Some observations halfway through the Steelers season:
--- Ben Roethlisberger not only is having a Pro Bowl season, he’s having a possible MVP season. His competition will come from the usual sources, quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady. But with three comeback victories in the fourth quarter, a 101.1 passer rating, a new offense and fewer interceptions than all the other named, he should be right there in the discussion.
--- Roethlisberger also is the most efficient quarterback on third down with a passer rating of 121.2. Brady is next with 110.2. Seven of Roethlisberger’s 16 touchdown passes have come on third down.
--- If Jonathan Dwyer and/or Isaac Redman continue to pound out 100-yard games and the Steelers return to Rashard Mendenhall when he’s healthy, it will be the dumbest choice since Bill Cowher went from a successful Bubby Brister to Neil O’Donnell when he healed in time to play and lose 24-3 to Buffalo in Cowher’s first playoff game in 1992, at home.
--- Dwyer (299) and Redman (274) are Nos. 16 and 17 in the AFC in rushing.
--- Dwyer was asked if his consecutive 100-yard games should mean something when the Steelers decide which back to use. Here’s what he said:
“All I did was just do what I can and put myself in a situation here and prove around the league that I can be the starting guy if they need me to do it. I look at it as this, the fact I had two good games and Red had a phenomenal game last week, just shows how deep we are at the running back position. Everybody has to play for all three of us and even Baron and Will and Rainey, they have to prep for every single one of us.”
--- Scott Pioli won all kinds of honors when he was the personnel man for Bill Belichick in New England. Kansas City hired him to turn the team around and he has done that, turned the franchise into a mess. He hired and fired Todd Haley even though Haley had them going in the right direction. He then hired retread Romeo Crennel, a nice guy who failed miserably as the head coach in Cleveland and now has fired himself at midseason as the Chiefs’
defensive coordinator. Chiefs fans are booing their own team and may stop showing up for games, which is unheard of for that strong fan base. Pioli has proven that the Peter Principle is alive and well in the NFL.
--- Roethlisberger was asked about not throwing deep this season and the adjustment to that:
“We’ve always felt we’ve got deep play guys but as we saw the other night, we can also get it to them quick and let them go the distance. We just try to have a happy medium. When do we take our shots? We still have to have those plays because we’ve got guys that can stretch the field. But we also have guys that we feel we can get them catches short and let them run long. That’s the approach that we have to be able to take as well. Whatever works, as long as we get in the end zone, it doesn’t matter how we get there.”
--- Ike Taylor is nothing if not honest. When asked about the dropped interception in the end zone against the Giants (it would not have counted anyway, because that was the penalty on Ryan Clark), Taylor said “You know my hands are suspect.’’
--- Just one question today:
--- YOU: You mentioned that they could sign a WR off the practice squad to the 53 on Saturday or Sunday this week. If that's their plan, is it allowable to have that player practice like a "regular" WR during the week so that he'd be ready to be active on Monday night?
ME: Yes, all practice players can do anything in practice, they just cannot play unless they’re signed to the 53-man roster.
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