I don’t know where one would find the stats for something like this but I’m guessing that Vance McDonald’s stiff-arm will be shown more times than almost any other play through the first quarter of the season. And rightfully so! What McDonald did to Tampa Bay safety Chris Conte was nothing short of punishing, embarrassing and down-right nasty but it also gave us a great view of what the Steelers expected McDonald to bring with him to Pittsburgh.
Just in case you need to see it again, I’m more than happy to oblige you.
This play was indeed indicative of what McDonald is capable of doing, but there were a few other plays in the game too that showed his ability. Altogether, he had four receptions for over 100 yards.
Many fans often ask me what my problem is with Jesse James. I have ZERO problem with Jesse James. My argument as to why McDonald is so important to have on the field was exemplified several times last night. The difference between McDonald and James is that McDonald is much more capable of the ‘catch and run’ than James is. This isn’t a slight on James, it’s truth. And it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate James for what he is.
And what is James you ask? James is a durable, hard-working tight end who shows up every day ready to work regardless of who lines up with him. He’s become a clutch pass catcher for Ben Roethlisberger and his blocking has improved quite a bit in recent seasons. McDonald has often been referred to as “Glass Joe” for his propensity to miss games due to injury. It’s a fair knock and one I’m guessing he wouldn’t shy away from. Being injured and missing games doesn’t exactly sit well with many of these players.
But when McDonald is healthy he has to play and he has to be the number one tight end option for Big Ben. In this world where everyone quickly takes sides, it is possible to appreciate two guys without having to declare a one. McDonald has a little more to his skill set but that makes James no less important. What last night was, was a reminder of why the Steelers traded for McDonald and a reminder of what he’s capable of doing. Now if he can only stay healthy for the long haul.
Photo courtesy: sports.yahoo.com