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My worthless 2 cents after the Steelers victory over the Browns

After the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 1 drubbing at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, I published my Knee Jerk Reaction article, but as the week went on I found myself wishing I could write some more about the game. I felt I had some different takes as well as some stronger thoughts after having some time to process the game and studying some of the plays a bit more. Now I had on idea on the approach to a story, but needed a title that I felt could work from week to week through the season.

The title “My Worthless 2 Cents” that I came up with isn’t one I feel I can take full credit for, but is a story in itself, so here it is. I was in the 8th grade at the time, and found myself tagging along with my older sister (a senior in high school), as she was a part of the high school theatre group who would work as ushers for local community theatre productions. Working as an usher at a production of “Harvey”, the dad for one of my baseball friends came up to me at intermission and handed me two pennies and asked me to go back to the dressing area and find the lead actor in the play. I was to give him the pennies and tell him “this is from the guy with the big nostrils, giving you his two cents worth”. I thought this was funny so I agreed to do it, especially since I knew the two were friends. I go to the dressing room and deliver the message and the “gift”. The response I was given was even better. The actor told me to return the pennies and I was to “tell the guy with the big nostrils to take his worthless 2 cents and shove the right up those big nostrils”. So that’s it. This is my 2 cents after sitting on the latest Steelers game a bit. You might tell me to take my worthless two cents and shove them up my nostrils, and that’s okay, because we are friends and I don’t look at it as personal.

I am going to break things down into three categories: One, something I feel stronger about. Two, something I have softened on a bit. Three, something that didn’t really change.

Something I Feel Stronger About

Fire Matt Canada:  I am not usually one who jumps on and stays on this bandwagon, but I have reasons that this one is feeling a lot stronger. I was sitting in Acrisure Stadium on Monday night and heard the Fire Canada chants start and then grow in volume, and actually found myself not feeling like it was an uncalled for chant. There were small things I was questioning all night, such as why the Steelers were running stretch plays and toss sweeps with Najee Harris when he is much more of a power runner. What happened to utilizing the tight ends? My favorite was the text I sent my brother during the game that he mentioned on the Steel Curtain Networks Postgame Show, “Can you still call it a trick play if it doesn’t trick anybody”? Throw in the fact that every time the Steelers lined up under center I turned to my daughter and said, “this will be a run play that goes nowhere”, and sure enough I batted 1,000 making that call.

Here is my final take on some of this Matt Canada stuff, and I don’t have anything to back it up other than it matches up closest with what I am seeing on the field. It’s like Canada took everything the Steeles progressed at last season and since there were new people to bring up to speed on the offense he decided to start over where last season began and is working on bringing everyone back up to that same point again. Why? Why go backwards, instead of pulling the new people up to “the standard”? It’s like the Steelers offense is not to grow anymore than it did last year. Instead everyone is to go backwards to meet the “newbies” and then as a unit work to get back to where they ended last year. This is no way to run an NFL unit. That is the way the leagues cellar dwellers do things, not organizations like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hate to say it, but Matt Canada has got to go. The sooner the better.

Something I’ve Softened On

Inside Linebacker Play: Through two weeks, the Steelers have given up 386 yards rushing, an average of over 190 yards per game. I was quick to start saying “another overhaul at ILB and the same old results”. In going back and looking at it more, the play at inside linebacker has improved and is not totally to blame for the Steelers lack of ability to stop the run. In the game versus Cleveland, the Steelers top two tacklers were both inside linebackers in Alexander and Holcomb. This was a nice change from seeing safeties being on the top of the list most often last year.

I am not saying it is time to call this unit fixed, because it is not. What I am saying is that I see this unit making improvements and want to see them continue to get more comfortable working together. I see the possibility that as the year goes on that the inside linebacking unit goes from being a big off-season question mark, to one that will have solidified and no longer be looked at as a liability.

Something That Hasn’t Changed

T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith are the best pass rushing duo in the National Football League:  With T.J. injured last year, Alex Highsmith was still able to put up a great season and was rewarded with a new contract extension in the off season. There is always the worry that once a player gets paid that they will never be the player they were before “making the money”. This has not been the case with either Watt or Highsmith. These two just feed off of each other, and they seem to bring their “A” game each and every week. The Steelers do not defeat the Browns this week if not for the efforts of this dynamic duo as each had a defensive touchdown scored.  Having these two paired together on the field each week must give the offensive coordinators of their opponents nightmares,, as you never know what these two might do, but you know something is coming.

They are my rock. They are what I hang my hope on each week because no matter what else is going on with the team, I can count on the fact that Mr. Watt and Mr. Highsmith are going to be bringing everything they have to wreak havoc on the opposing team. It is such a difference when they are on the field together and I wish they never had to miss a snap on defense, but I know there is no way they can play at the level and speed that they do and not need a break once in a while. There was a series against the Browns where they were both on the sideline, and the Browns moved the ball to near midfield. There was a break in action (i believe for an injury) before a 3rd and 13 play. I told my daughter it was time for T.J. and Alex to get back on the field for a big 3rd down. They came back out, got pressure on the QB, forced a bad throw and the Browns punted. There was no sack, no fumble, no interception on that play but I felt much better about it knowing that Alex and T.J. wreaking havoc on a 3rd and long play.

There you have it. My worthless 2 cents. Maybe you liked it, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you want to tell me to shove my worthless two cents up my big nostrils. Maybe you have your own worthless 2 cents you would like to share. If so please feel free to share it in the comments below, I might look at it and tell you to shove it up your big nostril…but that’s okay, because we are still friends.


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