Normally when news breaks from the Steel City I immediately sit down and start writing my opinion of said news. Today I tried a different tactic. When the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they had re-signed 12-year veteran Brett Keisel I stayed away from the laptop.
I did my best to consider why the Steelers made the decision to bring back Keisel and all that I can come up with is that they know they are getting gashed by the opposition’s rushing attack right now.
I wrote about this just the other day following the Bills game. Buffalo rushed for 150 yards and the New York Giants rushed for 171 yards against Dick LeBeau’s defense. You can scream about it being the preseason all you want to but facts are facts. This defense is getting beat up front.
Keisel signed for the veteran minimum earlier today just when it looked as though he was heading to Arizona. He decided he didn’t want to be away from the family in Pittsburgh all season and I certainly can’t blame him for that.
Keisel will bring leadership and experience to a very young defensive line. He will also bring a presence in the locker room that is positive as well. Those are good things and they can’t be dismissed by any of us. Where I find the negative in this move is on the defensive line and with Keisel himself.
The mere fact that the Steelers felt it necessary to bring back Keisel tells me they have very serious concerns about their front three. Maybe not the starters, but certainly the depth. Perhaps Stephon Tuitt isn’t progressing as well as we thought? Maybe Cam Thomas is living up to his reputation as a sometimes ‘lazy player?’ Does the problem sit with Steve McLendon?
It’s obviously something and Dick LeBeau nor Mike Tomlin will ever come right out and say it but there’s an issue with the front three or they wouldn’t be making this move. My concerns about Keisel are this; are we going to get the Brett Keisel we saw at the end of 2013 who had two sacks in the final two games?
Or are we going to see the guy who struggles to stay healthy and is more concerned with his beard than anything else? I know and you know what Keisel is capable of doing, but I hope we get the guy who makes plays and nothing else.
I have great respect for Keisel. A seventh round draft pick who has this type of career is a rare accomplishment in the NFL today and Keisel has more than proven himself but time has caught up with him. It will also be time he is taking away from the younger guys as well.
The problems on the front line must be worse than we thought regardless of how cheap re-signing Keisel was and that’s not a good thing.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on Trib-Live Radio
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