Three weeks into the pre-season, the Steelers find themselves at 1-2. It wouldn’t matter if they were 3-0 or 0-3 however as it’s all meaningless, in terms of record. It’s not without meaning however, in terms of positional battles, areas of need and handling of players.
Here are few thoughts on each:
One major area of need is quite obviously the secondary. Despite picking Artie Burns in round one and Sean Davis in round two, the secondary is the weakest unit on the squad. So much so that the team brought in veteran and former Steeler Keenan Lewis for a look to see if they wanted to sign the injury prone corner after he was cut by the Saints earlier this week. After bringing him in, the black and gold chose not to proceed, much to the chagrin of the many screaming fans in Steeler Nation who know this team needs another experienced corner.
Quite honestly, the fans have a real point here. I believe the team could have signed him for the veteran minimum to see what he can still bring to the table. Let’s not forget, at this point, Will Gay is the number one corner on the team, to me, that’s problematic. The team felt they were better off without Lewis a couple of years ago when they let him walk for more money and the clearly felt that way again when they didn’t re-sign him this week but they have paid the price for not bringing him back once before and they very well could again this time around too.
Moving on to Landry Jones and his constant battle to be the backup to Big Ben and the quarterback that Pittsburgh fans love. Many have screamed that Jones should go and doesn’t have what it takes, I’ve preached the opposite. What we saw on Friday night, to me, proved he does have backup stuff. The man was 19-22 for 206 yards and a touchdown. Yes, he played against the backups but that’s what he is and in this league, even in the pre-season, going 19-22 is fantastic. He’s not Big Ben and he’s not a starter in the NFL but he is a decent enough backup who can fill in when needed on a short term basis. Give the kid a bit more slack.
Lastly, the Tomlin decisions this pre-season to sit many of the veteran players has been spot on. We’ve seen plenty of injuries over the years with this team, Cam Heyward just the other day not withstanding and Tomlin is trying to avoid that with his prime time guys like Big Ben, A.B., Bell, Williams and the likes. I’ve been hard on Tomlin on various issues over the years but this time he’s due some credit for making an intelligent decision.
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association http://www.steelnationassociation.com– Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.