The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers roller coaster ride came to a crashing halt to the tune of their 30-17 loss to the Ravens. The Steelers face an off season full of issues to resolve, but before Steelers Nation can move on to that they still must first grapple with these 5 Burning Questions.
1. Matt Lode, author of 100 Things Steelers Fans Should Do and Know Before They Die, criticized starting Ben Tate observing:
This may have been the most head scratching decision in the tenure of Mike Tomlin. You lose the leading rusher on the team, and instead of playing the true guy behind him from the start in Josh Harris (or even Dri Archer), you put a guy in the game who has been on the team for five days... If this team had no confidence in Josh Harris, they should have went out and gotten another veteran back sooner after they dumped LeGarrette Blount....
When the history of the Mike Tomlin era is written, Ben Tate probably won't even rate a footnote. However do you think that Tomlin has undermined his own "Next Man Up" credo by starting Tate? Defend your answer.
2.Mike Tomlin took umbrage at the suggestion that the Steelers might have cut corners with concussion protocolsafter Heath Miller and Ben Roethlisberger took hits to the head. Do you believe him?
3. Credit the Steelers players and coaches for refusing to use Le'Veon Bell's absence as an excuse for the loss. Nonetheless, Bell accounted for 34% of the Steelers regular season offense even if his numbers weren't particularly strong vs. the Ravens. How much did the Steelers really miss Bell?
4. For years BTSC's own PaVa Steeler has criticized Mike Tomlin and his staff often. While yours truly has both agreed and disagreed with him at times, even when there was disagreement, PaVa's arguments were always well researched, level-headed and based on the facts. Right before the playoff game, he self-professed as a Tomlin believer.
It seems like the Tomlin and his staff won many such converts while closing the season going 7-2. However, no one can deny Pittsburgh laid an egg vs. Baltimore.
How does the Steelers lackluster, rapid playoff exit temper your evaluation of 2014 as a whole?
5. Finally, looking back at 2014 who is your Unsung Hero for the Pittsburgh Steelers? By "Unsung Hero" we mean the person whose contribution was most important yet overlooked?
Finally, before giving the official "Have at It" folks, let me announce that this is our final 5 Burning Questions edition for the 2014 season. Next week we'll begin with a look at the off season, and after that editions will only run as need/news arises.
In closing once again I'd like to thank everyone who took time out to answer questions. Believe it or not, coming up with 5 challenging questions week-by-week can be a challenge, but logging on later in the day to see so many engaging answers and thoughtful debate made it all worth.
Thanks everyone for their contributions.
There you go Have at It!