“Have to clean up some things down there at the goal line. The run comes first. We'll fix that. Gotta get the run game going.” - Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Will Johnson
will be more difficult if rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is out for
an extended period, and, if so, greatly hinders any real playoff hopes.
the Steelers 22-20 loss Thursday night to the rival Baltimore Ravens,
Bell, who appeared to lose consciousness, fell backwards into the end
zone for what was originally ruled a touchdown, but the rookie running
back was ruled down just short of the end zone because his helmet came
off before the ball broke the plane. - http://tinyurl.com/osvtasu
Ben Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Jericho Cotchery on a quick slant
for a 1-yard touchdown, but fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders was unable
to hang on to a potential game-tying two-point conversion pass on the
(Sanders) had a corner just come into the game, so I went to him,” Big
Ben said. “You get so close, but it's a tough team, tough environment,
and I've got to make plays down the stretch.”
the game, though, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin after the game
implied that Manny wasn't the primary target. It seems he was correct,
or at least that Cotchery felt that way too. - http://tinyurl.com/nnm5eys
was open (on the two-point attempt), but a quarterback has a lot of
decisions to make,” Cotchery said. “The touchdown (play) was going to be
the 2-point play call, but we had to go with it.”
for Bell, he got more than his rung and was promptly taken to the
locker room and examined for a concussion. The Steelers haven't as of
yet given an update in his status. But it would be a bad blow if they're
forced to go without their leading rusher the final four games.
the initial quote alluded to, getting the ground game going was and is
important. Starting the game with five straight runs isn't exactly the
way to do that, but that was done as part of a patient *ahem* gameplan
due to the presence of Elvis Dumervil.
were just starting to see Bell's potential and wanted also to establish
his presence. Bell has rushed for 528 yards in nine games this season,
had developed into a good every-down running back and a very good
receiver out of the backfield (his 29-yard catch-and-run got the team to
the Ravens 20-yard line on the near game-tying drive). His previous
best game had been against the Ravens, and he then was repeating that
against them again.
However, his wasn't the only injury sustained Thursday.
Steelers team announced Saturday that center Fernando Velasco had been
placed on injured reserve with an Achilles tendon injury. The 28-year
old had stepped into the starting lineup after Maurkice Pouncey suffered
ACL and MCL tears in the Steelers’ season-opening loss to the Titans.
Wallace replaced him and finished out the game. Steelers also announced
that they signed former Saints center/guard Eric Olsen and former
Browns offensive tackle Rashad Butler. Wallace and Olsen are now the
Beachum and Mike Adams were also hurt in the game. But Beachum won't likely be switched to
center because the offensive line has been playing very well, better
than they have in a long time, and cannot withstand any further shifts.
They also released cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke.
But what does this mean for the rest of the season? How will the team react to losing the game and one or more players?
don't expect any quit,” a resolute Big Ben said after almost pulling
off yet another fourth-quarter comeback. “We haven't quit to this point.
I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to fight my butt off all the way
to the end.”
The same should be expected from the rest of the team.
some teams might (and have in the past) tank the remaining games to
better position themselves for a higher draft pick, the Steelers won't
Ben has said more than once that he never wants to have a losing
record. To this point in his career, he hasn't. Last season was his
worst record as starting NFL QB to date, a record that may be duplicated
this: many veterans on the team have at least one Super Bowl ring. A
few have two. Big Ben, Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel and Ryan Clark have a
lot of pride, and losing hurts. Being that several, including some of
the above mentioned, won't be on the team next season, it is something
that they are not used to and isn't how they want to end their stay.
But, while the Steelers could still reach a 9-7 record, wouldn't a 5-11 record be better come the last weekend in April?
there is little value in the Steelers tanking their remaining four
games of the season to ensure such a final record as it would likely
only result in a selection three or four picks higher. Because, if they
set their sights on a particular player within their reach, say in the
14-to-18 range, moving up two or three spots wouldn't affect them.
in point, last year they wanted Jarvis Jones. Period. If the team had
lost the last one or two games they would have has a higher draft pick,
but they still would've selected Jones.
draft position does not always equate to draft success. There are busts
every year and surprises every year. Drafting is an inexact science and
is a challenge for all NFL teams. All still must make the right
selection if they are going to have any success.
only that, but losing games means potentially losing your job. That
goes for the players and coaches alike, and we all know that the Rooneys
are patient with their coaches. But that doesn't go for assistants as
much as it does for head coaches.
general manager Kevin Colbert may feel the pressure as well given the
lack of production from recent draft classes. As a point of reference,
no players remain on the roster from the 2008 draft class.
the Steelers won't fold, won't mail it in. Too much rides on their
licking their wounds and finishing out their season on a positive note.
Too much pride. While they may not dare to dream of a run reminiscent of
the 2005 run, their sights are still set straight ahead.