Steelers Spin: Bye, Bye Blues

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They walk aimlessly through the streets of desolation; their minds lifeless, their bodies dragging, without purpose, or even without a pulse.

Are we describing the filming of the next episode of the Walking Dead? No. It’s Steelers Nation during a Bye Week.

The horror. The horror.

I mean, if they are going to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a Bye on the schedule, why not just cancel football for the week?

We can all use the weekend to go to the Third Annual Apple Peeling Festival, or something equally exciting.

But, even though Coach Mike Tomlin and the boys are kicking their heels up this week, this is not so for your faithful servants of Steelers Depot. The Spin goes on…

Faded Memories?

One of the biggest questions leading into the 2017 season was how much the Steelers would miss departing Pittsburgh favorite Lawrence Timmons. His successor, Vince Williams, was quick to state he would help fans forget about Timmons. So halfway into the year, how is that prediction faring? Well…if we judge it purely on sacks, Williams is doing phenomenally well with his forecast. Even in Timmons best years, he wasn’t a sackmeister. Williams currently has four sacks, and if his pace continues he would end the season with eight, which for a Steelers inside linebacker is top notch.

Yet, if you look at total tackles, it isn’t hard for Steelers Nation to pine for the days when the Law Dawg was ruling the middle of the defense. During his Steelers career, Timmons was almost always the team leader in tackles. Last year, while being considered “over the hill” by many of his detractors, he had 114 total tackles (78 solos, 36 assists). Williams, on the other hand, is on pace for only 84 total tackles (66 solos, 18 assists). His current totals put him at 55th in the league for combined tackles, not where you want your tackling linebacker to be if you’re competing to have a Top Five defense.

The assist total is particularly troubling because it means, as a middle linebacker, Williams is too often out of the play. Whether it’s a lack of explosion or merely the inability to get off of blocks, Williams will need to improve in this area if the team is going to perform better against the run. In his defense, the scheme has changed this year for the Steelers as compared to last year. Also, this is his first year as a full time starter, so he is deserving of patience. As for his linebacking partner, Ryan Shazier, the one Steelers fans mistakenly malign for missing tackles? He’s on pace for 128 combined tackles this season, which puts him tied for sixth in the league.

Mad Shopping Spree

The word is out. The Steelers top brass have sent their scouts out to the farthest reaches of the Seven Kingdoms. They are seeking their next franchise quarterback. Only those with a strong arm, pin point accuracy and a chill in their veins need apply.

The plan is pure brilliance with the 2018 NFL Draft aiming to be one of the richest quarterback crops since…well…the 2004 draft where QB Ben Roethlisberger was joyfully and historically plucked with the Steelers eleventh pick. My request, on behalf of myself and all Bloggers and sports journalists, is that his replacement has an easier to spell last name. Even though it’s on the back of the jersey I wear each week, I still have to Google it for every Spin.

Here’s The Better Plan

I think the Steelers should spend their 1st, 2nd and 3rd draft picks on a quarterback in 2018. I’m a Josh Dobbs fan, so I’d include him in the mix as well. When it comes to franchise ball throwers, you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs to get your next prince.

But this isn’t the BEST plan. The best plan is Big Ben decides to fully rededicate himself to the game and puts in another three to five solid years while his successor develops. No more retirement talk until your last day Ben, because Chuck Noll was right all along. For the first time in a long time, just focus on peak performance and top form in the offseason. And for inspiration, watch more James Harrison video posts, please.

Anyone who is still going to argue that Ben’s retirement talk at the beginning of the year wasn’t both a major distraction to the team’s offense and a detriment to his preparation for this year is wasting Internet bandwidth with mindless garble.

And Then A Wrestling Match Broke Out…

So…the “Weight Lifter” touchdown celebration is the next performance of this year’s regrettable series and…apparently…Steelers fans are eating this up like the rainbow colored marshmallow treats in a bowl of Lucky Charms.

And now…we hear the breaking news that rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster has literally dozens of these Hollywood B Movies sketched out? Gosh…I truly want to love the kid. I mean, he blocks like Hines Ward and is a talented young man, who is well respected in the locker room and has high character to boot, it would seem.

But now I never want him to score again…ever.

Shame on me, I guess, for being a purveyor of the tattered glories of classic football. You know, back to the time where players shared spontaneous expressions of joy and teamwork when they hit paydirt. But, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe football should not be about the game itself, but should be all about entertainment.

I say if we’re going to do it, we should go all in. Push them chips into the center of the green felt table. Let’s replace authentic, heartfelt celebrations with totally cheesy entertainment. Heck…let’s get rid of that meddlesome authenticity and purity of the sport and replace it with highly entertaining contrivance.

Our first step will be to replace Commissioner Roger Goodell with Vince McMahon of the World Wrestling Entertainment who REALLY knows how to entertain. For now on, each team will choreograph all of the plays in the game for the purpose of maximum entertainment.

Imagine this! Every snap of the ball, is a diving, game winning reception. Shoot, there will be Immaculate Receptions every other play. The coaches will run across the field three or four times a game and smack each other with folding chairs. The referees will be pantsed and given wedgies as they ride unicycles and, on occasion, are shot out of canons to start the game. Maybe they’ll just be shooting Goodell out of the cannon as he will be looking for another job anyway.

This is GREAT! You all have convinced me of your vision for the game. I LOVE the new touchdown celebrations.

And That’s Why They Play The Game…

They play the game, so I can have more substance to write about in the Spin. While we’re banning touchdown celebrations, can we eliminate bye weeks as well? That’s it for now. I’m off to wander the streets aimlessly, seeking out those hard to find brains.

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