5 Smoldering Questions, Pre-Season Halftime Edition

Charles LeClaire/USA Today

by Hombre de Acero

We’ve reached the mid-way point of the Steelers 2016 preseason campaign ,and while this year’s training camp and exhibition contests might have been short on drama, there is still plenty going on in Pittsburgh. Two more games await before we can prepare to discuss one that matters, but before the Steelers can test their mettle against the Saints this corner of Steelers Nation must struggle with these 5 Smoldering Questions.

1. With a nod to Homer, Ivan and all of our other Steelers Nation expats colonizing Greater Washington DC, our first question starts with an homage to the late, great WMAL/WTEM sports radio personality Ken Beatrice, who routinely apologized to listeners for “not going to law school to bring you the sports news.”

The Steelers 2016 preseason seems to be defined as much by what is happening off of the field as opposed to on the field. So, with that 75 word intro, we begin with a double header:

a. What do you think of Le’Veon Bell’s inadvertent admission that he continued to use marijuana even after he’d been busted for driving under the influence?

b. Was James Harrison right to agree to be interviewed by Roger Goodell’s cronies on the basis of a now recanted report for Al Jazeera?

2. Senquez Golson is declaring that he will play in 2016. Given that the number of times Golson has practiced can be counted on one hand, do you think it would be wise for the Steelers to try to play him, even if he beats the odds and his health will allow him?

3. Both Ladarius Green and Mike Tomlin have said that it is Green’s ankle and not his headaches that are keeping him on the PUP. Yet, Ed Bouchette has said that Green is in the NFL’s concussion protocols. Leaving aside, for this installment of the Smolderings at least, the mess this is creating at tight end, who do you believe?

4. The Steelers surprised many by inking Vince Williams to a 3 year deal? The terms of that deal will detail the Steelers’ intentions, but those have yet to leak out. So, with that said, Do you think this spells the beginning of the end for Lawrence Timmons in Pittsburgh, and if so has the Steelers brain trust made the right call?

5. Bruce Gradkowski has a groin issue that will keep him out for a few weeks. Dustin Vaughan broke his thumb. Many “faithful” in Steelers Nation have taken to the barricades over Landry Jones preseason performances thus far. The Steelers have signed Bryn Renner, who has been on five NFL rosters without throwing a pass.

Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley invite you into a conference about the Steelers backup quarterback options. What do you tell them?

There you go folks. Remember to use a sharp Number 2 dark pencil, and bear in mind any machine errors caused because you used a Faber Castel will count against you. This is an untimed exercise.

4 comments

  • 1. …
    a. What do you think of Le’Veon Bell’s inadvertent admission that he continued to use marijuana even after he’d been busted for driving under the influence?

    I think it is 100% non-newsworthy. He was arrested in August of 2014 and suspended in April, 2015. I don’t care if he smoked weed in December and personally I don’t trust his memory to remember exactly what happened 20+ months ago because, you know, weed. In between those two times I hope he smoked enough weed to get it out of his system so that he wouldn’t smoke anymore.

    b. Was James Harrison right to agree to be interviewed by Roger Goodell’s cronies on the basis of a now recanted report for Al Jazeera?

    Yes. When you are James Harrison and the 800 pound bully in the room grabs you by the throat and tells you that you can’t work until you talk to him, you tell him to go F himself, because you are James Harrison. Then you realize that not talking to him would hurt your teammates more than it would hurt you, so you talk to the bully no matter the consequences to yourself. Because you are “a professional” and the bully is not.

    2. Senquez Golson is declaring that he will play in 2016. Given that the number of times Golson has practiced can be counted on one hand, do you think it would be wise for the Steelers to try to play him, even if he beats the odds and his health will allow him?

    I’m assuming he will be treated like everyone else: If he can prove himself in the practices the week before the game he will play. If he can’t, he won’t.

    3. Both Ladarius Green and Mike Tomlin have said that it is Green’s ankle and not his headaches that are keeping him on the PUP. Yet, Ed Bouchette has said that Green is in the NFL’s concussion protocols. Leaving aside, for this installment of the Smolderings at least, the mess this is creating at tight end, who do you believe?

    I don’t recall Tomlin or Green ever saying that it was his ankle that is keeping Green on the PUP. They just said that he was placed on the PUP because of the ankle and then gave no further information about anything else that may be keeping him on the PUP. So, I believe Tomlin.

    I know Tomlin’s answer was weasely, but given that the media treats any found discrepancy between interviews as a giant “gotcha” moment it’s probably wise to not discuss injuries in public, especially since your opponents are happy to learn about any and all of them so that they can take full advantage when they meet you on the field.

    In my opinion based on nothing but guesses and zero knowledge, which in today’s social media contract is just as valid as things that are actual facts, Green came from an extremely low humidity, moderate climate to a hot, extremely humid Latrobe, PA training camp. He had some headaches or something which were initially questioned by the medical personnel as possible concussion effects but we’re later determined not to be. But were still monitored in a protocol similar to actual concussions just to be on the safe side. Ed B, who seems to be in full Grandpa Simpson mode these past couple of years, decided to burn the bridge he was crossing by calling Tomlin a liar. Guess who’s gonna come out looking better? I’m guessing the Steelers.

    4. The Steelers surprised many by inking Vince Williams to a 3 year deal? ….. Do you think this spells the beginning of the end for Lawrence Timmons in Pittsburgh, and if so has the Steelers brain trust made the right call?

    There was an interview the other day on some online Steeler news website that I forget the name of now because I’m old and I’m lucky if I remember what day it is, but it was with Colbert who was talking about the general ages where different positions tend to jump the shark. (And who says my research skills are lacking?) The brain trust may figure Timmons will be jumping the shark this year so it’s a good idea to have a backup signed and in place because while we only look at what’s going on this year, Kevin and company are paid the big bucks to assess the needs of the Steelers over the next several years in every move they make today.

    So sign Williams and lock him up now because he is cheap and a suitable minimal replacement. It may also motivate Timmons, who was probably injured most of last year, to put on a really good show this season. But it may not matter to the Steelers how well he performs this year because he will be owed so much money next year that it probably won’t be cost-effective to keep him.

    Yes, I think they made the right call. I think it was an intelligent move.

    5. Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley invite you into a conference about the Steelers backup quarterback options. What do you tell them?

    Thank you for inviting me but you must be insane if you’re asking my opinion. Anywho, here it is anyway: Jones is okay as number two. However, please try to find a quarterback with a few years of NFL experience who will agree to a minimum contract this year and a few million next year to be number three. Stop laughing at my advice.

    If Chad Henne was available I would suggest they take a serious look at him. I think he would be a good fit.

    Like

  • 1a. I am inclined to agree with Slatsmagoo on most of the comments, but I would add a few other points. While not precluding the possibility that this was recreational drug use that might be deemed reckless by some because he is being monitored by the league, (and not to mention all the better things that the league could be doing with their time than playing school marm on a practice that is actually not illegal in many places), I would suggest that care be taken in holding professional athletes to the exact same standards as the population at large. Athletes often resort to self medication for the purpose pain management, stress management and out of fear of losing a competitive edge. Smoking weed would be one of the more benign alternatives in this regard.

    1b. This just puts a spotlight on how weak and clueless the leadership is at the top of the NFL. One only needs to ask one question in this regard, and there really is no satisfactory answer. Why?

    2. He’s practiced barely at all in pads, but he has been exposed to the system for over a year. And, referencing back to some of the issues implied in the comment concerning Bell, there is tremendous pressure on these athletes to get on the field and perform, not the least of which coming from the fans. If he is physically able he will attempt to play. He almost has to.

    3. Are Tomlin and Green liars? Or is the NFL rumor mill proving to be, once again, irresponsible and out of control. Remember how disgruntled Ben was supposed to be a couple of years ago? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

    4. More of the same. Did the re-signing of Ramon Foster mean the end for David DeCastro? That would be the logic, right? Vince Williams is young, improving on schedule, and for now, cheap. Why wouldn’t you lock him up when you have the chance. And yes, great insurance against the possibility of things going sideways with Timmons either on the field or in the negotiating room. But coming off of, what for him was a somewhat subpar campaign, both sides in the Timmons negotiation may be well served to wait.

    5. Burn as much incense as you can get your hands on and pray that Ben remains upright.

    Like

  • 1a. It’s not a crime to admit to smoking dope. But it will keep your bosses eyes on you, and you know where that will go. There’s non euphoric Marijuana that is a proven pain reliever, the NFL should lobby for its legalization or move all the teams to Colorado.
    1b. Goodell has listened to liars before, how else can he get his facts. Plus Harrison and Goodell are in a continual pissing match. You always listen to your boss no matter how much he smells of urine.
    2. If doctors release him to play and he has a couple good practices behind him, put him when Beckham comes to town.
    3. No one is lying. Everyone is right. He is rehabbing his ankle. He had concussions last season. He gets sinus headaches. Why do we need these rumors?
    4.The Williams signing is another Colbert brain trust. How can anyone say this guy doesn’t do his job.
    5. I predict 1 week after teams go to 53, Steelers will sign a rising QB that works his way to #2.

    Like

  • 1a. The more I see and hear the incoherent statements of Bell, the more I think he needs to eat a giant bowl of STFU, laced with industrial strength supplements of Common Sense. I don’t have any problem with NFL players using marijuana. It’s legal in a number of states and has medical uses. But it’s a violation of the league rules, enforced by the CBA. Bell has been acting like a complete idiot. He has proven himself not dependable, letting down his teammates. He should shut up and get to work. Period.

    1b. Harrison had very little choice. I hope he either brought an attorney with him or secured a recording or transcription of his interrogation session. And next year, when he retires, the NFL can’t touch him any more. But he can go after them in court.

    2. Senquez seems to be a continuation of the second round curse. Even when they seem to work out, they don’t (like Bell). I don’t expect anything of the guy any more, so if he says he’s ready, put him in there. What the hey!

    3. Tomlin couches his words very, very carefully. And he knows the background. We don’t. He says the guy was put on the PUP list because of his ankle. Fine. That doesn’t mean AFTER he was put on the PUP list, his headaches recurred. Tomlin is smarter and better with the English language than either Ed B or Homer J. You really have to parse what he says to get at the truth. He’s not lying at all. He’s answering the question that he wants to answer, which may not be the one you asked. But if you don’t follow up, it’s on you. So, yeah, it was the ankle that put Green on the PUP list. But there’s more to the story.

    4. The Williams signing is a good use of money. it doesn’t mean that Timmons will be gone. Not at all. It simply means the Steelers have a way forward, with or without him. It gives them options going into negotiations with Timmons. Their backs are not against the wall. If LT signs a team friendly extension, fine. If not, we’re still okay.

    5. If Landry Jones is the answer, guys, someone is asking the wrong question. Have you guys considered trading for a backup QB, or do you still have Vick on speed dial? And why does God continually mock Steeler back-up QB’s in pre-season?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s