Life Without Ben
The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived, after a 2-2 finish sans our marquee Quarterback, Big Ben will be under center against Division leading Bungles at Heinz Field October 31, and Steeler Nation couldn’t be happier. This has been an injury plagued season thus far, but if history has shown us anything, adversity does create winning Football. Let’s hope that’s the case this year when we’ve got to fight for that playoff spot come December.
From anemic to hopeful has been the state of the Offense behind washed up veteran signal caller Mike Vick and third year third string QB Landry Jones. Not certain why Jones didn’t get a nod when it came time to replace Ben in the first place, Coach Tomlin will tell you it’s because he hadn’t taken a snap in a regular season NFL game, logic will tell you in addition to the fact he’s taken more snaps in pre-season then any other Quarterback, he’s in his third year with the team and knows the play book well enough to run the offense, which turned out to be the case.
We can thank the much improved Defense for keeping us in games, and the fact we didn’t turn the ball over until the Chief’s game weighed heavily in our favor. And of course getting one of our big play makers back in Martavis Bryant didn’t hurt matters much either. It’s safe to say Landry Jones has at least secured a second string back up role moving forward, which should bode well assuming no one snatches him up when his contract expires, which will be at the end of this year actually. Good back ups are very hard to find, Jones being drafted by the Steelers, will hopefully pay dividends further down the road.
What looked as if it was going to be the biggest train wreck of the 2015 Season has shown to be a solid work in progress that is surely going to improve, especially down the stretch when we really need them. Keith Butler has shown improvement as well, in certain areas of course, but looks to be a sound replacement for the now departed Dick Lebeau.
The addition of Cornerback Ross Cockrell and the improved play of Free Safety Mike Mitchell, has made this a more stable unit from front to back. I would not expect maligned defender Cortez Allen to remain with the team after the 2015 campaign has ended, since signing his big contract he’s been benched, and has spent the majority of his time on the bench and in the hot tub. Fortunately the Steelers have a very strong front seven with Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt holding down the ends, they will need to find a replacement at nose guard as neither Steve McClendon or Daniel McCallurs has shown the muscle to hold down the middle.
Still a relative week spot on this 2015 team, the Steelers would be wise to find a new Special Teams Coach if they want to see more disciplined play in the kick off and punt return dept. However, it’s looking as if the new place kicker Boswell is working out fine, not bad for the fourth kicker to join the team.
There’s plenty of people who are ready to run the Coaching Staff out of town when things go awry, especially Coach Tomlin. But you’ve got to give a ton of credit to the Coaching, they are weathering the storm and the improvement in the Defense alone speaks volumes about this unit.
We will take 4-3, with the return of Big Ben the rest of the season will certainly not be smooth sailing, but at least we’ll have a fighting chance.