UPDATE: Wow I just realized what a horrible article this is to post on the first day of Black History Month. Oh well, I wrote it and the point is that Roger Goodell is awful and kind of racist towards white people apparently.
Apparently Roger Goodell is totally unsatisfied with the Rooney Rule. Mein Fuhrer believes that several minority coaches should be hired every year, not just interviewed. This year there are a handful new coaches, and all of them are white. For shame, NFL teams! How dare you hire someone you want to be your head coach? Hire more black people!
I'm all for racial equality. Your skin color doesn't determine your qualifications for a job. Unfortunately Roger Goodell thinks it does, but totally on the opposite end of the spectrum. After the jump, we'll break this down.no comments
Let's not mince words. These are two of the most hateable people in sports. And they are going to be coaching opponents in the Superbowl next week. One of them is going to win a Lombardi Trophy. Both of them are going to whine and complain after every single whistle, and it is going to be awful. Who do Steeler fans even root for? In San Francisco wins, they tie the Steelers in Superbowl titles. If the Ravens win, Ray Lewis goes out on top and no one in this city is really okay with that.
If you want to give yourself a real rooting interest, there's always Superbowl 2013 betting, if that's your style. Heck, if you dig hard enough around the internet you can bet on everything from the champion to how the anthem singer screws up. But what are the pros and cons from a pure football standpoint? Check after the jump.no comments
The Steelers have a reputation of not tolerating off-the-field trouble from their players, as long as those players are marginal contributors the team won't really miss. You can lump Chris Rainey in with the likes of Cedrick Wilson and Santonio Holmes as players the team was probably going to get rid of anyway before they were given a convenient excuse to do so.
Rainey got in trouble for slapping his girlfriend. He'll get no sympathy for that (who hits girls? Seriously, F you.) but you may recall an incident with Alameda Ta'amu in which he got hammered in the South Side and decided to go for a joyride in his SUV through the pedestrian-heavy area. Kevin Colbert, the next day, issued the following statement:
''We are disappointed to hear about the situation regarding Alameda Ta'amu. We will gather more facts before providing any further comment.''
Colbert specifically said the team would wait for more details before passing judgment, ultimately suspending Ta'amu for a whopping two games. When faced with Chris Rainey's situation:
“Chris Rainey’s actions this morning were extremely disappointing. Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Huh. Now why would Colbert change his mode of operation for Rainey's less-dangerous (though still totally not cool, dick) situation? It's simple. Alameda Ta'amu can still offer something to this football team in the future. Chris Rainey cannot. Sure, a reaction like this paints the franchise in a good light by dissociating from a troubled player, but how many DUIs was Hines Ward allowed to get away with? How come Ben Roethlisberger never felt any ramifications for his extracurriculars? And for the most stark contrast, how come Cedrick Wilson got cut for fighting with his girlfriend and James Harrison didn't like a week later? Granted, the Steelers aren't explicitly coming out and saying that anyone who gets in trouble doesn't have a place on the team, but it's the impression they've given. They know it and they aren't trying to change that perception. It's frustrating to see the team be sort of half-hypocritical in that sense, as a fan. We like to think the Steelers really ARE special and they DO do things differently. They don't; they just wear a facade of being the "good guys" in the NFL.
As for the actual football part of the team, there are a few outcomes we can expect here:
The first thing is that the Steelers are absolutely going to draft a running back this spring. Even if this latest incident makes Rashard Mendenhall a much more attractive option to re-sign (and I suspect it has), your depth can't be Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, the same two backs. Baron Batch was advertised as a great 3rd-down back, but if he didn't see any time in that role last season, there must have been a reason. The team is going to need a receiving back and hopefully they can get one later in the draft. Or just see what Verron Haynes is up to these days, I guess.
The other, more positive thing you can take away from this story is that Alameda Ta'amu is a future starter. The Steelers don't freely part ways with a player unless he's valuable or they have a plan to replace him. Ta'amu, after bringing literally nothing to the team in his rookie season, was given a second chance while Rainey, who actually played, did not. They must see something in Ta'amu they really like. He would be wise to work hard and take advantage of that, because if he doesn't show that he can help win championships, the men upstairs won't be so forgiving of his next incident.
With the Steelers eliminated from postseason contention, several players have alreayd gone on IR, including starters Heath Miller, Ike Taylor, Mike Wallace, and Marcus Gilbert. Ever the guys with marginal injuries (Mike Wallace) are being held out because there's simply no reason for them to play. The Steelers stand to gain nothing and the individual players need not risk further injury.
The AFC playoff teams are set, and the Steelers will spend January on their couches watching other teams compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Sunday's loss to Cincinnati sealed the Steelers' fate.
If we're being honest, we all knew the Steelers didn't deserve to be there. The team just isn't good enough to compete for a title. But why not? Well, first, let's think about the positives:
-Troy Polamalu came back. And not in the sense that he was on the field for the game; he was back. He was in on tackles, defending passes, and even made his trademark time-the-snap-count-and-get-to-the-QB-before-the-ball-does play.
-The front seven of the defense actualy got some pressure on Andy Dalton. Not all the time, because Dick LeBeau more than once decided to only rush three linemen, which is never going to work, but a lot of blitzes in big moments were effective.
-Lawrence Timmons made plays. He was blitzing, covering, tackling, and doing everything you need your stud middle linebacker to do. Really solid game from Timmons.
-If Timmons had a good game, Cortez Allen had a great game. He was breaking up passes and even hauled in two interceptions. A performance like Sunday's gives us all some hope for the future of the defensive backfield.
-The defense only gave up six points as they completely shut down the Bengals' running game and got back to forcing turnovers. Incredible performance the past few weeks by a unit that was supposedly washed up and useless.
The bad news after the jump.no comments
The Steelers are a very mediocre 7-7 right now. The only chance they have to make the postseason is to win out; fortunately, they control their own destiny still. The Bengals come into Heinz Field next week and the season hinges on that. If the Steelers win, they stay alive and face Cleveland the next week. If the Bengals win, they get into the playoffs and the Steelers likely watch the playoffs from home.
The game in Dallas highlighted the Steelers' most glaring problem: Without Ike Taylor, they cannot defend the pass. Josh Victorian is not the answer. Robert Golden is not the answer. These guys are undrafted rookies; they can't be counted on to hold off real NFL wide receivers. And yet, with the injuries the Steelers have suffered (more accurately, Ike Taylor's injury), these guys ARE being counted on to do just that.
If Taylor can't go next week, and he hasn't been ruled out, the Steelers may need to find some more help. A.J. Green is coming to town and he'll be a lot tougher to defend that Miles Austin, Cole Beasley, and a nine-fingered Dez Bryant.
The Steelers are not elite on offense, defense, or special teams right now. The defense is having trouble stopping the run and the pass. The offense goes through some startling dry stretches. The Steelers aren't a bad team, but they aren't a good team. They're right where they deserve to be, at .500.
This doesn't look like a team that belongs in the playoffs, and yet, for all intents and purposes, they'll begin the playoffs next week. They have to win to stay alive. Their next loss will end the season, if not officially, then effectively.
Buckle up.no comments
Per everyone, Rashard Mendenhall was suspended one game by Mike Tomlin for "conduct detrimental to the team." Multiple sources say Mendenhall did not report to the Steelers' game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday even though he was going to be inactive anyway.
This isn't something Mike Tomlin takes lightly. Mendenhall's apparent refusal to report and subsequent suspension speaks to a growing rift between player and coach. It's technically speculation, but you don't have to be a fortune teller to realize that Tomlin and Mendenhall don't quite get along. Never has it been more evident than these past two weeks, in which the coach elected not to play the former 1st-round draft pick in favor of undrafted Isaac Redman and late-round picks Chris Rainey and Jonathan Dwyer. Another late pick, Baron Batch, will replace Mendenhall during his suspension.
Clearly, draft pedigree isn't a factor in who Tomlin chooses to play, nor should it be. Players get on the field when they earn the playing time. Mendenhall has not earned playing time. He has proven a few notable things over the course of his career, none of them good:
- He is indecisive more often than not when he's carrying the ball.
- That leads him to dance around behind the line of scrimmage, which typically ends up as a negative play.
- He carries the ball as far away from his body as possible, which makes it too easy to fumble.
- His health is in question.
Of course, it's easy to pile on about everything wrong with Mendenhall's style. He isn't a terrible football player. He's put up over 3400 yards and scored 31 touchdowns as a Steeler. Those are not insignificant numbers and we shouldn't forget that he's been a productive starting running back for most of his career. But right now, it looks like it's either him or Mike Tomlin. And Mike Tomlin isn't going anywhere.
So all signs point to the free-agent-to-be Mendenhall parting ways with the organization this spring. That leaves a giant hole in the RB corps, and it's a hole that will need to be filled. It's nice to have Jonathan Dwyer plunge through a pile on 4th & 1, and Isaac Redman has shown he can fill the same role, though perhaps without the same ferocity. Chris Rainey is the undersized speedy running back who figures to work into the passing game eventually (why he hasn't so far is a bit of a mystery but that's a topic for another day) and Baron Batch is supposedly the typical third-down-back type player.
So who do you put in on 2nd & 8? Dwyer and Redman can be reliable enough for 2 or 3 yards at a time, but do you trust them to get a lot more than that with any regularity? Do you put in a smaller back and let him run between the tackles? There's a middle ground there, and while a significant portion of Steeler fans are still waist-deep in a love affair with Jerome Bettis, you need a reliable back who has the speed to break free and the size to survive running up the middle most of the season.
Rashard Mendenhall is that kind of running back. Unfortunately, that individual running back is likely on his way out of Pittsburgh. I would imagine the Steelers will invest in a new running back in the 3rd or 4th round of the draft, assuming there's any value at the position around then. Might as well, considering those late-round running backs have served the Steelers better than the high-profile first-rounder this season.no comments