first four-ball away 10 minutes earlier than that and in perfect weather conditions our round commenced.  The course was looking very good but when it came to the greens most of us had a few problems as they were super quick and a lot of the holes had been cut in fairly inaccessible places making three putts the rule rather than the exception.  It’s OK to have very quick greens but they need to put the holes in spots that are fair.  Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable round of golf, albeit a bit slow with a few hold ups ahead and we finished in four hours & thirty minutes.Colm Mullen, Bob Akapita, Shane Young, Mike Gosden & Alan Sanders (standing rear). It is a longer than normal drive to this course and the access road in is a bit bumpy but well worth the trouble for true golfers and will be even better in February when the new clubhouse is open, which will provide much better facilities for the faint hearted!That man in form Mike “Hunter” Gosden was at it again and had the best score of the day by winning Division A with 37 points and another form golfer, John Davis was second on 36 points, with Gerd Riedler finishing in third spot on 35 points.With 2 golfers on 35 points in B Division a count back was required and it was Patrick Poussier (21 point back nine) who finished in first place ahead of Alain “Inspector Clouseau” Taddei (18 point back nine) in second spot.  With 3 people on 33 points another count back was necessary which saw Duangjai “Kae” Tusagad (20 point back nine) finish third from Colm Mullen (16 point back nine) and Ian “Bat” Masterson (14 point back nine).Division A (0-17)1st Mike Gosden (12) 37pts2nd John Davis (17) 36pts3rd Gerd Riedler (8) 35ptsDivision B (18+)1st Patrick Poussier (24) 35pts2nd Alain Taddei (19) 35pts3rd Duangjai Tusagad (19) 33ptsNear Pins:  4th – Robbie Taylor, 7th – Colm Mullen, 13th – Peter Blackburn, 17th – Peter BlackburnLong Putts:  9th – Gerd Riedler, 18th – Gerd RiedlerThe Growling Swan NAGA Award, (awarded to the golfer who has the worst score on the day) was won by Ken Grimes who accepted the award like the good sport that he is.Thursday, Jan. 30, Green Valley – Stroke/Monthly MugIt was that time of the month once more when we get to play our round of stroke whilst competing for the prestigious Growling Swan Monthly Mug.  This was our 20th Mug day and there were 33 golfers signed up and ready to take on the classy Green Valley Golf Course.When we arrived at the course it was extremely busy and there was an obvious shortage of caddies at that time.  However, the Green Valley staff called in caddies from various points and as our first four-ball teed off 4 minutes ahead of our booked 10.19 am tee time the caddies miraculously appeared (JIT).The weather was terrific once again with very little wind and as we were behind several groups of “not so quick” golfers it was apparent that the going would be quite slow.As usual the golf course was in great shape although the greens were quite a bit slower than normal and some of them were quite furry but it certainly was a pleasure to be playing this venue again.  After a very enjoyable round of golf with very good company we completed our full round in the time of four hours & forty five minutes.Bob Akapita was making the most of his two week visit to Pattaya and his net 69 was the best score on the day, enabling him to win his very first Growling Swan Monthly Mug.  The A Division went to Mike “Hunter” Gosden who continued his good form with a net 70 and your writer, Peter “Blacky” Blackburn was hot on his heels and picked up second spot with a net 71 and Ebrahim finished third with a net 74.In B Division it was Irishman Colm Mullen who won with a net 70 and Roy “Plums” Dayton was second on net 76 with well known Soi Chaiyapoon bar Mine Host Lindsay Slender in third place with net 77.Shane “Jockey” Young (net 38 back nine) won Division C with net 75 on a count back from Andrew “Turtle” Allen (net 39 back nine) in second spot and Stephen Newton was third with net 80.Monthly Mug1st Bob Akapita (18) net 69Division A (0-17)1st Mike Gosden (12) net 702nd Peter Blackburn (13) net 713rd Ebrahim (16) net 74Division B (18-24)1st Colm Mullen (19) net 702nd Roy Dayton (22) net 763rd Lindsay Stephen (24) net 77Division C (25+)1st Shane Young (28) net 752nd Andrew Allen (33) net 753rd Stephen Newton (28) net 80Near Pins:  4th – Jayson Schembri, 9th – J J Harney, 12th – Peter Blackburn, 16th – Sal BrizziLong Putts:  9th – Alan Sanders, 18th – Peter GreyThe Growling Swan NAGA Award was won by Alan “Colonel” Sanders and he accepted the cap gracefully and wore it for a while back in the bar.  As usual presentations were back at the bar on this occasion and we all thanked Mine Host Peter Grey for sponsoring the Mug and also providing a delicious supper.Note:  Growling Swan Golf welcomes golfers of any persuasion – low & high handicappers alike, female golfers and beginners.  We generally play Mondays & Thursdays, meeting at The Growling Swan in Soi Chaiyapoon at 8.00 am with transport departing at 8.30 am.  For bookings or more information please contact Peter on 0806 351 386 or email to  petermalcolmblackburn also play both lawn and indoor bowls every Wednesday and Sunday.  For more information please contact Paul Rennison on 0843 454 005.last_img read more

It’s no joke – Andre returns 46-pointer

first_imgPSC Golf from the Tropical Golf GroupFriday, April 1, Pleasant Valley – StablefordThis Friday it was a lighter than usual crowd of 19 Tropical Golfers who made the rare trip to Pleasant Valley.  Low season is officially here.  We hadn’t played at PV in a while and had no recent feedback as to the conditions.  In fact it was so long since we were there one car automatically went to Mountain Shadow, but no names will be mentioned and they arrived in time.  It pays to leave early, right Dave?Andre Van Dyk (left) is congratulated by Dick Warberg.Pleasant Valley is in good condition.  Either this place gets more rain or has access to more water, but the fairways were all looking lush.  And the greens were, well, green!  The course is an interesting layout with several forced carries off the tee, and since we played the blue tees it added a bit of drama.  The carries are more mentally distracting than truly long but still a couple golfers struggled.   We also experimented using USGA “Course Handicaps”, so everyone picked up strokes based on the slope rating of the tee played from. Brian Gabe had a fine 41 points for second place.Despite a tricky layout there were many impressive scores.  Five shots clear of the next rival, Andre Van Dyk (h’cap 16 for the day) had a mind boggling 46 points.  When Andre reported his score we all waited for the call of “April Fool” but it never came.  Next came a surprised Brian Gabe (19) with a usually winning 41 points.  Then incredibly there were three players with 38 points with Graham “Buckers” Buckingham (27), Mashi Kaneta (18) and Landis Brooks (9) lining up.  Great playing everyone!Near Pins:  Rita Zoebeli, Andre Van Dyk (2), Mashi KanetaLong Putt:  Mashi Kanetalast_img read more

Treasure Hill wins again

first_imgThe Pattaya Golf Society (IPGC) at Rabbi’s Elephant BarThe Pattaya Golf Society started the new week with a visit to Treasure Hill to play a stableford competition in one flight, many hampered by the lack of caddies, a response to the club’s efforts to introduce the minimum wage rule.  At least some local clubs, Crystal Bay included, are now letting golfers play without caddies, although they were paid for at the beginning of the round. Though the workforce were not fully up to it the course itself was and once again it showed its teeth with a ninth consecutive competition there failing to break par for the group.Sharing third place were Dave Plaiter and Mike Earley with 26 points whilst Yvonne Earley took second with 28.  The winner was New Zealander Alan Flynn and his consistency and long hitting helped him to a total of 30 points.There were no birdie ‘2’s and the Booby Bevy went to Leigh Abbey only hours before he was set to return to Australia after his low scoring round.Times can be tough at Treasure Hill and this day was one of those which golfers may wish to forget.Riverside stroll for Flynn & HennessyOn Wednesday, 13th February the Pattaya Golf Society forsook the bustle of Pattaya for the tranquility of the Riverside course at Bangpakong to play a stableford competition from the white tees, with the substantial field divided into two flights at sixteen and under.  The course was in fine order as always and a wickedly strong breeze was in evidence all day just to add to the golfing equation.A very warm welcome on his return to the group was afforded to Paul McNally and he promptly replied with the best gross of the day on his debut at the Riverside, his 78 giving him 33 points.  In the top flight he was only outpointed by Dave Edwards on 35 and Alan Flynn, again performing well, on 38.In the second flight Ken Grimes returned 33 points for third place with John Chelo in second on 34.  The flight winner was Martin Hennessy who used his hurling grip to perfection in accounting 38 points at the head of the field.There were birdie ‘2’s for Paul Edgar, Dave Edwards, Larry Slattery and Alan Walker, who also received the Booby Bevy for his 8-19 split.  Rabbi’s free beer draw was won by a grateful Gary Bolger and the whole field was unanimous in their appreciation of the day at Bangpakong Riverside.Walker riding highOn Friday, 15th February the Pattaya Golf Society visited Pattaya Country Club to play a stableford event on the course which was the subject of a “very rudimentary back nine renovation almost a year ago.  This time it was the front nine which was in acceptable condition whilst the back nine greens were deplorably rough, uncut, variably sanded and had holes which were growing over, not having been relocated for at least two weeks.The restriction of carts to the paths whilst allowing maintenance vehicles and staff motorcycles access to the rough and fairways does not help.  And all for an increase in cost!On what inevitably became the final visit there this year Martin Hennessy produced another fine effort scoring 34 points for third place, one behind Dave Moriarty’s 35 points in second place, leaving the most senior of the players, Alan Walker riding high on 36 points.There were no birdie ‘2’s and the Booby Bevy went to low scoring new member Tony Browne after a tough introduction to competition golf on the Eastern Seaboard.The good news for PCC lovers and members is that the font nine will be closed from 16th March for eight months and you can all enjoy messing about on Pattaya’s newest crazy golf track, the back nine.last_img read more

Former AP football writer Goldberg dies at 73

first_imgThis is an undated file photo showing former Associated Press sports writer Dave Goldberg. Goldberg, one of the nation’s top football writers and an award-winning veteran of 41 years at The Associated Press, died Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He was 73. (AP Photo/Bernadette Tuazon, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Dave Goldberg always relished the chance to share his journalistic expertise and views with his peers. In turn, reporters walked away wiser, often chuckling from his humor.Goldberg, one of the nation’s top football writers and an award-winning veteran of 41 years at The Associated Press, died Sunday. He was 73.Goldberg, who retired from the AP in 2009 after a quarter-century as its lead NFL writer, died at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York, from complications following hip surgery Jan. 24, his family said.One of the lead voices on the Pro Football Hall of Fame committee, Goldberg’s insight and storytelling highlighted his writing, whether he was covering sports or politics.“The NFL community has lost a good friend and highly respected professional,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Dave’s integrity, passion, and sense of fairness enabled him to maintain excellent working relationships with team owners, coaches, players, and commissioners. He was a real pro who served NFL fans exceptionally well with his coverage of the league for many years.”Goldberg’s worldly view brought a freshness and edginess to his reporting. A self-taught authority on the Civil War, his sense of history clearly informed his political reporting.“Dave loved covering the NFL as much, if not a wee bit more, than the other two loves of his life: the Grateful Dead and schmoozing,” said former AP Sports Editor Terry Taylor. “His colleagues even good-naturedly dubbed him ‘Dr. Schmooze.’ Dave happily weighed in on any subject that came up in the office: sports, politics, music, dogs, cats, horses, the Mets and certainly the New York Giants.“But, most importantly, his sharp insights and good instincts, his wit and his big heart, greatly endeared him to all of us. Dave was truly a kind and gentle man.”Highly esteemed by NFL Commissioners Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue and Goodell, team owners and executives, coaches and players, Goldberg covered some of the biggest sports stories, including Rozelle’s surprise resignation in 1989, and the long process resulting in Tagliabue’s ascension.“Dave was a great writer and a great person, someone who was always involved with the NFL,” Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney said. “He also did an outstanding job with the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he knew the players from the past and knew the history of the league.”Added Hall of Fame Vice President Joe Horrigan: “He epitomized everything you would hope a selector would represent: integrity, commitment, courage and honesty.”Goodell, Rooney and other key NFL figures trusted Goldberg because they knew his priority was reporting the news, not sensationalizing it.“Dave and I did not always see eye to eye on league matters. But, considering our jobs, neither of us really was surprised by that,” said Joe Browne, a longtime business contemporary of Goldberg’s and senior adviser to Goodell. “However, he never let his personal opinions affect his NFL coverage.”His background as a political reporter helped define his coverage of two NFL players’ strikes and the USFL-NFL trial.“He developed close relationships and appeared as comfortable discussing collective bargaining issues with union leader Gene Upshaw as he did matching wits on a blackboard with coach Bill Walsh or arguing the merits of a draft pick with Giants general manager George Young,” Browne said.Players’ union spokesman George Atallah lauded Goldberg as a journalist who “cared about the facts and held all of us in the business accountable to the highest standards.”Like the star athletes he wrote about, Goldberg excelled in the tightest situations. His stories from Super Bowl squeakers or routs were filled with nuance and description that made readers feel as if they were at the 50-yard line.In previewing the 1988 Super Bowl, he wrote: “For the second straight year, the Super Bowl comes down to John Elway against the world, the world this year being the Washington Redskins rather than the New York Giants. Is there anyone else on the Broncos besides their quarterback?”Goldberg also served as an assistant bureau chief, correspondent, editor and supervisor for the AP from 1968-2009.A former football and baseball player and graduate of Williams College, Goldberg did graduate study at Stanford. He joined the AP in ’68, rising from New Jersey state house correspondent to news editor, to assistant bureau chief in Chicago to supervisor on the general news desk in New York. He soon was elevated to a features writer, editor and supervisor, frequently handling political stories.Goldberg joined the sports desk in 1982, and covered a variety of other sports — from baseball at Shea Stadium to the Pan American Games in Venezuela.“Dave was more than a man of opinions,” said Darrell Christian, who preceded Taylor as AP sports editor. “Sure, he had many, and he was never shy about expressing them, but the important thing was that people listened, even if they didn’t agree. He engendered that rare type of respect, be it from the supervisors who basked in his success or the people he covered in the moneyed offices and stadiums of the NFL.”Goldberg spent countless hours with coaches over the years and had little patience for coach-speak or breathless talk of the critical importance of an upcoming game. Goldberg would be quick to remind everyone what one of his favorite NFL figures, Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy, once told him: “A must win? World War II was a must win.”Among the sports writers Goldberg took under his wing was Judy Battista of The New York Times.“He didn’t know me and he was obviously much older and much more well-connected and experienced,” said Battista, now with NFL Network. “And he offered me advice, told me who to call, shared a lot of insight. He certainly didn’t have to do that and I never forgot it.”Goldberg had pet peeves about the business. He wondered if reporting was losing its standards, with less fact-checking and excessive use of anonymous sources. And when Goldberg heard NFL announcers utter such phrases as “future Hall of Famer” or “these teams don’t like each other,” well, he was ready to hold court.Goldberg is survived by brother Lenny, sister Myra, and nieces Devlin, Anna and Morgan. He was predeceased by longtime partner Kay Bartlett, a former AP writer.A memorial will held at a future date.___AP Sports Writer Fred Lief contributed to this report.last_img read more

Senators push for end to military paying NFL to honor troops

first_imgSen. John McCain, left, R-Ariz., hugs Sherri Jordan as she holds photograph of her husband, Manuel Acosta, during a forum with veterans in Phoenix on Friday, May 9, 2014. Several families of dead veterans shared the stage with McCain at the meeting. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace)WASHINGTON (AP) _ The New England Patriots got $675,000 from the Army National Guard for honoring American troops, including a “True Patriot” program during a halftime show at home games.“Hardly a deprived franchise,” scoffed Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Thursday as he and two other lawmakers won Senate approval for a prohibition on lucrative Pentagon contracts with NFL teams for the various ceremonies honoring the military.The Super Bowl champion Patriots weren’t the only NFL team to receive taxpayer dollars the past three years for color-guard performances, flag rollouts and other events recognizing members of the military. The Atlanta Falcons got $579,500; the Denver Broncos received $460,000.In fact, the NFL received $7 million over three years from contracts with the Guard, according to McCain.The senator said he was “shocked and disappointed to learn that several NFL teams weren’t sponsoring these activities out of the goodness of their own hearts but were doing so to make an extra buck.”McCain, along with Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., argued wealthy teams shouldn’t be receiving taxpayer dollars when the military faces cuts in spending.By voice vote, the Senate added the measure, barring the “Department of Defense from entering into contracts to facilitate payments for honoring members of the Armed Forces at sporting events,” to a sweeping defense policy bill.The Senate is expected to complete work on the policy bill next week.last_img read more

Report: NFL players ask league to support campaign

first_imgSeattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, center, is joined by teammates Thomas Rawls, left, and Justin Britt, right, as he sits during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)A group of current and former NFL players has asked Commissioner Roger Goodell for the league’s support for their campaign for racial equality and criminal justice reform.Yahoo Sports is reporting the players sent a 10-page memo to Goodell and NFL executive Troy Vincent in August asking for money, political involvement and other commitments from the league. It also asked the NFL to recognize the month of November as activism awareness month.The website reports Wednesday night that Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and receiver Torrey Smith, and former NFL receiver Anquan Boldin co-authored the letter.The NFL declined comment when asked about the memo by Yahoo Sports. The players behind the letter didn’t return requests for comment or declined to speak about it, according to the website.last_img read more

The Hunters have become the Hunted—‘dirty birds’ await in B-more Ravens (Sept. 27, 2017)

first_imgAUBREY BRUCECOURIER STEELERS CENTRALHey “yinzers,” before Sunday’s “bear bashing” the Pittsburgh Steelers were on a roll. They were 2-0 and they were about to play the Chicago Bears before traveling this weekend to the land of “Poe” to face the Baltimore Ravens.However, let me pose this question to all of “yinz.” Did the Bears get the rollover memo? Apparently not. The Steelers had all of the proper hunting gear, but the Bears had the camouflage of a surprise running attack. The Bears did not have to get fancy or schmancy. The Bears just ran “buck wild” en route to defeating the Steelers, 23-17, in overtime, Sept. 24. During the final game-winning drive by Chicago, the Pittsburgh defense looked hapless and hopeless.“The Bears ran, east, west, north and south and along the way they stopped to bust the Steelers in the mouth.” Many of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ so-called “weapons” remained locked in the gun case for what, to be used on another day?Isn’t there far more to the offense of the Black and Gold than Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger? What good are weapons when a few are favored, though they’re all vital to success?No one can accuse the Steelers of choking. Pittsburgh was choked by the asphyxiating running game of the relentless Bears. The Bears’ passing game was anemic but their running game was deadly. I say deadly because there were times that the running backs of “Chi-town” looked as they were running over corpses dressed in Steelers uniforms. There were other instances that Pittsburgh defenders were flying around in the Bears backfield like ghosts “grasping at straws.”Pittsburgh’s special teams were like “Special Ed.” An attempted field goal by Steelers placekicker Chris Boswell was blocked at the end of the first half.The hustle of recently-acquired Steelers TE Vance McDonald was evident as he chased down a swaggering, cocky and showboating Bears special teamer Marcus Cooper for almost the entire length of the field, stripping him at the one yard line and sending the ball fluttering into the Steelers’ end zone, where Steelers punter Jordan Berry had the wherewithal to swipe the ball out the end zone, forcing the Bears attempt to score from the one-half yard line (they failed because of a false start penalty).Chicago ended the half with a field goal instead of a touchdown which would be the difference that would ultimately send the game into extra innings, oops, wrong sport, I meant overtime.The problems are only now beginning for the Black and Gold. The Steelers are now faced with going into Baltimore this Sunday, Oct. 1, to face an angry and rabid B-more Ravens squad who were just dismantled by the Jacksonville Jaguars, 44-7, “across the pond,” and the beaks of the “dirty birds” are dripping with blood anticipating their matchup versus the Steelers, with or without “weapons.” The Steelers should have moseyed into M&T Bank Stadium ready to place the albatross of second place in the volcanic AFC North division around the necks of the Ravens; now Pittsburgh has to go in battling for first place in the division.Speaking of the AFC North, the Bengals gave the Packers all they could handle before losing, 27-24. Bye, bye, Marvin Lewis. The Browns are also much improved despite losing, 31-28, to the Colts at Indy. CBS analyst Tony Romo pointed out that Bengals QB Andy Dalton was getting rid of the ball in less than 3 seconds. Hmmm…is there a quarterback for the Steelers that more often than not holds the football as if he remains the top client for the Fred Biletnikoff stick-um company?The Steelers had better be ready, the trap has been set for the remainder of the season. Will the Pittsburgh Steelers be the hunters, or the hunted? By the way, I went back on my promise. Even though I picked Pittsburgh to win, I said that I wasn’t going to say, “I told you so.”Like us at @NewPghCourier on Twitter read more

Steelers LB Ryan Shazier leads defensive turnaround in 26-9 win over Baltimore, Oct. 1

first_img.@RyanShazier out here running routes like a WR.PIT 19 | BAL 9 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ryan Shazier wants to redefine the linebacker position. At least “a little bit.”Or, judging by the display the budding Pittsburgh Steelers star put on in a 26-9 victory over Baltimore on Sunday, maybe a lot.In the span of four quarters Shazier put all of his remarkable tools on display, the ones his teammates see on a daily basis, the ones that have been far too infrequent for Shazier’s liking during his first three seasons in the NFL as the collateral damage from his frenetic play left him on the sideline with alarming regularity.There was Shazier’s sprint into the backfield in the second quarter that forced Ravens running back Austin Collins to cut back into the arms of Cam Heyward, who forced a fumble in Baltimore territory that set up a Steelers touchdown.There was the well-timed spin on Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson’s crossing route that ended with Joe Flacco hitting Shazier in the gut for Shazier’s fifth career interception.  Follow Pittsburgh Steelers ✔@steelers In this Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) celebrates after recovering a fumble by Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard during the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File) There was the freakish leap to tip a Flacco pass into the awaiting arms of teammate Mike Hilton as Pittsburgh (3-1) posted its most lopsided road victory over its AFC North rival since the Ravens ditched Cleveland more than 20 years ago. “When I feel healthy and I feel good, I feel like I can make plays like that every week,” Shazier said. “Just to be able to help Mike get his first pick and for the defense to have three turnovers and us to close the game out, that’s all that matters to me.”The most important words there being “when I feel healthy and I feel good.”A notion that’s been fleeting at times for Shazier during his three-plus seasons. He has yet to play a full 16-game schedule, the byproduct of a 6-foot-1, 237-pound frame that Shazier admits isn’t necessarily built to play a position designed to collide with considerably larger players on nearly every snap.“I’m not the biggest guy,” Shazier said.Yet he may be one of the fastest. The 4.3-second 40-yard dash time he dropped at his pro day at Ohio State caught everyone’s attention. So did his warp-speed aggression.“A lot of guys want to run fast but not run into people,” Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats said. “But he does it all the time, which is what I think makes him so special.”The trick for Shazier is trying to marry his understated confidence, his considerable physical gifts and burgeoning football IQ into a finished product.Three-plus years in, the growing pains are still there. Several times in a Week 3 loss to Chicago, Shazier found himself out of position because he overran his assignment, the most glaring on Jordan Howard’s game-winning 19-yard touchdown run that saw Shazier diving futilely at Howard’s feet as Shazier scrambled to get back to the spot he was supposed to be all along.The image stuck with Shazier, one he revisited several times last week during the early morning hours at the team’s practice facility, where Shazier arrives regularly before dawn so he can cram in three hours of film before meetings.“I was mad because we lost,” he said.A setback Shazier took personally. While he tries to make it a point to not get caught up in the emotional roller coaster of a given game or a given season, it felt as if there was something significant at stake in Baltimore.Shazier is the one who wears the “dot” in his helmet, meaning it’s his job to relay the play calls from defensive coordinator Keith Butler. When Butler took Shazier — and the rest of the defense — to task after getting steamrolled by the Bears, Shazier perhaps felt it more than most.The result was an emphatic statement against a longtime nemesis that suddenly doesn’t look like much of one at the moment.“We needed that game against Chicago at the end of the day,” Shazier said. “It really made us figure out the things we need to work on more and more.”The lessons keep coming for Shazier, whose quickness is equally effective whether he’s slashing into the backfield or dropping into coverage.While he bristles at the notion he could play safety, he admits he takes a certain pride in his pass coverage. It shows. He has five picks in his past nine games, including one each in playoff wins over Miami and Kansas City last season.“I don’t really want people throwing the ball in my area,” he said. “I want them to know, if you do, bad consequences.”The proof came to life in the fourth quarter Sunday. Twice the Ravens had the ball trailing by 10. Twice Shazier’s hands made the difference. His instinctual break on the pass to Watson cut short one Baltimore drive.His elastic-armed tip — where he used most of his 42-inch vertical to deflect the pass to Hilton — ended another. Hilton is keeping the ball, though he knows he may owe Shazier.“He’s probably the most athletic linebacker in the league,” Hilton said. “The way he can run around, fly, run, jump. He can do it all.”___For more NFL coverage: and read more

Steelers LB Vince Williams fitting right in in “Blitzburgh”

first_imgCourier Steelers Photo by Thomas Sabol (Aug. 20, 2017) PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The coaches at Florida State didn’t ask Vince Williams to get after the quarterback during his career with Seminoles, so he didn’t.That doesn’t mean the Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker didn’t want to. It just wasn’t part of the job.It is now. Then again, Williams figures it kind of comes with the territory when you wear black-and-gold.“If you play linebacker for the Steelers, you’re a pass rusher,” said Williams, who leads Pittsburgh (4-2) with four sacks heading into Sunday’s visit from Cincinnati (2-3). “If you play safety for the Steelers, you’re a pass rusher. If you play corner for the Steelers, you’re a pass rusher. That’s how it works.”Williams took down Kansas City’s Alex Smith on consecutive snaps late in the second quarter of a pivotal road victory over the previously unbeaten Chiefs. Williams missed the latter stages with a hip injury and skipped practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but did enough on Friday to work up a sweat in hopes he can face the Bengals.“I’m full go,” Williams said. “I’m ready to go.”Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin felt good enough about what he saw from Williams on Friday that Williams isn’t even listed on the injury report, meaning he’ll get another shot to build up an impressive first season as a full-time starter. The Steelers saw enough in the former sixth-round pick that they awarded him a three-year contract, $5.5 million contract in the summer of 2016, then let veteran and mentor Lawrence Timmons walk in free agency last spring.It’s proven to be money well spent.Williams has tripled his career sack total in six games and his 31 tackles rank second behind Ryan Shazier. While not as fast as Shazier or as physically imposing as James Harrison, Williams makes up for it with intelligence, timing and more than a bit of tenacity.Asked to explain his success, Williams just smiled and said “this is Blitzburgh.”“Anytime I can get an opportunity to get after the quarterback, that’s what I can do,” he added.Something the Steelers have done as effectively as anyone early in the season. Pittsburgh is tied for second in the league with 20 sacks, but that’s only been half the battle. The run defense has been spotty at best. The Steelers have allowed over 200 yards on the ground in stunning losses to Chicago and Jacksonville. Now here come the Bengals, who have won two straight thanks in part to giving rookie running back Joe Mixon a larger role. Mixon is averaging 19 touches since Bill Lazor took over as Cincinnati offensive coordinator two weeks into the season.“He’s a bigger guy, he’s really shifty, has great feet, hands out of the backfield, power, contact all that,” Williams said.Still, Williams is confident the issues that have intermittently plagued Pittsburgh during an occasionally uneven opening six weeks are over.“I think we’re playing pretty decent,” Williams said. “I think we’re finally starting to come together. We got a lot of continuity. We’ve just got to keep gelling, take care and shore up that run defense. I think we’ll be pretty good.”NOTES: DE Stephon Tuitt (back) will sit Sunday. Tuitt missed two games earlier this season with a left biceps injury. … RT Marcus Gilbert (hamstring) did not practice and is doubtful. Chris Hubbard will start at right tackle if Gilbert isn’t ready in time. … CB Artie Burns was named the team’s Ed Block Courage Award nominee. The award is given annually to players who “exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage” according to the award’s website.___For more NFL coverage: and read more

4-time Super Bowl champ returns to help his grade school

first_imgWALL OF FAME—Historymaker J.T. Thomas stands near his pictorial wall of musical historymakers in his Crazy Mocha, located in the Hill District.MACON, Ga. (AP) _ Four-time Super Bowl champion J.T. Thomas has returned to Atlanta to help his elementary school.The former Pittsburgh Steelers running back calls the nuns at St. Peter Claver Catholic School “second parents and guardian angels.”The Telegraph reported that he would speak Monday at the school’s alumni benefit luncheon. In a news release for the luncheon, he says the nuns’ daily tutoring helped him overcome a serious speech impediment.Monday evening, Thomas spoke to Macon’s Touchdown Club.Thomas was a and member of the Steelers’ “steel curtain” defense that won four Super Bowls in the 1970s and `80s. He played football at Lanier High School and became the first Black football player at Florida State University.___Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.macontelegraph.comlast_img