1 Smoldering Question on the Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 8

85CE81D6-765A-42E2-A79F-C02DE4199DF2.jpegPhoto via Steelers.com

Hombre de Acero and I were both DNP last night, and thus the 5 Smolderings did not show up in your browser window this morning. Hombre is sick, so he says—actually his agent tells me he went to the doctor. I have vertigo, possibly because my head is spinning from the latest episodes of As the Hypocycloid Turns. (I didn’t coin that—one of the local writers whose name I can’t currently bludgeon out of my weakened brain tissue wrote that the other day.)

So here is your one question, and it’s a doozy:

Mike Tomlin said in his press conference yesterday that he and Martavis are going to talk today. Ben Roethlisberger said in his weekly show on 93.7 The Fan that he has talked to Martavis via text and such and said “You’ve talked to everyone but me. Why don’t you come talk to your quarterback?”

But for the purposes of this question, Martavis is coming to talk to you today. What would you say to him? And what, if any, actions would you take?

7 comments

  • This isn’t an answer to my question – although I’ve certainly been known to do that – but something I just read makes me want to tell Martavis to please start hanging out with Sean Davis. Because in an interview he was asked about meetings in the secondary room, and he said he sits right between Mike Mitchell and William Gay if they are near each other, and otherwise he sits next to one of them and picks their brains. He said, and this is a direct quote, “I would rather learn from their mistakes than my failures.” Wow. He gets it. Martavis apparently hasn’t yet learned the humility to learn from anybody’s mistakes, even his own.

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  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    At one time, I thought his issue was depression, and maybe that really is a factor but I keep wondering who is driving the agenda for Bryant. Is it his agent, his girlfriend, himself or someone else or some combination of these. Who ever is responsible is not doing him any favours. It is like he has read the “how to get released by the Steelers so you can get a new, richer contract” playbook except it isn’t going to work for him. The Steelers are not going to budge.

    He has less than a week for it to happen this season with regards to a trade, which would get him a chance to be a #1 receiver but not a new contract. I don’t think the Steelers will release him before the end of the season though they may well make him inactive and then trade him for a bag of beans during the off-season. His hold antics are just hurting his brand and reducing the chance of him ever getting a big payday.

    If I was going to talk to him, then I would tell him these things. He cannot escape ABs shadow this season. His only hope for a happy ending here is to play nice, do his best and hope for a trade in the off-season or accept the role of second banana to AB. I doubt he wants the later so it is the former he needs to aim for. The Rooney family plays nice with those who play nice. Not so much with those who are jerks.

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    • This is more or less exactly what Bob Labriola said yesterday.- that lots of people had tried to get the Steelers to budge on things and nobody ever wins. The Steelers aren’t dumb. I have a feeling they would much rather inactivate Bryant than trade him, and hopefully MT will make that clear to him. If he isn’t playing at all he’s not going to have the chance to impress another team. And in the meantime they certainly don’t want Bryant going to another team and having to play against him. He is talented, for sure. And according to all reports he works hard. But he just can’t seem to put it all together. He needs to dump the girl friend, the agent, and hang out with DHB. There’s somebody who can teach him about humility…

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  • First question: “Martavis, what’s going on?”

    Make him talk. Let him spill hits guts. Put him on the spot. If he wants to paint himself into a corner, let him. And if he wants to dig his own grave. let him. And if he asks for help, offer to be of help. Remember, YOU hold all the cards.

    Then take it from there. And follow the Chief’s advice; “Treat people the way you would want to be treated, but don’t get taken for a sucker.”

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  • I’d form Team Martavis. You know, like Team JuJu. Apparently JuJu has the answer to everything. He’ll probably bring world peace and cure cancer before he’s 23. (Imagine the celebrations.)

    But first I’m going to natter a bit to get to that. :0

    I thought immediately of this situation when I saw an article in the NYT titled, “The problem child is a child, not a problem.” It’s about an approach to helping kids learn useful social skills through Collaborative Problem Solving. Instead of the adult using the more common Plan A, which is imposing one’s will (my way or the highway) , or Plan C which is completely dropping expectations (see you later, Martavis), one opens a dialogue called Plan B: what would make you happy? Here’s my need, let’s find the middle ground. And you go from there. Together. Saying things like, “Help me out here, how we can both get what we want?”

    I’d provide the link to the NFL article if I knew I could or if interested, you could look up CPS or Think Kids which is the same thing.
    As I sometimes spend time with surly teenagers, I’ve tried a little but far too little of this myself. The problem is always that we want to assign blame or punish, even when it clearly isn’t working or doesn’t help. I don’t know what part of us that comes from, maybe just impatience, or we don’t want to lose our authority but I think the CPS route is the way everyone should be trying to work with others, not just adults with children. In fact, I don’t mean to sound as if I’m condescending to MB by putting him in the role of the child. Lots of people much older than he is have no ability to resolve problems with others through cooperation. And in all sorts of situations, including workplace conflicts.

    But he is young and he doesn’t seem to know how to deal with life yet, so I’d treat him like a surly teenager. Surly teenagers are as much afraid of failing and rejection as they are mad about anything and everything else else. It’s easy to stay mad and keep blaming other people. Moving onto new people or a new team probably won’t help Martavis as much as resolving his problems here–and he’s already spent all that rehab time alone for whatever stupid reasons the NFL decided it would be good to isolate these kinds of guys. Being alone has made him feel alone, unloved, an outsider, all those things dramatic kids feel, probably augmented by depression. Seeing Juju so happy and successful probably also hurts.

    So I’d rope him in, kill him with kindness, Ben’s wife can both pray for him and take his wife out to lunch, Juju can take him on bike rides, on and on from as many people as possible. Instead of trying to kick people out of his life–as way too many people want– strengthen his bonds to the team. And not let up, even when he tries to get away or get mad. Kids tend to put up resistance for a while, partly out of pride, but if you work hard enough at insisting on loving them, the ones that can be brought into the fold eventually feel safe, trust you, join you, however you want to see it.

    He and his girlfriend have a baby, by the way. I don’t know what she’s said that has angered people but most likely she’s simply backing up a belief he already has: there is Team Martavis and there is the Steelers team. They should be the same thing. That’s my grand idea after all this typing. JuJu’s twitter handle was the answer–he thinks of himself as a team, part of a team, on a team. That’s what MB needs and what we need from MB.

    Not just for his sake. It would be good for everyone to help Bryant get back on board with the team. As Tomlin said, the team has invested a lot in him already. He’s a good blocker, he’ll always be a threat on the field even if he drops balls or Ben doesn’t use him as often as he could, and being happy could go a long way toward improving his game.

    Maybe it also, um, force a more creativity into Todd Haley’s game plans? That can’t possibly be a bad thing, right?

    Earthling, who’s now exceeded my daily allowance of words

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    • Earthling, you have no daily allowance to exceed. Love your thoughts. The problem with situations like this is they tend to escalate into, as you say, Team Martavis and All the Rest of You. I have a feeling that, given that “the team” has already said there would be no discipline, MT will take a tack somewhat like you suggest. There’s no reason to think he isn’t a good motivator of men, generally speaking. (Mike Hilton just told the story of being called into MT’s office partway through training camp and being quite nervous that he was, in some way he couldn’t figure out, in trouble. Instead MT just said “Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t overthink this.” Hilton was, naturally, thrilled…

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  • I didn’t know about the Tomlin Hilton encounter. Nice. You’re right of course that he knows how to handle his team, and I trust him to do the right thing this time as well. For all the baloney about his lack of discipline, he keeps a lot of very different characters and big egos well under control.

    Also, I hope all of you recover soon and well and make it back to the playing field. How will we make it to the WordPress championship if half our team is on IR?

    Earthling

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