Okay folks we have some pretty good opinions and assesments about this past NFL week. Four of the main players give us their insights to the topics of the week.
Week 12 NFL RT:
1. Will the Steelers make the playoffs this year?
ARCHIE: I think everyone knows by now that I am an exaggerated Steelers Homer. However, I am also a realist or pessimist, take your pick. Ergo, I think the Steelers are through for making a playoff run. They still have not addressed their early OL woes. They still have key injuries plaguing them even IF Ben returns. And, when Big Ben does return he will be only one big hit away from being gone for the season IF he returns too soon (like this week). And we have all seen Ben’s replacements CANNOT get the job done.
EJ: It all depends on when Big Ben can return from his injury. Assuming, he’s out this week against the Ravens, the Steelers can fall to 6-6 with a loss. However, their remaining four games are winnable if Big Ben is back under center. Home to San Diego, at Dallas, and home to Cincinnati and Cleveland. Those are pretty manageable games for Big Ben. 10-6 would definitely make it in, but so could 9-7. If the Steelers can finish with one of those records, they will make the playoffs
STEPHAN: Yes but only by default. They will go 9-7 and sneak into the playoffs as the #6 seed. The AFC is weak this season, and that is the only reason they get in.
DAN: If Big Ben can’t return to the field, then no. Once Big Ben gets healthy and returns, the Steelers are going to be a playoff team. He needs to return this week or next week for that to happen, though.
2. Which team was the biggest surprise, good or bad, this week?
ARCHIE: My Steelers. With their third string QB having to start, the entire Steelers Running Back corps completely melted down and forced Batch to try and make things happen. He tried to take control of the game and do things he just could not do. Eight turnovers are enough for any team in the league to beat you with; even the Browns.
EJ: The New York Jets. I expected a loss to New England. What I didn’t expect was the Bad News Bears performance that was the second quarter. The Patriots scoring 35 points in the second quarter to take a resounding 35-3 loss was a bad Thanksgiving surprise for me. The overall score of 49-14 was even worse. Rex should survive the season, but I really hope Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano, and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum are given walking papers after the season. Sparano’s offense lacks imagination, and Tannenbaum built a team devoid of any weapons on offense
STEPHAN: The San Diego Chargers, good and bad. The Chargers completely dominated the Ravens on defense holding them to just 3 points for three and a half quarters. I was surprised that they allowed the Ravens to get back into the game, and ultimately win in overtime. Turner is a defensive coach, and that surprised me that he allowed this to happen.
DAN: Green Bay’s collapse to me. I definitely thought the game was going to be a close one instead of the lopsided victory for the Giants that it was.
3. If you were Norv Turner, what would you say to your DC after Sunday’s loss?
ARCHIE: “Pack your bags and meet me at the train station. We need to get out of here before the lynch mob finds us.”
EJ: “Pack your bags, because you’re getting canned with me.” If I were Norv that would be the message to my defensive coordinator. The Chargers defense can stop the run, but they have some issues stopping the pass, and since the overall record of the Chargers is poor, Norv will get fired. Once he’s fired, his coaching staff will be canned (as is the norm for coach firings).
STEPHEN: You’re Fired! However, I think Turner should blame himself as well. This was a game that the Chargers needed, and should have won. They allowed the Ravens to get back into this game late in the fourth quarter. No reason Baltimore wins this game.
DAN: I definitely think Norv Turner should be fired, but I think that you keep the same DC. They haven’t done that bad all season, so I wouldn’t say just ditch the DC and get a new one.
4. From 4 and 0 to 4 and 7; is Whisenhunt headed for the door?
ARCHIE: I really liked “The Whiz” when he was OC. He should have stayed in that role. I think the Cards will make a move after the season is over.
EJ: Yes. Hell yes! The reason for the Cardinals slide is pretty clear: they have no quarterback. It’s not Kolb. It’s not Skelton. It’s not Lindley. Whisenhunt should not have come into this season without trying to bring in another quarterback. Yes, I know they have a ton of money tied up in Kolb, but he isn’t the answer and neither is the other two backups they have masquerading as starters. I feel pretty sorry for Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz deserves a capable QB in the prime of his career. I don’t pretend to know who the Cardinals can bring in but almost anyone (except for the two QB’s the Jets currently have) would be better than Kolb, Skelton, or Lindley.
STEPHAN: Flip of the coin here. You can’t deny the early success of the Cardinals. However, you can’t look past seven straight losses either. You have to go to the drawing board and see what went wrong. I think his team just lost confidence in themselves, and that usually falls back on the coach. So I’ll say YES, he is gone.
DAN: If they can’t get it turned out this week, I think his odds of being out the door get really good. But they need to turn it around. Seven in a row is laughable; eight in a row gets you canned
5. What should the Pittsburgh Steelers do IF Ben cannot return next week against the Ravens?
ARCHIE: Again, “Where’s Falco?” Is there not a single serviceable QB sitting somewhere needing a job? (David Garrard). The Steelers screwed up and let Dennis Dixon walk at age 27. Now they have a broken 32 year old Leftwich and an immobile 37 year old Batch. For all those that always knocked on Big Ben, I think you can see now that he is the heart and soul of this team. Ben should sit this week. I don’t think you risk him permanently for the sake of this season.
EJ: Start Leftwich if he’s healthy. Charlie Batch is a serviceable veteran but as he showed against the Browns, he isn’t going to win you a game. Leftwich can at least attempt to win you a game. The Steelers hung tight with the Ravens a few weeks ago with Leftwich under center, and if he’s at least 80% he needs to play in the rematch.
STEPHAN: I think the real question is; What CAN they do? They did not play horribly against the Ravens two weeks ago with a backup quarterback. I think they have to stick to a run game, and just try to pound the ball down field, and use their defense to stay in this game. If they go aerial, they are in trouble.
DAN: Try their best to win the game which is an unlikely solution and try to figure out how they can win. Maybe teach their running backs how to hold on to the football.