I had planned on posting the video of Antonio Cromartie struggling to remember all of his illegitimate children by way of introduction but then the fine folks at Benstonium had to go and make the above video. I have no idea if they read my blog but I already noted Mike Tomlin‘s overuse of “Obviously” in my semi-brilliant analysis of his weekly press conference. In any event, it’s nice t o know I wasn’t the only one who pays attention to those things – even if I did grossly underestimate how many times he repeated himself.
Go back to your Word of the Day Calendar, Mike!
In football news, the Pittsburgh Steelers face the New York Jets on Sunday. As if the Black and Gold’s quest for their first win of 2013 isn’t exciting enough, CBS is working a gimmick where their obnoxious studio commentators will be working games played by their former teams. That means the greatest head coach in Steelers history, Bill Cowher, will be on hand to point out how badly the team has fallen apart since his departure. Since the game will be in New York, no word on whether he plans on bringing his leather-clad punk rocker girlfriend.
STEELERS DEFENSE vs JETS OFFENSE
The Jets’ resurgence is due in large part to finally having a capable quarterback in former WVU Mountaineer Geno Smith. He’s very much become this year’s RGIII, a dual threat that has more rushing yards (106) than any of the Steelers’ pathetic backs. While Smith’s play has brought the Jets to respectability, it’s also brought them some headaches. Through five games, Geno has committed a whopping 11 turnovers – 8 picks and 3 fumbles.
It’s the irresistible force against the immoveable object. What will happen when a Human Turnover Machine faces a defense that has yet to force a single solitary turnover this season?
Of course, Smith didn’t turn the ball over at all in Monday night’s big upset of the Falcons. He’ll need to a similar performance this week as he’ll likely be missing several big offensive weapons. Santonio Holmes hasn’t played in a couple weeks and isn’t expected to return this week. Tight end Kellan Winslow is also battling injury although he toughed it out Monday and probably will again Sunday. That’s two the team’s top four receiving threats either banged up or out.
The team has been getting it done with a cast of unknowns. Second year man Stephen Hill is their leading receiver. He’s the kind of tall (6’4) fast wide out that gives the Steelers fits. NY also boasts a solid running game led by Bilal Powell. Between Powell and Geno, the Steelers 25th ranked run D better be ready to play. If they tackle like they did against Minnesota, it’ll be a long afternoon.
I’ve discussed the Steelers line-up changes ad nauseum this week. Will Cam Heyward starting at DE be a huge improvement over Ziggy Hood? Can Stevenson Sylvester provide a quality back-up to Vince Williams? Has obnoxious loudmouth Ryan Clark taken time off from badmouthing his quarterback to practice proper tackling technique?
One can only hope.
STEELERS OFFENSE vs JETS DEFENSE
The Jets boast the second best rush defense in football are only average against the pass. They may be even worse than that if Cromartie can’t play as he evidently left practice with a “non-contact knee injury” which the team is calling “not serious” but could very well sideline him on Sunday. If the Baby-Maker can’t go, the Jets will be reduced to starting third stringer Darrin Walls – their number #2 corner, Dee Milliner, is also hurt – and nickelback Kyle Wilson.
Should this occur, Ben Roethlisberger could very well find himself having a very enjoyable afternoon. As with any Rex Ryan coached team, the Jets are aggressive and love to get after the QB so it’ll be on the Steelers new new look line to keep Ben upright. The Falcons had all kind of problems on Monday and they’re not starting two back-ups and another team’s draft bust. We’ll certainly learn a lot about the line as the Jets boast a couple of DEs – Muhammad Wilkerson (4 sacks) and Sheldon Richardson (2.5) – who bring the heat.
Beyond the change in O-linemen, I’m not sure what other changes to expect from the Steelers offense. Le’Veon Bell will make his second career start although I’m not sure the running game will be a big contributor to the team’s efforts. Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery were explosive against the Vikings so it’d be nice for them to continue on that path. The surest way to force Geno into making bad decisions is for the offense to put up some points and put pressure on him to answer.
And, for crying out loud, hold on to the football! If the first four games taught us anything it’s that the Steelers do not have enough talent to overcome mistakes. Once, just once, I’d like to see them play four quarters without handing the opposition any gifts.
I’d also like to see a victory. The Jets were one of those opponents people looked at back in August and said, “There’s a win.” They’ve since proven they are no easy out. Hopefully, the Steelers approach them with the proper level of respect. If not, well, we could find ourselves in the same abyss as the Giants.
And I don’t think Steeler Nation is prepared for that.