The Clock Strikes Ben
By now we’ve all heard the defamatory remarks Big Ben made on Pittsburgh’s local radio station KDKA-FM, Sportsradio 93.7, regarding rookie running back Le’Veon Bell and his ability to contribute to the team. Of course it was in the 2004 season when then guard Alan Faneca made the comment about not wanting to play with a ‘college’ quaterback, Faneca speaking of rookie Ben Roethlesberger who was inserted into the line up due to the injury to starter Tommy Maddox. We could only be so lucky as to have Bell make the same impact on the offense as Big Ben did back then. This is of course a different team, far removed from the type of impact players surrounding then starting QB Roethlesberger, and the onus falls more squarely on his shoulders now than it did then. Big Ben is the supposed leader of this team, many of his choices through the years have proven to paint a less than stellar profile of his character, now more than ever he needs to be smart and more than anything, supportive of his teammates.
One thing that’s equally, if not more disturbing about being 0-3, is the fact that we have enough talent on the team to win. The first three games were all winnable, in some form or fashion. Obviously there is a more dramatic change in personnel than the team has seen in recent years, several significant leaders have been either released to retired, replaced by young inexperienced players. I had every expectation the defense would survive with the loss of James Harrions, and certainly the addition of rookie phenom Jarvis Jones shows we’ll be stable in that position for years to come. However, the locker room leaders, players like Casey Hampton, Larry Foote, Marquis Pouncey, and most significantly Hines Ward, are no longer present to keep law and order. A perfect example of how misled the current veteran players are, they hold a meeting two weeks ago to decide how they can best corral this current group of young players, specifically the players who have four years or less experience on the team, as well as anywhere in the NFL. The decision was to ban the rec-room activities so that the younger guys could stay more focused at the task at hand. Hardly a way to treat grown men, but a sure fire way to quickly separate the team. There is no better time to secure unity with this team than now, not divide it.
Rather than make excuses about who’s not here, or opine over the good ol’ days when all was right with the football world. How about just preparing and playing, something they should’ve had more focus on during training camp. I can’t help think the offensive line would be much better off had Sean Kugler stayed, be that as it may, buckle your belts and put your knuckles in the dirt, hit somebody. There’s no denying there’s a considerable amount of toughness missing from this current team, seeing Robert Golden get trucked over by Jay Cutler certainly didn’t help the reputation of the type of defense the Steelers have become known for. But as coach Tomlin always says, it’s who we are and we’ll wear it. Well it’s high time somebody stepped up and got a little angry, not continue to simply boo-hoo and say, we’ll keep working on it and maybe next week we’ll have better luck. I must admit, I kinda miss Coach Bill Cowher at a time like this. If for nothing else, Cowher was always breathing fire, spitting in peoples faces and challenging his players to step up and make a play. Something’s got to give, they’re not going to accomplish anything without the desire to win, and the desire to be great. Former Coach Chuck Noll in most cases put the plan in place, his players were self motivated and hated to loose more than they enjoyed winning. Of course it’s a kinder gentler NFL these days, when broadcaster Chris Collinsworth made the comment a few games back that right guard David de Castro was still emotionally distraught over injuring his teammate Marquise Pouncey, you just had to wonder.
Time to kick some ass!