Don’t stop breathing, Steelers Nation.
Although we’re certainly entering the kennel district in terms of the quality of our play, we’re still in the major leagues, at least for now.
Although the team’s 0-3 start is enough to make you want to spit on a stranger, there is no reason for us to panic and get rattled by the rush.
Now. If we lose to the Cincinnati Bengals in front of the world on Monday Night Football, then by all means…PANIC!
In fact, panic is probably not the right word. That would falsely communicate that there would still be a chance to survive a mess of a season.
Sadly, if that happens, it would also signal the dark, foreboding smoke of hopelessness would already be drifting into the future as well. Because, it would mean we’d also be stuck with this grave architecture the Steelers front office and Mike Tomlin are building out now with the rapid dismantling of our 2020 NFL Draft.
What do you read in all of this? Hopefully, it’s, “So you mean we still have a chance?”
Yes we do. It’s just going to need a really, really, good Spin.
Safety In Numbers
Is Minkah Fitzpatrick worth the number one overall draft pick of the 2020 NFL Draft? Because, the road to that particular destination could certainly go through Pittsburgh this year. Unless, there is a major and instantaneous shift in their play, then the Steelers recent surprising trade to the Miami Dolphins may very well cash out as a top five overall pick or…gasp…better.
Yeah…I don’t how many safeties who have EVER played in the NFL are worth a pick in that rarified air of the draft.
Still, you’ve got to admit that Fitzpatrick was able to make a strong impression after jumping in on the Steelers defense. His presence was immediately felt.
Which is good news. Yet, it also tells us two things.
One, is he has the talent we haven’t had at that position for a while…even though we’ve invested multiple high picks in trying to chase it down.
Secondly, all of that coaching up the other guys have received the past couple of years didn’t really seem to add up that much. How else could Fitzpatrick look more in synch to the flow of play than anyone else in the secondary after only a few practices?
Remarkably. Fitzpatrick didn’t seem to struggle too much with communication. Interesting.
But wait! That’s not all. The Steelers traded away next year’s fifth round selection to the Seattle Seahawks for tight end Nick Vannett this week.
How will that work out for us? Well…the early tape review isn’t revealing the next George Kittle is now donning the Black and Gold.
Vannett might end up being a solid acquisition for the Steelers in that he is tough, has good hands and can block.
But, it does lead us to this question: What the heck is going on!
Most bottom basement dwelling teams would be seriously stashing away as many draft picks as possible. In fact, they would be doing whatever they can to acquire more. But the Steelers?
Either this is a completely delusional front office going all in on a pair of twos, or they see something in this team this year that we have not.
Misery loves company and because of this the Steelers have two dear friends in the division with the Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) and the Cleveland Browns (1-2), as their fans’ season tickets are looking like junk bonds as well.
But, don’t expect any random act of kindness from the Baltimore Ravens whose record fell to 2-1 last Sunday, but only after narrowly losing to the high flying Kansas City Chiefs by the score of 28-33.
It actually was a highly entertaining and well fought game by what already appears to be two of the top contenders in the AFC this year.
The Ravens are for real this year, with a young quarterback who looks like he’ll haunt Pittsburgh for years to come.
But it will be their defense again, that leads the way. They played better than the Chiefs score would lead you to believe and they dominated their two opening games.
You have to hand it to Baltimore. Their identity has never wavered since Ray Lewis was drafted. Even with the churning of quality players, every year they manage to produce a tough, hard-nosed defense that inflicts pain when you play them.
Wait? Didn’t that used to be our identity?
The New Kid
With all of the well-earned hype surrounding the NFL debut of quarterback Daniel Jones of the New York Giants last week, you wouldn’t be wrongly envious in wishing Mason Rudolph had a better fate against the San Francisco 49ers in his opening salvo.
Instead, from the start, he looked nervous, rushed, indecisive and inaccurate. At least, that was the case for the first half of play.
What WAS impressive, was that Rudolph was able to brush off the adversity of a flop of a start and come back strong in the second half of play.
We’ve had a long parade of disappointments at the position of quarterback for players not named Terry or Ben.
But, Mason will not be one of them. He’ll need some time, but he’ll be a winner for the Steelers and it will be enjoyable to watch him grow along with his young group of receivers.
Earning Their Stripes
What would be a dream matchup for the Steelers in order to quell the growing clamor among the towel spinning angry mobs? How about a home game against the Bungles, who are also winless.
It looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys. Or at least it better be.
If this ends up being another hefty serving of basil infused tofu, we might as well jump into that molten lava lake with Smeagle. Cause at that point, any hope of getting a ring this year will have melted…my precious.
Yet, a glimmer of hope does indeed remain.
So, until then. We dance.