5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 5
photo via Steelers.com
Once again Hombre de Acero is pottering around the globe, with no consideration whatsoever for the needs of this little corner of Steeler Nation. I may have to cut his salary in half. (Although it wouldn’t make much difference, however much I cut it down.) But seriously, Hombre, be safe and come back with a brain bursting with awesome questions! In the meantime you all will have to make do with 5 Spluttering Questions on last week’s triumph in the Charm City and next week’s tilt with the Jaguars. I am at least going to avoid the low-hanging fruit, so thus there will be nothing about Ben, Bell, or AB:
1. Cold Old Steelers Fan made the following comment on Ivan’s First Quarter Report yesterday:
Kansas City does seem to be a team with it arrow pointing up but I would worry about the inconsistent Jaguars first. They are better than they have been and, though their QB is not usually very good, he seems to have his moments.
Apparently Mike Tomlin has the same thoughts, because after the game, according to Jim Wexell:
Mike Tomlin rolled into the locker room with the players while shouting the following: “We got a hot J’ville team coming to town. They whacked these guys worse than we did. Let’s get ready to work.”
How worried are you about Sunday’s game?
2. In Mark Kaboly’s Live at 5 questions this week, he took a question from a guy who commented that Terrell Watson makes Fitz Toussaint look like Usain Bolt as a kick returner. Kaboly’s response:
He’s the upback. They use him for blocking on KR. I just dont think Tomlin is very interested in kick returners. He’d much rather take it at the 25 and avoid any kind of disaster.
Assuming he’s correct about Tomlin’s attitude, do you agree or disagree ? And who would you like to see returning kicks if you don’t? (After all, if a kick lands in front of the end zone, I suppose you have to run it, regardless of whether you’d prefer a touchback.)
3. After Ryan Shazier’s interception he did something really bizarre over near the sidelines, which I have subsequently discovered was an homage, you might say, to Ray Lewis’ sack dance. (I never really watched Lewis in his prime, hence my ignorance.) Tacky or hilarious? And would it matter to you if the Steelers were winning or losing at that point?
4. I can’t find the article in which I read this, but apparently Bud Dupree’s sack on Sunday was an improvised play between him and Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt commented that because they’ve worked together a lot (I believe Tuitt even used the word “chemistry”) they can make these kind of plays. It made me think of vintage Polamalu and the man who allowed him to be the special player he was, Ryan Clark. Is this sort of situation perhaps more common than we think, and does this indicate that injuries possibly have an additional harmful component not evident on the surface?
5. And to continue from No. 4, how does one explain a “plug and play” philosophy such as that so successfully employed by Bill Belichick if “chemistry” matters so much? Does it represent a profound philosophical difference in how to best utilize the players available to you between Tomlin and Belichick?
Bonus question: This is a late addition, because I found this so interesting. Bob Labriola’s column on Steelers.com, Asked and Answered,featured a question yesterday about what I chose to call the “bogus interception” by Eric Weddle. The questioner sought clarification. Here was Labriola’s answer:
I don’t know that I have a lot to provide in terms of clarifying when a catch is a catch, because I have to admit to being someone who has been surprised regularly at rulings one way or the other. I will offer my theory on it since you asked: I believe the call made in that situation fell into the keep-the-game-close category. The Steelers had a 19-0 lead at halftime, the play in question occurred on the opening possession of the second half, and the game was threatening to get away from the Ravens. And finally, the play went to review, and when that happens everything is open to interpretation, and who really knows what’s being said via that headset the referee is wearing as he communicates with New York…It’s not that the officials were specifically looking to help the Ravens, but the flow of the game provided an opportunity to tighten things up and that’s the way the ruling ended up going. Because the notion of what is a catch is so convoluted and the rules can be interpreted to fit various scenarios, it was a rather simple matter to craft the outcome in keeping with the keep-the-game-close mentality. I am so convinced this kind of mind-set prevails in the NFL that I believe if the situation was reversed – if the Ravens led, 19-0, and had been the team on offense, and if the Steelers challenged the same play the ruling would have gone in their favor because doing so would keep-the-game-close.
I should note that Labriola is not a fan of the quality of the officiating in the NFL. But do you think his theory has any merit? And if there is such a “keep-the-game-close” mindset among the officials, do you think it is conscious or unconscious?
Usual rules—fill in the little circles completely, feel free to look over your neighbor’s shoulder, and the test is naturally open book, or even open internet…