The first step that any of us need to take on the road to redemption is to just admit that we screwed up. It’s tough, don’t get me wrong, to fess up to one’s transgressions but the longer you go without doing it the more difficult it becomes to do so.
The poster-child for this is Pittsburgh Steelers’ General Manager Kevin Colbert.
Colbert’s inability to admit, or to make moves that admit many of his drafts and free agent signings have failed, is hurting the team. Look no further than the roster that will be revealed today.
In an effort to be fair, Colbert has found plenty of gems in the NFL Draft and free agency such as Antonio Brown, Kelvin Beachum and Ryan Clark, but this is a “What have you done for me lately” business and his business hasn’t been good.
Already, four of nine players from the 2014 Draft are gone. More than half of the Steelers’ 2012 Draft has left town and the 2011 Draft has just three players remaining. Those numbers might even run with the league average of players who remain and leave from certain draft classes but there’s a larger problem.
The guys in the top four rounds of the draft, where your foundation-building players are meant to be selected, has been ugly.
Dri Archer will make this roster for example yet he has proven unable to be an effective player. The jury is still out on Jarvis Jones but they are getting ready to come back with a very negative verdict should he do little this season. This year’s top selection Bud Dupree may end up being a Hall of Fame player for all I know but when his most news-worthy event is a temper tantrum I have my doubts.
Even Ryan Shazier, of whom so much is expected this year, is still a question mark. Can he stay healthy? Can he consistently make plays? Both are fair questions.
I probably could have built this entire article around Landry Jones but I don’t think any of us need a refresher on that do we?
The guy drafted four spots ahead of Jones may be the biggest question mark of all though. Shamarko Thomas is supposed to be the heir apparent to Steelers’ future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu but he has done nothing to make any of us think he’s capable of being stable at the position.
The guy next to him, Mike Mitchell, has to this point been a failure. Mitchell claims he played hurt all of last season and he may well have but that only makes his performance this year that much more important.
One of Colbert’s biggest gaffes recently was the decision to put defensive end Josh Mauro on the practice squad last year. He was quickly scooped up by the Arizona Cardinals and went on to play in five games and start two of them. Not exactly impressive stats right?
Actually, they are because the Steelers are desperate for defensive line help. One source told me the Steelers are actually hoping Mauro gets cut by the Cardinals because they would take him back in a heartbeat. But wouldn’t this move be an admission of a screw up by Colbert? Uh-oh.
Speaking of the Steelers’ defensive line, isn’t it fair to question why Colbert and Mike Tomlin chose to move Anthony Chickillo to outside linebacker? Wouldn’t he have been a perfect fit at his more normal defensive end position right now when you factor in how many four-man fronts the Steelers have been using?
Instead, Chickillo will be a special teams’ player only at nearly 40 lbs lighter than he should be.
The real problem with all of this is that Colbert refuses to acknowledge his poor decisions have come home to roost. The depth on this team is weaker than any time in recent memory and it all stems from Colbert’s stubborn attitude.
Landry Jones will occupy yet another roster spot that should go to a more deserving player and so will Dri Archer. I thought Kevin Fogg had done more than enough to deserve a roster spot yet he’s already been released. Why? Probably because he’s more expendable then fourth round pick Doran Grant who if he as cut would be an admitted failure.
Being an NFL General Manager is thankless. It really is. I praised the front office earlier this week when they were able to move Brad Wing to the Giants for a late-round pick. It helped replace the pick lost when they traded for kicker Josh Scobee.
That’s small consolation though for where the Steelers find themselves today. If Colbert would just admit that some of his moves have failed by releasing guys and signing more productive ones, the Steelers would be better off. That’s not going to happen though.
Taking that all-important first step towards admitting you have a problem is tough but having Landry Jones and Dri Archer on the roster is far more important than actually having players that can contribute right Kevin?