Like a puff of smoke from a joint, the Pittsburgh Steelers top two running backs have blown it for the entire team… and it’s not even Week 1 of the regular season yet.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stated on Monday that “everything was on the table” as far as punishments went for these two players, including suspension. But, no matter what the Steelers choose what they feel is fair punishment for such stupidity, Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount have caused this Steelers offense to trip before the gates have even opened up. Even if the the pair are spared suspensions, they have negatively impacted this team that could end up costing this team games.
Let’s say the two are suspended. That means rookie and speedster Dri Archer would be next in line to shoulder the majority of carries for Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns. Unless the Steelers want their fastest and potentially biggest playmaker on offense to potentially become broken in two after 15-20 carries, then the reality is those carries will fall to a committee of running backs who were just days ago sitting on the chopping block waiting to be cut. It’s a situation that would make any Steelers fan feel like a long tailed cat stuck in a room full of rocking chairs.
So, what’s the solution in this scenario? Hardly run the ball and just turn Big Ben loose for 50+ carries? Not with this offensive line that has yet to prove itself. It’s difficult enough to have Ben drop back 20 times a game and not get killed let alone avoid getting sacked three or more times. 40-50 pass plays? Get the stretchers ready. As you can see, just a single game suspension, even against the Brownies could have Week 1 looking like a nightmare rather than a dream of a start to the regular season.
Let’s say the two are not suspended. Let’s say they are punished in any other way – benched for the first series, benched for the first half, fined. Any and all of those are distractions to this team. I don’t care what guys like Lance Moore say when they chime off that the team doesn’t think about it, and that there’s nothing they can do. That part might be true – there’s nothing they can do with how the coaches and front office will deal with this lack of maturity and stupidity. But, it’s still a distraction.
Any type of benching just puts them back into the same scenario as if they were suspended for a game – it’s just a shorter period of time with that. The players and offense will still need to adjust to having Archer take carries or any of the other inexperienced backs that make the cut. After weeks of having both Bell and Blount take carries 50-60% of the time in scrimmages and preseason games, that all goes out the window. It’s not part of the game plan. They’re improvising. How is that not a distraction?
Even if the players are fined but still have the opportunity to play, it’s still going to be a distraction. Perhaps you all think it’s not such a big deal at this point, and team justice is served after a few thousand dollars are rung up. But, the lingering affects of these arrests could last for several weeks. Wouldn’t you be pissed if your coworkers did something that caused your company to potentially miss it’s goal? Or cost the company less profit because of their stupid actions? Wouldn’t you look at them a bit differently every time? How many rolled up pieces of paper, simulating joints, will it take getting thrown at you while you come out of the visitng team tunnel before you just get fed up with the whole situation? Alright, I admit that’s a bit on the extreme end.
But the bottom line is this. There’s a punishment coming before Week 1. And no matter what – it will hinder this team from having a chance at a strong start to the season (as if things weren’t going to be tough as it is).
That’s how stupid these two were.