Inside Conditions…Opening ‘slayed’

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AUBREY BRUCE

Sunday Sept. 8, the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off their season against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

They also had a Midget League exhibition at halftime. Hell, as far as I am concerned, maybe the Midget League players should have been allowed to continue.

Last October the Steelers traveled to Tennessee to face the Titans on their home turf and fell short—the Steelers lost 26-23. All of the “local yokels” pointed out that the Titans had home field advantage for the contest in 2012 and such a narrow victory could and maybe should have been expected. One of the primary complaints that graced my eardrums after the loss was about Mike Tomlin’s coaching.

Okay, okay I have not always agreed with all of coach “T’s” decisions but hey, I have not always disagreed with him either. Case in point: let’s compare the last six years of Bill Cowher’s won-lost record to the first six years of Mike Tomlin’s tenure. From 2001-2006 Bill Cowher’s record was 60-32. From 2007-2012 Mike Tomlin’s record is 63-33.

It seems to be the common wisdom spewing from the mouths of the locals that Mike Tomlin inherited Bill Cowher’s team and that, my friends is absolutely, positively correct. But ah, please allow me to expound on these “old wives tales.”

Coach Tomlin became the sole heir to a semi-storied but aging group of athletes. He also lost key players Alan Faneca, Marvel Smith and Jeff Hartings. They also lost key defenders, Joey Porter, Clark Haggans and Kendall Simmons. Coach Tomlin entered the 2013 season with James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis, Max Starks, Willie Colon and Casey “Big Snack” Hampton no longer sporting Black and Gold.

So much for the affirmative action, “Rooney Rule” argument. As I stated previously this is not a rebuilding year, this is a tweaking year. I must now amend that previous tidbit of knowledge because now with the injury to the Steelers All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey there is now some serious doubt as to the production level of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense which already had an O-line which resembled the finest Swiss cheese on the market.

According to a report by by Ed Bouchette/ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “The Steelers have signed veteran center Fernando Velasco to a one-year contract to take the place of injured Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey will have surgery to repair a torn MCL and ACL.”

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