Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As noted in the premier post in this series (“premier” in the sense of first, not the sense of good…) this feature is a placeholder for the 5 Smoldering Questions. So let’s get to it, since it’s already late.
1. Most everyone seems to think Lawrence Timmons will be a cap casualty with the Dolphins. His stat line last year was nothing to write home about. Part of this is because he bizarrely missed the first walk-through of the season for the Week 2 game, the first for the Phins because of the hurricane, thus being suspended for the first two games. It was the first time since 2009 he missed a game.
But some might say that, in terms of inside linebackers, beggars can’t be choosers, and the Steelers, due to Ryan Shazier’s health and their cap constraints, are definitely beggars. If you were the Steelers brain trust, would you try to bring the 32-year-old Timmons back for another year in the Black and Gold?
2. James Harrison recently showed up, rather to most people’s surprise, to Brett Keisel’s “Shear Da Beard” event. Arthur Moats said they had “talked out their differences.” Whether Steeler Nation will ever again take him back to their collective bosoms is another matter. But my question concerns Harrison’s stated desire to play next season. What’s your guess? Did you see enough from him in a different scheme to think another team will take him on?
That’s all for now. This is plenty to deal with in the offseason, right in the middle of the Olympics. And speaking of the Olympics, here’s a bonus for you. One of my son-in-laws is a police officer, and this was recently published in the department newsletter. Names are changed to protect the guilty:
- PO Jim Smith at 7 PM: “Oh…Figure skating?”
- PO Jim Smith at 10 PM: “If they nail this triple twist they’ve got at least 40 in the technical category.”
Stay warm, y’all.
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
Matt Freed, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
My husband and I had dinner the other night with some friends from our days in New Mexico. I was very much looking forward to the dinner and catching up with them, at least until they arrived and the first words out of Richard’s mouth were “Gosh, my team has been uncharacteristically active in free agency this year.” My heart plummeted as I remembered he was not only a Patriots fan but one of the smug kind. (Actually, those are pretty much the only kind of Pats fans I’ve met. Are there any other kind?)
It was too late to bail on the dinner arrangements, and besides the restaurant we met at is an old favorite, one that I seldom get to enjoy anymore, since it is now about 1500 miles away from my house. So I gritted my teeth and merely responded that I realized it was uncharacteristic, and assumed it must be because Bill Belichick has discovered some new loophole or other. Richard said “Oh, I hope so.”
He also offered me condolences on the AFC Championship game, which were, of course, completely lacking in any sincerity whatsoever. Luckily, I like his wife a lot, and she doesn’t care about football as far as I know. Read more
This is Part 1 of what will be an ongoing series as we start to work ourselves up for the draft. Each week I will pick a position of (at least putative) need and have a look where the Steelers stand.
And as for the title—well, isn’t that the idea? I gather the feeling over at the Southside facility is that any year in which a Lombardi isn’t added to the collection is considered, at least on some level, a failure.
Besides, as I pointed out a few weeks ago, as the Steelers have moved through and emerged from the team rebuild they never admitted was happening, we’ve had the following progression: Read more
By Ivan Cole
“You see, it was just like in the movies. I mean, it actually happened just like this… –Luther Vandross
In our most fanciful imaginings we see the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Killer Bs, (Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown) running roughshod over some hapless, helpless defense, doing whatever they want, perfectly.
But in real life it yields to a less perfect reality, seeming to be a made-up fantasy. Sunday’s Wild Card game against the Miami Dolphins wasn’t exactly perfect, but then again, how could it even be perfect if Steeler Nation didn’t have something to worry or complain about in the aftermath? It was close though.
It actually happened just like this…
By Homer J.
THE YOUNG AND THE AGELESS
Some things will survive the nuclear holocaust. Cockroaches. Cher. The Sheetz Schmiscuit. And James Harrison will still be a force as an edge rusher after all else is rubble and ruin.
If you’re looking for the theme for Sunday’s victory, Homer suggests The Young and the Ageless. We’ll get to the young later, but let’s start with the ageless.
What a game it was! There were the amazing highs of two touchdown passes to AB in the first quarter—which gave Antonio Brown the most yards in a quarter for any receiver since 1969, for any team. It also absolutely obliterated his 59 yards from scrimmage for the entire game against Miami in Week 6.
There were the lows (or sort of lows, as the game felt so much in hand by the time they happened) of Ben’s two interceptions. Considering that his first 10 throws were completions and that he had broken an NFL record with two 50+ yard TD passes in the first quarter, the interceptions were a rude shock. As for the second one, he never should have thrown the ball in the first place. Just take the sack and move on. But Ben will never pull a Peyton Manning-style fetal position sack concession. Maybe he should try it. Read more
by Ivan Cole
What were your hopes and fears going into this latest edition of Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati? Mine would include the following: A ‘trap game’ type vibe, the possibility of significant injuries to key players, chippyness, meltdowns and outright violence, and finally, black and orange tears along the Ohio River.
What we got with Pittsburgh’s 24-20 victory was all that and a lot more as, like some well-honed vaudeville act, Steelers v. Bengals gave a holiday presentation of some of their greatest hits, plus a few other goodies, as they struggled to an all too familiar conclusion along the banks of the Ohio.
I don’t know about you all, but I had a bad feeling about this game. The circumstances reminded me all too forcibly of that dark day in 2009 when the Steelers’ four-game losing streak became five. I suspect it was one of the games the Rooneys mulled over in their minds when deciding whether to re-sign Bruce Arians a few years later.
The circumstances were all too similar. A team which had started the season with such promise had lost a lot of games in a row for a Steelers team. Over the years they haven’t been known for long losing streaks. In fact, a quick glance at the invaluable Pro Football Reference Team Encyclopedia for the Steelers reveals that since 1970 only six other Steelers squads have lost four or more games in a row, counting the 2009 team. This includes the 1985 team, who despite ending the season at 7-9 never lost more than three games in a row. It also includes the 1986 team, who were even worse, (6-10) and yet didn’t lose as many as four of the games in a row. Read more
by Ivan Cole
Ivan sent me his game commentary very late Sunday night, as did Homer J. Homer’s comments and report card are in yesterday’s Second Thoughts. Since Ivan phrased his commentary as a Q & A, it appears today, as Hombre de Acero is still unavailable.
Ivan made a few preliminary notes: Read more