by Hombre de Acero
With NFL Free Agency about to begin its third week the 2017 off season is fully underway. And for the Steelers it’s business as usual, greatly to the chagrin of much of the franchise’s fan base. Nonetheless, there’s been enough activity thus far to give this corner of Steelers Nation 5 Smoldering Questions to struggle with before our focus firmly shifts to the 2017 NFL Draft. Read more
I’m afraid I haven’t had the time to have many second thoughts about the game. I’m getting ready to catch a plane and all that entails, and there just wasn’t time to review the tape. But I do have a few more thoughts, in a sort of “Good News, Bad News” format.
But first, here is a link to Hombre de Acero’s writeup of the game. He gives lots of stuff to chew on, and some really interesting perspectives. Do check it out.
And now, here’s the Bad News (which I always like to get out of the way as soon as possible.)
Ivan and Homer J both have plenty to say about the game, as you might suspect. Homer’s is in the form of ongoing game notes, ending with a report card, and Ivan wrote a commentary. So I’m going to interleave the two in some sort of hopefully sensible fashion. Ivan’s commentary will be in italics, Homer J’s notes in bold. His Report Card will be in plain text, because that would be an awful lot of boldface…
Here we go. Is this a trap game? The big question is whether Hubbard at right tackle will mean Ben will have to run for his life all day….
Jason Bridge/USA Today Sports
I admit it. I was nervous about this game. I was nervous about the Kansas City defense taking out critical Steelers offensive players such as Ben Roethlisberger. (In fact they did manage to take out Darrius Heyward-Bey, who had a touchdown pass and a special teams play which pinned Kansas City at about the 2 yard line. And Marcus Gilbert left with an ankle injury.) I was also worried about Marcus Peters, their second-year corner who leads the universe all-time in interceptions.
To see the earlier posts in this series, click the links: 1.Veteranosity vs. Youth, 2. Quarterback, 3. Defensive Tackle, 4. Tight Ends, 5. Inside Linebackers, and 6. Running Backs and Offensive Line
The battle for the outside linebacker slots is an odd one. The odd part (or depressing, depending on how you view life) is that the Steelers can’t seem to find anyone to beat out a 38-year-old man. That 38 year old would, of course, be James Harrison, and the Steelers have tried everything to replace him. They tried cutting him (actually, they tried that several times at the other end of his career as well.) They tried retiring him, but he was back a few weeks after a touching ceremony with tears all around. They tried sending his BFF, former defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, off into the sunset. (They haven’t been real successful with this move lately, as the offensive coordinator they sent into the old folks home is a highly regarded head coach. LeBeau is defensive coordinator for the Titans.) Pretty soon his age is going to match his jersey number.
The title is a bit deceptive, because I never actually graded the 2013 draft, or any draft for that matter. But as I have been looking up information about the various players the Steelers chose in 2013, most recently for Le’Veon Bell, I have been intrigued at how often I have run across words such as “abysmal” to describe the 2013 draft class as a whole. Since they generally appear in articles whose purpose is to regrade that draft, that’s how we’ll roll.
I’m going use this exercise as part of my BFTP review of the No. 1 Steelers pick, because I think this is where the subject gets the most interesting. Jarvis Jones has been the focus of a lot of fan ire, or at least fan annoyance, as he hasn’t turned out to be the player the Steelers presumably thought they were getting, at least up to this point. It became quite evident when the Steelers chose not to pick up Jones’ fifth year. But is he a “bust?”
Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
We’re getting into the area now where suboptimal picks can really hurt you. The question is, did the Steelers have any of those between 2010 and 2013? Certainly you can argue for at least one, and a few question marks.
The 2010 second round draft pick was one which is pretty difficult to characterize. It is fair to say, though, that the franchise did not, in the end, get as much as one would like to see from a mid-second rounder.
Jason Worilds didn’t contribute a lot in his rookie season, although he did play in 14 games. However, few people expected to see a rookie contribute much in a Dick LeBeau-run defense. Oddly, Worilds had the exact same number of sacks for the season (2.0) as tackles, and had one pass defense.
As I typed the title for this article I felt a great sense of anticipation. Some articles are easy to write, some are difficult. Some are slow going, but gratifying, but I have a feeling this one is going to be just plain fun. There’s something about Coach Porter that just makes me smile.
Because Joey Porter was already gone from Pittsburgh before I became a Steelers fan, I missed seeing him play. But you don’t have to have seen him play to have heard the stories. The King of Trash Talk—the baddest, most brash player around. His reputation precedes him, as a larger-than-life member of the Steelers revival, I suppose you might call it—when the Steelers finally took home a Lombardi after a 26-year hiatus.
But there is much more to Coach Porter than meets the eye, or ear.