Tuesday December 3rd

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin talked and fielded questions for 22 minutes today JUST about his sideline slide-step from last Thursday’s game in Baltimore. It really was an incredible display of “transparency” from the Steelers field boss. That’s a transparency outcome Tomlin was sure to emphasize that he desired to achieve, proof positive that Commander Goodell has a ‘transparency’ box on his NFL Punishment Checklist. It’s the same box Goodell left un-checked when smacking Belichick for 250K and a 1st-Round draft pick after SpyGate. Of course, it’s too bad Goodell has no “produce the video evidence” checklist of his own to answer to.

“Blunder” and “integrity” were the words of the day from Tomlin as he took full responsibility for his “inexcusable” positioning on the M&T Bank Stadium sideline that caused the ensuing Jacoby Pokey. “Obviously” is so last week. Then again, what’s old is often new again as Tomlin acknowledged seeing his superimposed slide on ‘Soul Train’ photos flying around social media for the past give days; it’s a pic he deadpanned that he found “interesting”.

Expect “obviously” to come back in a big way next week with the Bengals coming to town.

Other than center Fernando Velasco’s torn achilles, left tackle Kelvin Beachum’s questionable knee, right guard David DeCastro’s questionable foot, and Mike Adams’ questionable health & play AT left tackle, the Steelers O-Line looks to be in good shape here on Dolphins’ Week.

Pro Football Focus grades and ranks every player in the league on every play. Through 13 Weeks, their highest ranked Miami Dolphins’ at their respective positions among all NFL peers: DE Cameron Wake (4th), DT Randy Starks (6th), CB Brent Grimes (6th), QB Ryan Tannehill (7th), WR Brian Hartline (11th), and C Mike Pouncey (12th).

Mike Wallace is PFF’s 85th ranked WR, by the way.

After reading that list, visions of Wake and Starks feasting on the Steelers’ O-Line are running through my head.

Then again, my colleague Mark Kaboly told us today on TribLIVE Radio that he expects new C Cody Wallace “to be fine.” Consider me skeptical.

The 5-7 Steelers “obviously” need to win out themselves, but aside from this difficulty the most important game the team needs to fall their way may be Baltimore at Detroit coming up in two weeks on Monday Night Football. The Ravens at 6-6 will likely win this week at home against Minnesota, and their finale at Cincinnati could feature a Bengals opponent resting players with the AFC North already wrapped up.

The good news, though, is that Baltimore will still face New England and it looks to be a Patriots team with everything (i.e. home field advantage) to play for as they chase the Denver Broncos in playoff positioning.

The Pirates move to acquire a new backup catcher in Chris Stewart makes sense in that it’s an upgrade over Michael McKenry. Stewart is a clearly better defensive backstop. However, it’s not clear to me that possible catcher-of-the-future Tony Sanchez is better served playing in AAA Indianapolis as opposed to facing big league competition all year in Pittsburgh. Yes, he’ll get more reps in Indy. However, his bat off the bench is far superior to Stewart’s. And this team needs offensive help more than it needs twice-a-week defensive catching prowess.

Pens-Isles tonight has entertainment potential given last year’s playoff series… but given that New York has lost six straight and have managed to go 2-10-1 in their last 13, I’m already looking ahead to San Jose and Boston later in the week.

Ken Laird
Talk Show Host / Reporter
TribLive Radio at TribLive.com
M-F 9a-1p

Posted in Pittsburgh Steelers