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The "Next Man Up" mentality is redefining Pittsburgh Steelers football

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The Pittsburgh Steelers overcome adversity year after year when key players go down with injuries. The “Next Man Up” mentality has been their motto and has been quite successful. Let’s take a look at how this is truly redefining Steelers football.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There are three words that football fans never want to hear: "Next Man Up."

However, when you are a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, these words shouldn't bother you.

Over the last two seasons, backup athletes have been given opportunities to prove their worth and show what they are made of. Ben RoethlisbergerMaurkice PounceyAntonio Brown, and Le'Veon Bell, were just a few athletes that were injured at some point during the 2015 NFL season.

These injuries really hurt, as Pittsburgh was trying to make it to the playoffs for a second year in a row. Despite every single setback and injury this team encountered, they still had the strength and passion to overcome adversity and make it to the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs.

The 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers were a team that had what it took to make it to the Super Bowl. This season, with a 4-3 record, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing 16 touchdowns to 6 interceptions through the first 6 games, they were looking even more poised than ever to bring home a 7th Lombardi Trophy.

That was until Roethlisberger went down with a torn meniscus against the Miami Dolphins in week 6. Roethlisberger's timetable to return is still up in the air, but fans hope he can return after the Steelers’ week 8 bye. This is just another setback that gives a younger athlete an opportunity to prove his worth.

Landry Jones is a name that Steelers fans do not want to ever hear. When Roethlisberger goes down, Jones is the backup quarterback that replaces him. Over the last three seasons, Jones has had nightmarish performances - highlighted by some solid ones.

Last season, when Roethlisberger missed four games due to an MCL sprain, the backup quarterback was Michael Vick. Vick did his job and went 1-1 as a starter. In a week 6 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, Vick was lost with a hamstring injury, and Jones replaced him.

The "Next Man Up" mentality continued as Jones went 8/12 for 168 yards and two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 149.3 passer rating. He got the job done when he was called upon, and that is all that matters.

This season Jones started against the New England Patriots in week 7 and had a solid performance. It wasn’t pretty ,but it wasn’t horrific. Jones went 29/47 for 281 yards a touchdown, an interception and a 76.6 passer rating.

Wide receiver Eli Rogers, who was expected to see increased snaps due to Markus Wheaton's injury, was benched by head coach Mike Tomlin for coming to practice late. Hopefully Rogers learned his lesson and it never happens again. He didn’t play a single snap against the Patriots.

An athlete that made the most out of his opportunity was former 2013 sixth-round draft pick Cobi Hamilton, a wide receiver from Arkansas.

Hamilton registered three catches for 36 yards. Might not seem like a lot, but he made some tough catches like this one:

This was a crucial catch in a critical moment in the football game. Perfect throw by Jones and a tough catch by Hamilton.

Remember wide receiver Limas Sweed? Yes, the one who couldn’t even catch a cold if he tried? Well in comparison, Sweed earned a total of 7 receptions for 69 yards and zero touchdowns in two years with the Steelers (2008-2010). He was also a second-round draft pick; considered one of the worst selections in the history of this franchise.

Hamilton has earned 5 total receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown so far in his career. He is an impact player when called upon and is using the "Next Man Up" mentality to show fans and the organization that it doesn’t matter what round you were drafted in.

If you follow the Pittsburgh Steelers you shouldn’t be worried. This team overcomes adversity so often that it doesn’t matter who is out there, they always find a way to win.

Let’s take a look at some other athletes that were injured and how their replacements managed to do their jobs.

Injured Player/ DNP

Replacement

Production from Replacement

Ryan Shazier

Vince Williams

Williams has 2 sacks, 40 tackles

Sammie Coates (Week 6 injured)

Eli Rogers (Week 7 DNP)

Cobi Hamilton

5 receptions, 72 yards, 1 TD (2 game)

Bud Dupree

Arthur Moats

Moats has 1.5 sacks, 13 tackles


While this production doesn’t seem like much from a statistical standpoint, these athletes are producing and making plays - and that’s the mentality that is redefining Steelers football.

Pittsburgh's 2016 season is looking bright and as long as the "Next Man Up" mentality continues to be displayed when needed, this team has nothing to worry about.