Bridging the Gap of Georgia Forum

You need to log in to create posts and topics.

Coty Sensabaugh Jersey

When it was reported earlier this month by Jeremy Fowler Stephon Tuitt Jersey , a Steelers beat writer for ESPN, that running back Le’Veon Bell, who actually spoke with Fowler for a story that was published on ESPN.com, would likely be reporting to the team during the bye week, that made perfect sense. I realize that not much has made sense with Bell and his contract saga with the Steelers that has seemingly gone on longer than any of No. 26’s runs from scrimmage in recent years, but when you thought about it, it did. If you’re Bell, and you miss football as much as you claimed in Fowler’s piece, why wouldn’t you want to come back the week of the bye? If your relationship with most of your teammates was as great as you claimed, why wouldn’t you want to come back the week of the bye—if not for yourself, at least for them? If you seriously wanted to get ready for the Week 8 match-up with the Browns at Heinz Field, really, why wouldn’t you want to come back the week of the bye? If you were sincerely still holding out hope on ultimately reaching an agreement on a long-term deal with the team that picked you in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, why wouldn’t you want to come back the week of the bye? It just made sense from every possible angle that Bell would report to the Steelers last week.We’ve all been in awkward situations, where the air had to be cleared by just facing the music with people—friends, family, co-workers, etc.—who you had a bit of a falling out with. And, make no mistake about it, some of Bell’s teammates, especially his very vocal offensive linemen, weren’t too happy about his decision to not report in time for the Week 1 match-up with the Browns. And for every player who was vocally critical of Bell, it’s safe to assume there were at least a few who seethed in silence. Why wouldn’t Bell want to make nice with those guys, and do so as early as possible? Think about it, you come in on Monday, mend some fences, set some records straight, attend a few meetings Coty Sensabaugh Jersey , and take Tuesday, the team’s day off, to decompress from what figured to be an emotionally trying first day back to work. When you come back to work on Wednesday, everything is a little closer to normal—you feel more comfortable with the guys, they feel more comfortable with you.Then there’s the matter of your head coach, who you haven’t really spoken with in ages, and your general manager, who, like your teammates, publicly expressed disappointment with your decision. Why wouldn’t you want an extra week to get back into their good graces? Speaking of coaches, what about the new offensive coordinator? After missing OTAs, mini-camp and training camp, it just seemed obvious that Bell would want to take an extra week to learn whatever new wrinkles Coach Randy had installed into the playbook. Then there’s the matter of the $855,000 check Bell would have been eligible to collect the second he signed the franchise tag—all for spending Monday and Wednesday making nice, mending fences, learning Coach Randy’s wrinkles and preparing for the Browns. Then, thanks to that bye week, it’s a long weekend, where you’re not only free to do whatever you like, you’re now likely past any hard feelings you may have had for your employer and co-workers—and vice versa. Yes, everything described in this article makes perfect sense, which is why it didn’t happen. So, when will Bell report to the Steelers? This week, with only a few days to get ready for the Browns, make nice with his teammates and coaches, and learn Coach Randy’s wrinkles? That makes no sense, which is why you can expect Bell to report this week. Have you ever noticed how some situations seem to work themselves out all on their own? Some refer to it as the yin and yang theory. For every action there is a equally powerful reaction. Life is like that oftentimes. Fads come and go, but the more things change the more they stay the same.The NFL landscape is no different. Just when it seems some offensive mastermind has developed some unstoppable scheme Roosevelt Nix Jersey , a defensive genius devises a way to stymie it. That was on full display in this past weekend's slate of playoff games. It sure was a fun ride for the Baltimore Ravens and the Seattle Seahawks as they utilized similar run heavy attacks to take the league by surprise and secure their playoff positioning. But alas even good things have to eventually come to an end.These predominantly rushing reliant offenses run against the norm in today's pass happy NFL. The recent rules changes have all favored the down the field, high scoring passing attacks popping up all over the NFL landscape. The mid season changes in offensive philosophy made by both the Ravens and Seahawks caught their opponents by surprise at first and created mismatches that their defensive personnel were ill equipped to deal with. Or so it seemed.Both teams made their adjustments out of necessity. The Ravens had a stagnant offense being lead by uninspiring QB Joe Flacco and a group of skill position players that was mediocre at best. However, they did have a dynamic offensive weapon in talented and elusive QB Lamar Jackson. The change in philosophy made perfect sense.The Seahawks were also blessed with a mobile QB in Russell Wilson, himself a Super Bowl winning QB. While Wilson is an accomplished passer, the Seahawks offensive line struggled to provide him with the requisite time needed to find his receivers. However, they were excellent run blockers and since Wilson excels at play action, the switch brought out the best in the Seahawks offense.So how did these feel good storylines play out this past Wildcard Weekend? Not so good I am afraid, if you happened to be rooting for either of these teams. The reason why is simple. The more balanced team usually wins in a one and done scenario. Many factors can affect that outcome, such as turnovers and special teams turning out to not be very special, but the rule holds true more often than not, all things being equal.Both teams proved to be too one dimensional when confronted by a more well balanced opponent, and the end results bellied this fact.The Chargers stayed in a vanilla base defense for the majority of their first encounter with the Ravens this season, a late season home loss against the bludgeoning Ravens squad playing at the height of their powers. The Chargers seemed to realize the high probability that they would meet again in the playoffs, and they refused to show their hand during a regular season game that meant more to the Ravens than it did to them.Sunday's contest was a whole different ballgame. The Los Angeles Chargers went to Baltimore and was anything but vanilla on defense. They basically replaced their LBs with safeties to take away the speed advantage that Jackson had enjoyed previously against each opponent. Worked like a charm. Jackson was well on his way to a historical bad performance passing till the Chargers took their foot off the gas late and gave up a couple of quick scores. It all proved to be too little too late.Seattle also ran into a more well balanced opponent in the Dallas Cowboys. In all fairness, Seattle's kicker was injured in the first half which affected their play calling throughout the game, but they struggled to establish the running game against the Cowboys stout defense, therefore limiting the effectiveness of their play action game.So are we witnessing a return to old school football, where teams are built around a strong running game, the occasion big play in the passing game, and a hard nosed defense and special teams? I don't think so, and these first round playoff games provided some compelling evidence.Success in today's NFL is dependent on creating balance, or the appearance of such. The creativity necessary to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses, and the ability to disguise your shortcomings to prevent them from being exploited.The Steelers were never able to achieve balance this season, on either side of the ball. They failed to find their identity on offense even though I thought they were pretty close on a couple of occasions. I was wrong both times.What resulted was a pass dependent offense that never found their rhythm running the ball, some of which was caused by extenuating circumstances. That has to be remedied before next season if the Steelers are going to return to the playoffs.Hopefully next year Steelers Nation won't have to suffer through another post season minus our Pittsburgh Steelers. I guess I should be thankful I got to witness the Ravens suck all hope from their fans just as they finally gave them something to cheer for. It brought a smile to my face and a little pep to my step. It was much appreciated.