I think I’ve made my stance on the Steelers signing Mike Vick pretty clear. I hate it. I hate him. I think his crimes are vile and beyond forgiveness. And his presence on this roster prevents me from being able to root for this club the same way I had my whole life.
No, I haven’t cooled off. Yes, I still think it’s THAT bad. That emotional detachment came in handy Saturday night though as the Bills were beating Pittsburgh 43-19. (Ok, let me edit myself for a second here. ANY pre-season game should be covered with emotional detachment.) Because if I did have my heart in that game…imagine how concerned I’d be!?
Damn, that was ugly! The Bills have a good team. But a lot of it (Shady McCoy, Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin) were out. And the biggest question mark is at QB. Yet the rag tag bunch of Bills signal callers (EJ Manuel,Tyrod Taylor, Matt Simms, Matt Cassel) went a combined 30-33 for 386 with 3 TD and 0 INT for a 142 rating. If that stat line were one person, he’d be the love baby of Joe Montana and Tom Brady.
Indeed. The Steeler defense is almost as repugnant as what Vick did to those dogs. But if you are looking at one guy to really be pissed at after Saturday night, it’s Martavis Bryant.
Bryant?! Why Bryant you say? He was awesome after all. The second year wideout grabbed three pases on three targets for 138 yards and a TD. Plus he drew two big pass interference calls. He even made Vick look good along the way (which, to show I’m fair, wasn’t hard. Vick looked good under adverse circumstances given that he was allowed all of five minutes to learn a whole offense. From a football standpoint this was a good move).
Bryant was a monster. He’s getting the basics. And physically, you can’t cover him.
My God, just throw it up there and he’ll draw a pass interference call if you keep it in the same area code. Can you believe how easy it is to play offense with a 6’6” 200+ pound specimen like that on the team.
Yet with every play I would think that Steeler fans were getting more and more angry. Because just a few days beforehand we learned he’d be facing a four game suspension due to repeated marijuana use.
This beast who is dominating in a meaningless game had just smoked himself into a four game stint in the press box for the real action! At some point, whenever his appeal is over, all that talent is going to be sidelined because…well, because Martavis Bryant appears to be stupid beyond repair.
According to multiple outlets, Bryant has failed four different drug tests since he got into the league. And that’s why he is going to be shelved for so long. The NFL loosened its policy on pot because it didn’t want to pinch guys for rolling a joint as they were doing for steroids. So basically, they tried to make it impossible to get suspended for just smoking weed, because guys also now know when the test is initially coming before they fail the first time and get in the program.
So what the league saying is: “We don’t really want to push out the pot smokers. We just want to push out the dumbasses. Let’s just kick out the ones who are so incredibly stupid that if they can’t avoid these pot restrictions, they might be just dumb enough to be the next Vick.”
And no, I’m not saying that to take a snarky shot.
Unfortunately the wildly talented Bryant appears to be in this category. Bryant is very much a reason why the 30pt/game offense predictions were legit for the Steelers this year. At 3-3 the Steeler offense was at 20.6 points per game after Bryant sat out the first six weeks of the 2014 season. After he was inserted into the line-up, the team went 8-2 down the stretch and averaged more than 31 points per game. He scored eight times along the way and tallied 549 yards.
Should he serve the suspension to start the year, this doubles down on the absence of Le’Veon Bell for the first two weeks due to his equally moronic smoking and driving suspension from a year ago. Even if the suspension is put off for a while (even into next year) Bryant’s absence will still be a major pinch.
With the outlook on defense being as dour as it is, Steeler fans at least had the right to hope that their offense could score its way into a second straight divisional crown. And at the very least the prospect could’ve been that you’d be looking at a mediocre but supremely exciting wild card contender. But now with Bryant’s suspension looming, Bell’s assured, Maurkice Pouncey’s 8-10 week injury, and whatever kicker is teed up behind door number three; this broad shouldered offense looks a lot less capable of carrying the load.
And Bryant should be blamed heavily. Let’s avoid the pot-politics of legalization and the debates between bud and Bud (or Coors, or whatever your preference). Rules are rules. And the NFL’s have become a lot less strict. Yet Bryant couldn’t stay clean.
As my twitter timeline over the Vick signing will tell you, a lot of Steeler fans are feeling pretty preachy about forgive and forget as it relates to Vick. I’ll debate that. But nobody should cast aspersions at Steeler fans for holding a grudge against Bryant for the four games he will be out. It’s an unnecessary, painful loss (whenever it happens), and Steeler fans have a right to be mad over losing what they could have been watching in #10.