Inside Conditions…Bad timing

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AUBREY BRUCE

 

Hey everybody hot off the press, according to the Bleacher Report “Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed part of the 2012 NFL regular season with injuries to his ribs and shoulder. This offseason, Big Ben is taking no chances with his long-term health and ability to stay on the field for a full 16-game season. 

[Last]Wednesday, Roethlisberger underwent minor surgery to have some discomfort in his right knee taken care of, a move that is not expected to keep him off his feet when training camp begins later this summer. On the day of the surgery Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin also tweeted that, “Ben Roethlisberger had minor surgery on his right knee that was the result of slight discomfort this offseason.” I am not getting it but with Pittsburgh being in an almost “rebuilding year” and with this procedure being so “minor,” then why wasn’t it performed (the procedure) immediately after the 2012 season ended so that Roethlisberger could have been ready for mini-camp, scheduled for June 11-13, 2013? As far as the eye can see on the brightest side of this scenario, the timing seems to be a bit on the shady side. Hey, don’t want to attend or go through mini-camp its simple have minor surgery just prior to mini-camp. With the Steelers having to deal with major personnel changes on offense as well as the team continuing the process of adjusting to a fairly new offensive coordinator then why wouldn’t everyone be eager to attend mini-camp, beni-camp or any camp just to make sure that everyone was on the same page and to also have a leg up in the “gory blood and guts” AFC North. According to a story by ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley, “when Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was asked about Roethlisberger’s minor knee surgery Suggs told the NFL Network: “You know, it just isn’t the same game when the two teams don’t have all their parts playing. So you’re absolutely right, I do wish him well and I hope for him to have a speedy recovery.” Suggs finished the last line with a big grin, which certainly leaves his comments open to interpretation because from 2004 to 2011, Suggs sacked Roethlisberger 15.5 times, which is more than any other NFL defender during that time.”

When you have a defender wishing you well because it possibly increases his chance of sending you to hell that is bad, really bad. Big Ben through all of his success and glory still has not gotten rid of some rookie and novice tendencies the biggest still being; he continues to hold onto the ball for far too long. When you grip the ball for too long only three things can happen and they are all bad.

1. Just like in real estate when they say location, location, location, in football when you fail to get rid of the football in three seconds or less then sack, sack, sack is the catchphrase for the day.

2. Pick, pick, pick. And I am not referring to the “pick six lottery” or any other game of chance but any quarterback takes a gargantuan chance when they launch the ball after three and one half seconds. Why? Well now you have given the defensive back a chance to read and diagnose the play even if he has to read Braille to do it and most slow developing plays, especially pass plays do not normally bode well for the offense and coupled with the Steelers questionable O-line, well as Charlie Chan used to say, “things could very well get a bit tricky.”

3. The “guillotine syndrome.” According to history guillotines were used as execution instruments and really became popular during the French revolution. The wealthy and upper crust were relieved of their “noggins” rather unceremoniously. Well, when an NFL quarterback is stressed and has to rush his delivery the pass may bounce harmfully off the turf or may sail just high enough that the outstretched arms of the intended receiver may just be the last photo taken of him before he is relieved of his cranium and all of the contents within. There is no time for slacking and B’s-ing. The Steelers are in a dogfight in the AFC North and contrary to popular belief they have a chance to win a championship but they have to play all of their cards right. There can be no false posturing and chest thumping. Bluffing and false moves will be exposed instantly and the consequences will be dire and swift. There are no weak teams in the Steelers division. From a roster perspective every team in the AFC North has a legitimate shot at winning the division title so every division game will be a potential season breaker. See folks the AFC North is so strong there may be two even three teams that may earn wild card berths. They can ill afford to lose any game during the upcoming season because two of their member teams in the AFC North, the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals, have made major and vital upgrades to their rosters and seem to be “primed for bear.” There is virtually no room for error if the Steelers are going to make a run for a Lombardi Trophy. One of the positive things that they have done is sign their first and second round draft picks linebacker Jarvis Jones and running back Le’Veon Bell early, therefore eliminating distractions among a very young team prior to mini-camp and training camp. Big Ben had better begin to perform to justify the money that the Steelers have forked out because time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into his and the Steelers future. If the “franchise” quarterback label that they have hung around his neck is for real then he had better live up to the hype because the last time I checked, “the guillotine has no kin.”

(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@new­pittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)

 

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