Sunday Is the First Day of the Rest of the Steelers’ Season

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.

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  • Eric

    I wonder if Mike Adams is really recovered from being stabbed? I can’t tell how much of his issues are mental vs physical.

    • Rob D

      Funny, I had that thought run through my head today as well, Eric. We just assume these guys are warriors, I guess. I’m not giving up on Mike..he was pretty good at RT last year. He’s a good athlete and wil figure in to a rebuilt line next year, IMO.

  • ryan

    Adams said getting jacked in June had nothing to do with his on-field performance but what’s he going to say, right?

    Either way, I hope Adams is better than what we saw over the first month of the season because, well, he’s been awful.

  • Eric

    Steelers signed Will Allen.

    Season saved.

    • Rob D

      woo… if we can just get Frank the Tank on the phone!

      I don’t think anything is saving this season, but I like the fact that they are starting to play Heyward as a starter and arent’ waiting for 8 more games or so to make the change at LT (even though Beachum/Brown doesn’t exactly get the blood pumping for me) It’s one of those rare seasons where they should be looking past the current year and seeing what they’ve got in the younger guys. I don’t think they are going to win more than 5 or 6 games when it’s all done so they’ve got to be looking at the draft position they might have in the offseason. And does that include QB?

      I would say they are open to any player at this point. but I think they should draft a LT first and foremost. EVen they can’t blow a top 5 pick on O-line…or can they? They have an example to ponder on the roster in no. 5 overall pick..Levi Brown.

      • Intropy

        If the Steelers win then they should continue aggressive spot changes as needed. If they lose, especially if it’s bad, then burn it down. Winning stops being important. Spend the season evaluating and developing young talent and protecting players you already know are great from injuries. Use the data to improve yourself next year. Use the high draft pick as bait to pick up a couple of high selections. To fill the holes you now know you have.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    The Allen signing by itself isn’t all that significant. But I like each roster move (signing Allen, Sylvester, Dwyer, Velasco and trading from Levi Brown), the lineup tweaks (benching Adams, starting Heyward, giving Gay more time until Cortez is fully recovered) and more guys getting healthy recently (including Bell, Heath, David Johnson, Will Johnson) than getting hurt (Wheaton, Foster, Ben’s finger). Hopefully, these will cumulatively lead to better talent and better play on the field.

  • ryan

    I was a guest on podcast with good buddy, Brian Bassett. You can listen here (Kaboly was also a guest, but if you’re only interested in the important things I have to say, fast forward to 31:00:

  • Eric

    Holy shit, Haley is a disaster. I was willing to be reserve judgement but you know, smoke, fire. And right now the smoke is visible from space.