What bold decisions should the Steelers make right now? This question can be asked of several areas of the team but the best answer is likely to come on the defensive side of the ball.
For one, if penalties continue to occur the way they have, players need to be benched. Steelers All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown was benched for a period of time in a loss to New England last year for his level of play not being where it should have been according to Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin. This game shouldn't be any different, nor should the focus be exclusive to Brown and his silly celebration penalty taken last week in a loss to Tampa Bay. Cameron Heyward, Le'Veon Bell and Troy Polamalu committed 15-yard penalties as well. While Polamalu's came on a facemask grab during the play, Heyward's and Bell's were both dead-ball fouls.
That simply cannot continue. One more infraction of a taunting, excessive celebration or unsportsmanlike conduct variety should be met with the offending player spending a quarter on the bench. The message has to be sent.
Also, perhaps it's time to start working in some of the younger players on this team; safety Shamarko Thomas and defensive end Stephon Tuitt in particular. Clearly, the way this defense appears to be dragging late in games suggests giving the starters a few snaps of rest here and there will help their stamina late in games (it has happened twice this season already). You play how you practice and, if Thomas and Tuitt aren't practicing well enough to play, that's indeed unfortunate. But perhaps it starts there, then. Work them in practice with the idea they're going to be on the field for at least a few snaps this week.
And as the Steelers saw in Week 3, with injuries to three defensive starters, it might be more than that.
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