The roller coaster ride which is the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers' season presses on. With Ben Roethlisberger doubtful to play this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7, fans have plenty of questions which need to be answered. I opened up the BTSC mailbag and it was overflowing. After leafing through the tweets and emails, the best were selected for this week's mailbag article.
Wondering how you can have your question answered in the weekly mailbag article? Simple. Follow BTSC on Twitter (@btsteelcurtain) and send us your question. I choose the very best for the articles on a weekly basis.
Without further ado...here goes nothing.
From: Heather (@SteelersGal86)
Question: Prediction on how Landry Jones performs on Sunday? Kansas City is probably planning for him, on the road, in a loud stadium. Different than last Sunday at Heinz Field.
Answer: Great question, and a pretty easy answer. I think the Steelers will play it safe with Jones, but not nearly as safe as they had to game plan with Mike Vick under center. When I say "play it safe" I am referring to the team focusing on those short timing routes and Jones' intelligence to keep them in manageable situations. Le'Veon Bell will again be a huge factor in Jones' success. Blitz pickup, running the football and more importantly being that safety valve if/when things break down.
Jones is a smart football player with a high pedigree coming out of college. Playing at Oklahoma had him play in hostile environments, so that should be nothing new for the young signal caller. Jones reading the defense will be huge in this game, and is something he did extremely well against the Cardinals in his limited time under center.
The game plan won't change much from when Ben Roethlisberger is under center, meaning they will expect Jones to make the throws down the middle of the field that has become synonymous with the Steelers' offense under Todd Haley. The question remains will Jones be able to make the throws. If he picks up where he left on Sunday, that won't be a problem.
From: Richard (@ElRicky_)
Question: Given how Antwon Blake has fared recently, does the coaching staff give Brandon Boykin a shot? And what could justify the fact he hasn't played?
Answer: This seems to be the million dollar question throughout 2015, and every time a defensive back gives up a pass, fans take to social media and start yelling for Boykin. He is the unknown commodity, at least for the Steelers. Everyone looked up his highlight reel from his time with the Philadelphia Eagles and wondering why he isn't playing over Blake and Ross Cockrell.
The only reason one can have for Boykin's absence on game days is learning a new system, poor practice habits and possibly getting out worked. You are right, Blake hasn't been good, and a recent injury to his thumb might be the opening Boykin needs to finally get on the field. There are times when there are good players who can't get on the field due to the players in front of them just being that good (think Jason Worilds behind James Harrison and/or LaMarr Woodley), but in the Steelers' secondary that is far from the truth in 2015.
Boykin's snap totals vs. the Chiefs will be something to keep an eye on.
From: Chuck Murphy (@MurphDerty53)
Question: Can the defense continue to carry this team to victories in Ben's absence, or will the luck run out on the road this week?
Answer: I think I speak for most fans when I say we all watch the games waiting for the Week 1 defense to show up again. You know, the defense who can't identify who Rob Gronkowski is located on the field and only has 10 players on the field? Yeah, that defense. We all are waiting for this joy ride to at least slow down, but at what point do you just enjoy the ride and see how long it lasts? For me, that time is now.
Can this defense stand on its head for the rest of the season? The past 5 weeks have shown be nothing other than a resounding 'YES'. Keith Butler deserves a medal for what he has done for this defense, and Mike Tomlin putting his personal stamp on the defense has been a welcome site. No one will ever speak poorly of Dick LeBeau, but it was time for a change. Butler has been a breath of fresh air for the team, and the fan base. Watching Bud Dupree register 3 sacks in 6 games as a rookie was unfounded under LeBeau, but no the new regime.
The Steelers defense will be predicated on the offense not turning the ball over. They don't have to score every position, although that would be nice, but simply don't give the opposition a short field. The Steelers will give up yardage, but have become a very tough red-zone defense. Maybe its time we all just sit back and enjoy the ride...however long it lasts.
That's all the time I had for this week. Remember, follow BTSC on Twitter (@btsteelcurtain) and enter your questions for next week's mailbag article.