NFL from the Sidelines

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O-R Sports reporter Dale Lolley gets you the insider scoop on the NFL.

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard on the Steelers radio network pre-game show prior to every game. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.

Football can be a cruel game

August 2, 2017

Former Steelers head coach Chuck Noll is often credited for the saying, “You can make the club in the tub.”

Noll probably wasn’t the first coach to come up with that pithy statement. But it is true - to a point.

You can make the club in the tub if you’re a veteran starter, key backup or highly drafted rookie.

If you’re an undrafted rookie, good luck.

Waynesburg’s Scott Orndoff found that out Wednesday, when he was released by the Steelers just a couple of days after pulling a hamstring.

The Steelers needed his roster spot. They only brought five tight ends to camp and when he went down, it put too much on the plate of the other guys.

So out the door went Orndoff.

Such is the hard and cruel life in the NFL.

For every James Harrison or Wilie Parker that makes it, there are hundreds like Orndoff who don’t thanks to injuries.

Others are released because a coach doesn’t like them.

I remember talking to a coach in 2002 about James Harrison. Harrison obviously had something. He was unblockable in one-on-one drills.

His problem was that he saw any coaching or critque of his play as a personal attack.

It wasn’t until Joey Porter and Jason Gildon convinced him that he couldn’t get ticked off at the coaches when they yelled at him, that he started to get it. And he still got cut more times than Sylvester Stalone in a Rocky movie.

We had Kendall Simmons on the Steelers Nation Radio morning show Wednesday and I was reminded of the 2004 training camp when he came back after dealing with a diabetes diagnosis the previous year.

He looked great. He looked like the Steelers’ best offensive lineman.

Then he tore his Achilles’ tendon in a training camp practice. The team moved away from him as he was down on the field and continued to practice while doctors attended to him.

It can be a cruel game.

@ Young Josh Dobbs, who had not looked great early on, looked much more comfortable today with Landry Jones out with a abdominal issue.

Dobbs is no danger to replace Jones any time soon, but it was a nice step forward for the young man.

@ JuJu Smith-Shuster returned to practice today and also had a nice day. He was especially forceful in the one-on-one blocking drills the receivers did against the defensive backs.

Hines Ward was here today and Smith-Shuster mentioned that Ward redefined the game as a blocking receiver.

I think Smith-Shuster wanted to show his respect for Ward.

He also made a couple of nice catches, particularly one where he laid out on a throw from Dobbs to catch an out.

@ Cam Heyward was with his wife celebrating the birth of their child today and that gave Tyson Alualu another shot to work with the first team. The more I see of him, the more impressed I become.

He’s not Hewyward or Tuitt, but he’ll fit in just fine here.

Because of that, and the way the team feels about Johnny Maxey and L.T. Walton, I think Daniel McCullers’ days are numbered unless somebody gets hurt.

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