If nothing else, give Mike Tomlin credit for trying something. Granted, he doesn’t have a whole helluva lot to work with, but unlike 2009, when he “unleashed hell” but had his unleashing machine pointing in the wrong direction, he’s saved us the grand proclamations and instead tweaked the roster.
Whether it’s for the better is another question, but I can’t imagine it can get worse. So, for now, Mike Adams is out and Kelvin Beachum is in at left tackle … assuming left guard Ramon Foster returns to the lineup after suffering an arm injury against the Vikings in Week 4. If Foster can’t go, that could mean either Beachum slides inside to left guard and newly acquired Levi Brown gets the nod at left tackle.
Or if Brown isn’t up to speed on the offense (he played for Todd Haley in Arizona so, theoretically, this shouldn’t be a huge issue), Beachum would remain at left tackle and — wait for it — Guy Whimper could start at left guard. This is what I’m calling the NFL equivalent of the doomsday scenario.
Whoever the five guys are in front of Big Ben Sunday, this much is certain: They’re going to have their hands full. I know, I know, you can say that every week. Well, this week I’m really mean it because the Jets’ front four absolutely destroyed a banged-up Falcons O-line and Matt Ryan gets the ball out in 2.54 seconds, 8th fastest in the league, according to PFF. (Surprisingly, Ben is 11th at 2.69 seconds).
Football Outsiders ranks the Jets’ defense 4th (1st against the run, 18th against the pass), and defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson (both former first-rounders ) are destroying would-be blockers.
So there’s that.
Meanwhile, the Steelers’ defense mades some changes, too. Cam Heyward, who has had a solid season after two not-so-good ones, has replaced Ziggy Hood in the starting lineup, though Tomlin said both will play. The bigger news: Stevenson Sylvester, whom the Steelers cut before the season and has been sitting on the couch ever since, was re-signed. Kion Wilson was let go to make room.
In related news: In a recent PPG chat, a reader asked if Sean Spence would return for the final month of the season. Eddie B. was skeptical, but it just reinforces the point that the Steeler have had some crappy luck at inside linebacker in recent years.
It seems to be habit-forming.