It is that time again, where we call upon our local 'Yinzer', Lance Williams, to answer some burning questions surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers. You might recognize Lance from his worth on BTSC's flagship podcast "The Standard is the Standard", but as you'll learn, his opinions go much further than the airwaves.
Take a look at his opinions this week...
Question: Brandon Boykin recently signed a very cheap contract with the Carolina Panthers. Thoughts on the signing, and how it may impact Pittsburgh?
Lance: The Soap Opera "As the Boykin Turns" has finally ended with Brandon Boykin signing a deal with that established championship team (inject heavy dose of sarcasm here). Every year Steelers fans fixate on a particular player and bestow on him unwarranted attention. Last year it was Boykin and Antwon Blake, and now both are gone. Why Boykin didn't play for the first three quarters of the season will remain as puzzling as the rumors about flying saucers and Yetis, but when he played, he proved to be very solid and very capable.
In my opinion, he was the Steelers second best CB on a secondary that was average at best. According to ProfootballFocus focus, Boykin was the 38th overall ranked CB with a 76.9 rating. More importantly he had a 80.4 coverage score which ranked 28th. Between the mysterious lack of playing time and the return of Golson it was a fantasy to think he was returning to the Steelers. Teams with good QBs and few unknowns win. The loss of Boykin has created a significant unknown in the secondary at the slot CB position. Let's hope Golson can play and play well right away.
Question: Speaking of Senquez Golson, what are your expectations of him in 2016?
Lance: By trade, I'm a computer programmer, so that sometimes permeates itself into how I think about football and football players. In programming, the term 'null' is a common one. Null simply means having or associated with the value of zero. Although null doesn't mean unknown in terms of Senquez Golson it applies because he's essentially a rookie and such an unknown, my expectations are extremely tempered. I expect him to play, get hurt, get beat, play better, hit the rookie wall, and not be as good as Brandon Boykin, which unfortunately brings the show 'As the Boykin Turns' out of syndication.
Question: Kevin Colbert recently commented on Ben Roethlisberger's prime years left in his career. How many years do you see Big Ben being a top-rated QB?
Lance: Kevin Colbert said recently that Big Ben has 3 or 4 more prime years left and I agree wholeheartedly. I know you guys have heard the phrase "Women lie, men lie, but numbers don't", and in the case of Big Ben Roethlisberger this is absolutely true because he is playing the best football of his career.
Quarterback has become a position in the NFL where elite players can continue to play at a very high level in their late 30's. Look at the numbers Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees have put up in the last five years. Ben is the equal of those players and arguably better. With the Steelers offensive line now being one of the best in the NFL, no Bruce Arians insistence on downfield throws which result in increased hits, and the plethora of weapons at his disposal, there is no reason to think Big Ben's play will decline in the foreseeable future.
Question: The AFC North was voted the toughest division in football. Agree?
Lance: I believe the AFC North is the best division in Football because of the quality of the starting quarterbacks. The division took a step back last year with the Joe Flacco injury, but if all three starting signal callers are healthy (Roethlisberger, Flacco and Andy Dalton) look for the division to once again put three teams in the playoffs.
Check out Lance's work on the BTSC Podcast "The Standard is the Standard" on our BlogTalkRadio page, as well as on iTunes by searching "The Standard is the Standard" in your iTunes search engine.