Photo via Steelers.com
By Hombre de Acero
If ever there was a week when circumstances would match the title of this column, it is this week. The Jacksonville Jaguars came into Heinz Field and embarrassed the Steelers to the tune of a 45-42, eliminating them from the playoffs and rendering their 2017 season a smoking ruin. With that introduction, here are this week’s 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers 2017 Division Playoff loss.
1. A year ago the Steelers were without Cam Heyward, had Eli Rogers and DeMarcus Ayers as their number 2 and 3 receivers, played Ross Cockrell and William Gay as their number 2 and number 3 corners, yet made it to the AFC Championship. This year, save for Ryan Shazier, they were at full strength, with a 1st round bye, yet gave up 45 points to an offense that only managed 10 the week before, against the Buffalo Bills. What the hell happened?
2. Heads are already rolling on the South Side, with Todd Haley sent packing. Haley, in the tradition of Steelers offensive coordinators was a lightening rod for criticsm during his tenure and if social media is any guide, the vast majority of Steelers Nation is happy to see him go.
Yet, Haley was brought into save Ben from himself, and numbers don’t lie.
Do you agree with the decision to part ways with Haley? Defend your choice.
3. Meanwhile, if Gerry Dulac’s reporting is correct, the entire defensive staff that oversaw and effort that tied the franchise record for most points given up in a playoff game will remain intact…. However, Mike Mularkey has been relieved of his duties in Tennessee which could make things interesting.
Assuming the new head coach doesn’t retain the assistants, and assuming Dick LeBeau would even listen to an offer—perhaps neither assumption is correct—but were he to become available, should the Steelers consider bringing back LeBeau in some sort of Assistant Head Coach Defense capacity?
4. It’s been reported on two occasions this season that the Steelers have prohibited Ben Roethlsiberger from making quarterback sneaks for fear of him being “Ear holed.” Do you agree or disagree?
5. You are Art Rooney II. Realistically, what do you say, or perhaps ask, Mike Tomlin in your year-end meeting?
That’s all for now. Depending on which stories develop, we may have another 5 Smoldering’s in the next week or so, if not we’ll certainly be back for free agency and the draft.
Until then, use your number 2 pencils, be sure to look at your neighbors paper, and by all means show your work.
I would like to express my thanks to Hombre for the great questions he comes up with for us, a task which he has to somehow fit into a very busy life with work, family, his own website, and travel. We will look forward to the next set of questions, whenever they hit my inbox : )