I’m really excited to have the amazing duo of Jason Robinson and Jayden Matthews join me for my new and ongoing series “Three Questions With…” This is where I give journalists, bloggers, fans etc three questions about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jason and Jayden host the very informative and thought-provoking blog Ifitaintsteel.blogspot.com.
Please make sure you check them out especially now as the season is underway. Without further ado, Three Questions With Ifitaintsteel.
SCB: What will it take for the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers to make the playoffs?
Jason: As good as the defense has the chance again to be, the road to the playoffs is paved by the offense. The potential is for this group to be, once they become completely acclimated with the offense and each other, something spectacular. The quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, is embracing more of a structured style that will help to elongate his career, while still maintaining his gunslinger persona. Not only that, but he’s coming off of a year that ended below his standards with an ending that left a bitter taste in his mouth.
The wide receivers, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery and Plaxico Burress, are veterans who know what needs to be done and what each individually needs to do. Whether it’s explosion, splash plays, moving the chain or separation in the red zone, each has a job and an expertise. Add to that, there are rookies, led by third-round draft pick Markus Wheaton, who have the potential to make the coaches make a decision to maybe keep six wideouts again.
While we could go through each position on offense, the main key may just be the offensive line. Last season, there were three straight games, the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins and New York Giants, where the Steelers had a 100-yard runner and a win. The connection? They started the same offensive line for the three games.
Bottom line: Keep the running game going and keep Big Ben’s uniform clean.
Jayden: I, and we, have written about Goodell and his inconsistencies many times. In each one, we’ve said the same thing, that he needs to be consistent and follow through with what he said from the beginning that he was going to do. He too often has no fist in his glove.
An example of something needing to be done is what just happened with the Philadelphia Eagles’ Riley Cooper. As Commissioner, I don’t care if every Black player on Cooper’s team loves him and has his back in this, I would employ the CBA and suspend him. Racial, gender, sexual orientation, religious and cultural hatreds have no place in my league. My writing partner is a Black man, a man whom I hope to be my partner in all areas of my life, and is in no important way any different from anyone else. So to hear such vulgarities sickens me.
So then, what do I do to curb these offenses? Lump all issues under the PCP together and suspend accordingly. Offenses such as Cooper’s is the same as drinking and driving in my NFL. Drug offenses would be handled the same as the MLB’s policy. They suspend 50 games for the first offense, 100 for the second and then for an entire season on the third offense, with the player having to go before the league to asked to be reinstated. I would do the same for the NFL. They have 162 games and we have 16, so the drug/PED suspensions would be 5, 10 and then the season.
Jason: No. This will be the shortest answer, also. It’s because if the Rooney’s are patient enough to deal with Bill Cowher having two straight actual losing seasons and three straight years of missing the playoffs, they are patient enough to handle one or two seasons with 8 or 9 wins and two non-playoff seasons. Plus, Tomlin has two Super Bowl appearances with one win, where Cowher had just the one losing appearance.
You can follow Jason on Twitter @SteelerJsun and Jayden @JadyGirl7.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.