The problem with benching players is why there's a problem in the first place

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers lack depth, and with the team already having changed out a few starters this season, there really aren't any moves left to make.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is saying all the right things.

He's mad. He's disappointed. The Steelers didn't get the job done against (insert any one of six opponents to whom Pittsburgh has lost this year).

Truthful sentiments with little to no action based behind them.

Two losses in a row now, Tomlin has mentioned the notion of replacing starters. Previously, he's benched left tackle Mike Adams in favor of Kelvin Beachum. What was a total disaster has been quelled into a mini inferno. Cortez Allen's demotion in favor of William Gay made sense and paid some dividends - until the Patriots game. Sitting Ziggy Hood in favor of Cameron Heyward was probably the best move the team has made all year.

If Tomlin is planning to stick to his statement of casting out "those people that were lacking effort," and assuring those people "...won’t be playing. It’s just that simple," then ok.

But who's left?

Steel City Insider publisher Jim Wexell touched on this in a piece published Tuesday. He basically says outside of a few moves that may be more cosmetic than anything else, there isn't much left to do.

Perhaps Gay should be evaluated in a one-game-determines-everything manner, and he should be benched. Nevermind he played well through the team's first seven games. What's Derek Moye going to do?

The most obvious would be a benching of safety Ryan Clark, but as New England showed, the presence of rookie Shamarko Thomas would only encourage teams to target him 15 or more times in a game. Although it wouldn't be a shock to see Thomas on the field in running downs, he's a liability against the pass at this point in his career.

Simply put, the cupboard is bare. Sending the message that more effort is needed is pretty much all Tomlin and his staff will be able to do.

The fact the topic of benching players is coming up is exactly the problem; the starters they have are not performing well enough to justify their current starting spots. If they don't have the starters who can play, why would the back-ups be able to perform at a better level?

Because that's what the standard demands?

Tomlin's ability to lead this team is fairly being called out across Steeler Nation now, as most coaches who have lost 15 of his last 26 games. But the issue here is the lack of depth, which is why it's hard to expect any kind of wholesale change across this team.

In the offseason, when the team is likely to lop off several starters, things get a bit easier. But while the team is under fire, don't expect much roster movement. There just aren't enough horses to pull the wagon.

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