5 Smoldering Questions: Steelers at Ravens
By Hombre de Acero
The Steelers bye week went well, as neither AFC North rival logged a victory and as several key players appear to be returning to practice, if not full health. But before the Steelers arrive in Baltimore for their all-important showdown with the rival Ravens, this corner of Steelers Nation must first resolve these 5 Smoldering questions:
1. The Steelers activated Ladrius Green from the PUP list during the bye week, and Mike Tomlin’s assessment was positive. Although some Steelers beat reporters do still do not expect him to play this season, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have nearly two weeks to make a decision on whether to activate him or not.
Should the Steelers opt to activate Green, who should they cut to make roster room for him?
2. Neither Mike Tomlin nor any of the members of the Steelers locker room claimed nor accepted any moral victories after the Patriots game (indeed, Cam Heyward was quite critical). Good for them.
Fans however, do have some luxuries not afforded to the pros. Now that you’ve had time to digest the game, do you take anything positive away from the Patriots game, or was it simply a case of missed opportunities that will hurt the Steelers down the road?
3a. You might want to get out a pencil and paper for question 3 because we’re going back to high school Algebra class. Here’s the equation:
4(123 + 72 + 222 +140)/(-91) + (-97) = 0
Can you make sense of that with the naked eye?
OK, here’s the decryption code: In the last two season the Steelers have give up 123, 72, 222 and 140 yards rushing in four games missed by either Stephon Tuitt or Cameron Heyward, all of which were losses.
Is this just coincidence, or is there an “X” factor that either of these two men bring to the defense?
3b. As someone who wanted to see Dick LeBeau stay on as defensive coordinator 2 years ago, I readily concede that one of the legitimate knocks against him was that it took too long for rookies to learn his system.
However, Johnny Mitchell has been with the Steelers as an assistant since 1994, and aside from Casey Hampton in 2001 and Stephon Tuitt in 2014, you can practically count the number of rookie defensive lineman starts on his watch on one hand.
Given the Steelers struggles without Tuitt and Hewyard, and given that it is well known that Mitchell “strips rookies down and retrains them from zero” do you think that Mitchell has gotten his fair share of criticism regarding the progress of the Steelers defensive rebuild?
4. The Steelers 4-3 record at the bye week presents a Glass Half Full, Glass Half Empty situation. Regardless of whether you’re in the half-full or half-empty camp, which player(s) need to step it up during these final nine games to full up the rest glass’ other half?
5. (Rebecca is throwing this one in because she really needs to know…) Why is it that the Steelers dominated the Ravens for so long during Mike Tomlin’s tenure, only to have the storyline flipped? It started with the 7-35 humiliation at M&T Bank Stadium in 2011, and there haven’t been many good moments since. Even last year, when the Ravens were very nearly dreadful, they beat the Steelers twice. Any theories?