The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Do you agree with Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s decision to bench Martavis Bryant for the Lions game?
I asked yesterday what you thought the discipline would be for wide receiver Martavis Bryant following his remarks on social media that have caused some unnecessary drama surrounding the team over the course of the past couple of weeks.
I said at the time that I didn’t have enough information to determine what course of action would be fair to take, beyond suspending Bryant’s social media rights for a while. I don’t follow many players’ social media, so I don’t know if he’s going to go dark, but he did say that Tomlin told him he won’t play because of “social media”.
Even though I don’t know the full details of everything involved, as I said yesterday, I find that I can’t disagree with Tomlin’s decision. Ultimately, he took a sincere shot a teammate in a public forum and insulted a fan while lashing out, implying that he wants to be traded.
He regretted the comments enough to delete them, but it was just the catalyst for all the dialogue that has taken place since then, which he said he did not regret. He will now have a couple of weeks to think over his situation and how he will take on the second half of the season.
Players have responded well in the past to Tomlin’s benching, so that is at least a good sign, even though there is no clear correlation. Even if JuJu Smith-Schuster were unable to clear the concussion protocol this week, I don’t think that would, or should, change the decision to sit him.
The situation surrounding Bryant is obviously bigger than any one game—or at least any one regular season game. And it’s good timing with the bye week coming after. The coaching staff can at least talk about how to give Bryant more opportunities to succeed and help the team out in the meantime.