The squeaky wheel gets the grease. There's no mention of whether that grease costs anything up front, but there's an unsaid expectation the wheel should either shut up, or run better than any other wheel.
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown got the grease. Now, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wants him to pay up.
Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette had a bit about Roethlisberger letting Brown know if he's going to complain about not getting the ball - as Brown did during the Steelers' Week 2 loss at Cincinnati - he needs to deliver some big plays as well. Getting the ball hasn't been an issue. Brown has 57 targets in the team's last five games. He scored two touchdowns against Chicago, and has not reached the end zone since.
Some of Roethlisberger's frustrations may be coming from the fact the Steelers are 30th in the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage, getting six points 40 percent of their trips inside the 20. They're 33.3 percent over their last three games.
Roethlisberger also mentioned after the game his decision to call a timeout instead of elect to take a five yard penalty inside the red zone against Oakland was due to his belief five yards was important to a team that has been struggling to score touchdowns.
Kicker Shaun Suisham hit four field goals in a 19-16 win over Baltimore in Week 7, and missed two in their Week 8 loss to Oakland. That's seven possessions that did not result in touchdowns, while the Steelers only had two that did in their last two games.
What's the squeaky wheel to do, if it isn't scoring touchdowns?
It's not like Brown ever really got in the end zone. His double-dip in TDs in Week 3 was the only multi-touchdown game of his career and with those, he has nine career touchdowns on 207 catches.
Roethlisberger sort of/kind of/depends-on-who-you-ask called out rookie running back Le'Veon Bell in a similar way, wondering whether he was going to practice fully before the Steelers' Week 4 game against Minnesota - his first career start. Roethlisberger would later say it wasn't a criticism of Bell, but regardless, Bell scored twice in the Steelers' loss to the Vikings.
The Steelers beat the Jets in Week 6, despite Brown dropping what would have been a touchdown pass. They got another four field goals from Suisham in that game, to go along with their one touchdown.
It certainly doesn't seem like much to ask the Steelers' highest-paid receiver to get in the end zone here and there; ya know, maybe to mix things up a bit. Brown leads the league in receptions, but dropped two passes against the Raiders - both on third down - with the second of the two getting caught by Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter.
That might tick Roethlisberger off a little bit too. He'll get criticized for the pick, and he can't complain to Todd Haley to make Brown hang onto the ball.
Perhaps "Squeaks" will do something about it against New England in Week 9.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers Film Room: Plenty of blame passed around
- Five Burning Questions
- Meet Mat McBriar, the newest Steelers player
- BTSC's Player of the Month: Ben Roethlisberger
- Tomlin to Jones: Work on details, rookie
- Suisham can't kick six-point field goals
- Steelers release Zoltan Mesko, sign Mat McBriar
- Steelers vs. Patriots: One game at a time mentality is shifting
- David DeCastro Injury: Steelers right guard could be limited early in the week but no significant injury