The Steelers Enter a New Era Thread

I’ve been doing these for 20 years now. When I started it was originally on a lark just to taunt the long-departed Weirddave, who at the time was our biggest Ratbird fan. My son was but an infant, and Ben Roethlisberger had yet to be drafted.

Well, now my son is in college and for the first time in 18 years my beloved Steelers are in the wilderness at quarterback. I have absolutely no idea how this is going to turn out. They signed Mitchell Trubisky, who admittedly didn’t set the world on fire in Chicago and could arguably be seen as a bust. I choose to see him as someone who could be good but never had a chance. His stats in Chicago were better than Peyton Manning’s that early in his career even with a so-called QB whisperer coach who couldn’t coach up a Pop Warner kid, and they remain better than those of the highest-paid player ever, DeShaun Watson (more on him later). His preseason was pretty good and, truthfully, Ben was a noodle-armed statue in his last two years so he constitutes a huge upgrade.

But don’t expect him to last long, because Pittsburgh drafted Kenny Pickett in the first round. If you spend that kind of draft capital you’re expecting him to be the future. That future is not now, but it is soon. Like Trubisky, he looked good in the preseason, but the preseason is of course not the same as games that matter. In the third slot is Mason Rudolph, who I expected to be traded (and he may yet be), who has real game experience and is easily the best third quarterback in the league. So it’s all there, but will it work?

It all depends on the offensive line, which isn’t great. If they can’t run with Najee Harris and have to throw 60 times they’ll be just as predictable as the last few years. Even if Diontae Johnson catches everything, George Pickens is everything they hoped for, and Chase Claypool stops being a moron, I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. I’m hopeful, but this is virtually uncharted territory for Pittsburgh. I remain cautiously optimistic.

As for the defense, they lost Tuitt to retirement and Haden to contract/age. Tuitt is a loss, but he hasn’t played in over a year so that’s based on prior performance. Haden is also a loss, but he was getting old and wasn’t the same player. But they have Son of Ironhead and DPOY TJ Watt and added Myles Jack, so the defense is still formidable.

The problem is that every other team got better at the same time, at least in theory. The Rats are mostly healthy and their running game is outrageous. Lamar not having a new contract might be a distraction, and outside of Mark Andrews he has nobody to throw to, but they are still a fearsome opponent.

The Bengals are coming off a highly competitive turn in the Super Bowl and made improvements in the their only glaring weakness, the offensive line. Joe Burrow remains fantastic and his receiving corps is among the best. But they also have to play a first-place schedule and everyone in-division is better so it won’t be easy for them to repeat.

The Browns… has any team pissed away so much goodwill so quickly? They went from plucky underdogs to playoff contenders to the sleaziest organization in football in 3 years. After listening to 15 years of HURR RAPELISBERGER HURR from their fans they signed DeShaun Watson so now it’s my turn. You’d better be ready for it, Cleveland fans, because revenge is a dish best served cold. As for the rest of the team, they could still be good if Brissett can remember to hand the ball off the Chubb 30 times a game. Otherwise, it’s back to the basement for the foreseeable future.

So that’s the division. The rest of the AFC is utterly stacked. We all saw what the Bills did to the Rams in the season opener. They have to be the favorites to come out of the AFC. The Chiefs are notably weaker without Tyreek Hill and some interior linemen, but still potent. The Broncos got the QB they needed with Wilson. It’s just outrageous how much better the AFC looks on paper.

The NFC is almost an afterthought. Whoever gets out of the NFC, and if there is a God it won’t be the fucking Bucs, will get crushed by the AFC representative. Take Green Bay even though Rodgers the loony has nobody to throw to. Maybe the Niners, though trusting Lance is stupid since not even his team trusts him fully.

So, getting back to the Steelers. The schedule is difficult and there are tons of unknowns, but sleep on them at your peril. Tomlin is a hell of a coach and while he arguably underachieves he also gets the most out of the role and spot players he has. He still hasn’t had a losing record in a season, and that won’t start this year, either. In fact, while I give Pittsburgh an outside shot at the division, I think they’ll make the playoffs solidly. After that, who knows?

Enjoy the season, everyone.

Michael Wilbon was cracking me up on Pardon the Interruption this week talking about Mitch Trubisky. He says Trubisky will be very good to great now because the Steelers are a real organization that can actually coach their players, unlike the Bears.

He wants Trubisky to do really well in Pittsburgh to shame the entire Bears organization. I gotta admit, I found it compelling, and now I’m kind of rooting for Trubisky too. I would find it hysterical if he rocked out as an elite passer and it really did turn out that it was just purely Bears incompetence that held him back.

Oofa. Bears v. Niners hard to watch. Lance and Fields off to slow starts, as is their respective Olines.

It’s so hard to watch, it made me post in the wrong thread.

I’ll miss you. See you in February, dear.

:rofl: this reminds me of some old columns from social humorist art Buchwald when it was the early years for the NFL on tv and he coined the term “football widows”

“Well, now my son is in college and for the first time in 18 years my beloved Steelers are in the wilderness at quarterback” Wow wasn’t he just learning how to drive a while back ?

The worst nightmare the Steelers could ever face is accurate officiating.

So that game was absolutely nuts. They won, but the price could be very high. There is a good chance TJ Watt is out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle and Najee Harris may be out for a while with a foot injury. Both looked bad as they came off the field. Really, though, the defense utterly dominated the Bengals for the first three quarters.

The game itself was nuts. Really, the Bengals kicker was blocked on the extra point and then missed a field goal, both game-winning chip shots? That may never happen again. And the DOINK from Boswell was the loudest I ever heard.

The first game of the year and my Steelers are already trying to kill me.

Yeah, Mahomes had to find new receivers to throw 5 TD passes yesterday. No sacks, and 128 yards on the ground. Still potent, indeed.

Bills are indeed the best team in the AFC, but there are still 16 games to play. It will be wild in that conference.

Trubisky had just 194 yards passing, but he didn’t turn the ball over and completed 3 clutch passes on the last drive to set up the game winning FG.

Join the club – I’m lucky I have any fingernails left.

They’re looking like ass tonight at home against the Chargers. Feasting on an average Cardinals team isn’t the same as Justin Herbert punking you.

True enough. Chargers are having their way,.

Neither of those posts aged well, did they?

Well, my original one sorta has. Like I said then, games that KC used to smoke their opponents in are now very competitive. They are definitely feeling the losses in their lineup.

2 games is a pretty small sample size.

Chiefs and Chargers split their previous four games, and the two games KC won both went to OT.

Once the Bengals get over their Super Bowl lost induced hangover they will bounce back and take full control of the AFC North.

They spent a fortune on their offensive line and Burrow is far and away the most sacked and hit quarterback in the league through two games. The problem isn’t a hangover, it’s structural. Their signings did not improve his protection. If anything, it’s worse than before.

Anything can happen, but if I were you I’d prepare for a long season of Burrow running for his life again, and eventually one of those hits is going to hurt him, so you may get a really big dose of Brandon Allen, who in spite of having the same last name is no Josh Allen.

So this was a crazy week. Pittsburgh’s offense looked almost acceptable during the first half along with a stunning catch from Pickens, but they came crashing back to Earth in the second half when Matt Canada realized that some things were working and he swore never to do them again. The second half was Diontae Johnson drops and other stupid shit eerily reminiscent of the last two years.

That said, I did enjoy gamblers being fucked on the under on the last play. If there is a consolation, it’s the knowledge that someone lost their ass on that.

The rest of the weekend has been nuts. They say that a team with a losing record after week 3 has a 15% chance of making the playoffs. Does that count in a division where nobody really wants to win in a conference where everyone but the Raiders and Texans have at least one win and no team has more than two?

So Pittsburgh is still in the thick of it despite their sputtering offense, and every week feels more and more like Pickett will be playing sooner rather than later.

Well, he played - for what that’s worth.

I’m of course disappointed with the outcome, but the Jets are apparently going to be a decent team this year. That’s two big comebacks this season.

As for Pickett, he had a few great throws, some good ones, and some not-so-good ones. The first pick was undone by Minkah returning the favor. The second hit Friermuth in the hands. So it was a little high, these things happen, but at that stage in the game he should have thrown it away. The last pick was the game-ending Hail Mary. So, in the end, only one was damaging, and even so, they had a 10-point lead thanks to the spark he gave them.

Of course, the defense had to be wasted from being on the field 40 minutes a game and most of this one, but that’s a stop that has to happen. They pressured Wilson all day but only rarely touched him, and that’s a problem they need to fix. It can’t all be TJ Watt.

But the future is apparently now, and I like the way it looks. Hopefully it continues, though with a bit more success. The offense was notably better when he came in, and maybe they’ll carry their weight this week. It is the Bills, though. We’ll see.

This Bills game is an unmitigated disaster. Yes, Josh Allen is great, but Pittsburgh refuses to pass so they can’t respond, they’re making hideous mistakes, and with all the stars they have on that team they’re unable to do anything.

31-3 and it’s not yet halftime. Pickett never had a chance.