What the heck is a “slobberknocker?” In football terms, it’s a hit that, well, knocks the slobber right out of the other player’s mouth. I’ll be posing six hard-hitting questions to BTSC fans every game-day morning during the 2018 regular season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have hit their bye week and taking a much-needed breather from a tumultuous first part of the season. Pittsburgh is still without Le‘Veon Bell, the defense was a punching bag for most of the games, and fans were downright mad. The team is flying high after two much-needed wins against the Atlanta Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals. Can the last two weeks success continue for the rest of the season as they did in 2002? (The team started 1-3 and lost two more games the rest of the regular season.) That’s on the hearts and minds of BTSC fans — fans who are a cut above the run-of-the-mill Steelers fans. The following questions are geared towards these insightful fans to gauge their thoughts.
Q1: The past two games the Steelers defense looks to be regaining the luster it had in 2017, can the success continue the rest of the season?
Q2: Who is the number one player on the defense who has to have a better second half over their first half for the unit to succeed?
Q3: Who is the player you want to see less of on defense for the rest of the season? How do you replace him in the lineup?
Q4: Do you want more of Vance McDonald or Jesse James on the field down the stretch?
Q5: Does rookie wideout James Washington need more touches or would you like Ryan Switzer or a healthy Eli Rogers get the snaps?
Q6: Week 9 the Steelers travel to Baltimore taking on the Ravens. (Assuming Le‘Veon Bell is back with the team.) The Steelers are up by two with two minutes left. Baltimore is out of timeouts. The ball is at the Baltimore 35 and it is fourth and two. Does Pittsburgh try a long field goal, punt, or go for it? If the Steelers go for it, how does the play unfold?
Bonus: Is this Steelers team as good as they have played the past two weeks? Can this team beat The New England Patriots or Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game? Is this team capable of beating the Los Angeles Rams or New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl?
The bye week gives players a chance to heal and the coaches time to evaluate the success and failures during the first part of the season. This also gives the fans a chance to reflect on the team through their first six games and contemplate if the Steelers are a championship caliber team. While there are still 10 games yet to be played, the success should buoy fans this team has put forward so far and not focus so much on the negatives. If the playoffs started today Pittsburgh would not make the playoffs and are eight in the standings. On the outside, this does not show the true picture as the team is only a half game out of the second seed. The questions above need to be answered by the Steelers for the team to be the second seed after Week 17.