Since head coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t think it’s “time to press the panic button,” I don’t expect to see significant changes to the line-up when the Pittsburgh Steelers meet the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night. To paraphrase Trib columnist Dejan Kovacevic, he seems content to keep banging his head against the wall. Too bad when Tomlin was busy looking up big fancy words to use incorrectly during his press conference, he didn’t bother taking a look at the definition of insanity.
in·san·i·ty [inˈsanitē/] – doing the same thing over and over but hoping for a different result
Maybe the Steeler don’t need to push the panic button. But they for damn sure need to make some changes. Every week, fantasy football gurus do some version of a Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em column where they list various players and describe why or why not you should start them on your team. In that spirit, I’ll list a handful of Steelers and explain why they should or shouldn’t see more playing time going forward.
Jerricho Cotchery – The Cotch Rocket has been targeted 16 times this season, catching 7 balls for 93 yards. A less than 50% completion percentage isn’t good for a quarterback, why should it be acceptable from a wide receiver?
Drops aside, the problem with Cotchery is he doesn’t bring anything to the offense that they don’t already have. When the Steelers acquired him he was billed as being a Poor Man’s Hines Ward. Since then, he’s become an even Poorer Man’s Hines as his already limited speed has eroded. At this point, he’s a decent possession type receiver, nothing more. The Steelers need more.
The #3 slot receiver has been a big play position for the Steelers ever since Mike Wallace lined up there his rookie season. When Wallace moved up to starter, Antonio Brown made his name in the slot. Cotchery just isn’t giving you the kind of production you’ve gotten in years past. And with a decisively less explosive set of receivers on the outside, it’s important to have at least one big play threat out there somewhere.
Markus Wheaton has taken 5 snaps to Cotchery’s 47. Enough is enough. Wheaton should be the main slot receiver going forward.
Felix Jones – Until Le’Veon Bell returns, Jones is the team’s best option at running back. Period. 10 carries for 37 yards isn’t setting the world on fire but at least Jones seems capable of running behind the itsy bitsy holes opened by our sub-par line. I know I’ve chewed this cabbage more than once but Isaac Redman should not be starting. He should barely even be playing. On Monday night, Jones acquitted himself perfectly well in the first half. In the second, he was benched in favor of Redman, who they even used as a pass catcher out of the backfield. This is absolutely moronic. If you want to use One Yard Redman as a change of pace, whatever, but there’s absolutely no good reason to be throwing him passes when you have an excellent third down back on your sideline.
Redman in short yardage/goal line situations-Jones as primary back and in third down/passing formations. I’m not sure why this is so complicated.
Jarvis Jones – Jones did start this past Monday and performed admirably. While he got the vast majority of snaps, 60 to Jason Worilds‘ 27, it’s not enough. Jones finished behind only Troy Polamalu with 8 tackles against the Bengals. Worilds didn’t record a single tackle. In the two games thus far, Jones has 11 tackles and a handful of quarterback pressures. Worilds has three tackles, total.
Going forward, Jones should get all the snaps he can handle.
Marcus Gilbert – The offensive line is a mess with the tackles being the key perpetrators in this atrocity against Ben Roethlisberger. Neither one has looked particularly good but RT Gilbert played poorly during the preseason and has continued to struggle into the season. The Steelers already use Kelvin Beachum as a sixth lineman/blocking tight end to help out either Gilbert or LT Mike Adams. If they need help, they probably shouldn’t be starting.
It’s time Kelvin Beachum moved into the starting line-up. With any luck, perhaps that will stabilize at least one side of the line. At this point, it couldn’t get much worse.