Thursday, October 03, 2013

A Waste of Space

Taking a flyer on Levi Turnstile Brown
No, the title of this post, "A Waste of Space," does not necessarily refer to Levi Brown, the left tackle acquired by the Steelers in a trade for a late-round draft choice to be determined.

We're inclined to give Bad, Bad Levi Brown a chance* to prove himself, despite having already had six years and 78 NFL starts worth of chances.

For us, for now, he gets a pass, despite the vivid reports out of Arizona, the "good riddance" comments from fans there, and the very pointed comments of Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians.

They couldn't wait to get rid of Brown, a high-first round draft choice (fifth overall) who was selected in the 2007 draft ahead of Adrian Peterson (seventh overall), Patrick Willis (12th), Darelle Revis (14th) and, yes, Lawrence Timmons (15th overall).

No soup for you!
For us, Levi Brown gets a free pass, for now, but you know who doesn't get a free pass?
  • The Steelers' management team who handed Mike Adams the left tackle job. What has Mike Adams done to merit being named a starter at left tackle in the NFL?  Last year, his rookie season, he did okay in run-blocking for about three starts, but he struggled badly in pass protection and then got hurt. 
  • Even last year, it was clear Adams is too slow on his feet.  He struggles vs. speed rushers (as does Brown, as it turns out).  On the left side, Adams's problems against good pass rushers became starkly transparent in his struggles vs. Cincinnati's Michael Johnson, Chicago's Julius Peppers and Minnesota's Jared Allen. Honestly, the Steelers see Adams every day in practice -- what did they expect?
  • No free pass for Todd Haley, too, who coached Levi Brown in Arizona and who must have lobbied to bring him to Pittsburgh. 
  • And Mike Adams himself, no free pass for him.
EZ Pass Adams and Turnstile Brown.
EZ-Pass Adams, after all, is the guy who was so contrite after failing a drug test at the NFL combine (sheesh) that he practically begged the Steelers to draft him.

It wasn't long before Adams rewarded their show of faith by getting in a jackpot once again this past June, with his 3 a.m. antics when he got stabbed on the South Side.

He wasn't out partying and putting himself in a bad spot? An innocent bystander?  A victim?  Tell it to somebody else. Off the field, Adams apparently did not take his responsibilities seriously; on the field, he has been abysmal.

The word from Arizona:  "Turnstile"
Apparently Levi Brown may not be a much better tackle than Mike Adams, if at all.  A sampling of comments, including these choice barbs from Arizona general manager Steve Keim, as reported by ESPN:
“I don’t think it comes as any surprise that Levi Brown was not living up to our expectations on the field,” Keim said. “At the end of the day we just felt like it was in the organization’s best decision and best interest to move on from Levi. When the opportunity arose with Pittsburgh to make a trade, we jumped at the opportunity.”
In other words, Keim and Arians couldn't believe their good luck when the Steelers approached them about actually sending Arizona a conditional draft pick for Brown, who was about to be released anyway.
    More from the ESPN report: 
    • "Brown allowed four sacks in four games this season, with three coming in the opener against St. Louis. His vulnerability was defending the speed rush, which exposed Brown’s lack of lateral movement." 
    Steelers fans, we ask you: does that sound familiar (Mike Adams)?
    • "Brown's inconsistent play ultimately cost him his job, Keim said, which will go to second-year left tackle Bradley Sowell, who was claimed off waivers on Sept. 1. Arians and Keim both felt he was simply their best option at left tackle." 
    Ouch.  But wait, there's more -- 
    • “I don’t think there’s any risk because the problems that we’ve incurred, I don’t think would get any worse,” Arians said.
    Think about that for a second.  They put a scrap-heap cast-off at left tackle because "it couldn't get any worse."  Maybe they haven't seen Mike Adams.  Last but not least, the kill-shot comment, courtesy of Steve Keim, general manager:
    • “I think Bruce and I both agree that, at the end of the day ... it was just in the best interest of the organization to move on,” Keim said. “And move on as quickly as possible.”

      Finally, one more, from Ron Jaworski, former NFL quarterback and ESPN NFL analyst, who said: 
      "Levi Brown is unfixable.  It seemed whenever there was a critical play in the game, it was Levi getting beat. ... I don't know how you make a person's feet get quicker at this point in their career. When you become a turnstile and everyone is looking at that tape right now, saying, 'Man, I can't wait until we play the Arizona Cardinals,'" Jaworski said. "Guys are salivating to get to that side on the defensive end position or the linebacker position because they know they're going to make All-Pro in these few games."

      Where does that leave us?  
      • With Levi "Turnstile" Brown on one side and Mike "EZ-Pass" Adams possibly on the other, with Guy Whimper lurking in the shadows, what could possibly go wrong?  
      • Ben Roethlisberger gets decapitated? Nah, that won't happen. Will it?
      Back to the title of this post: What, exactly, is a waste of space, if not for Levi Brown and Mike Adams? This entire post, that's what.  Don't say you weren't warned.

      We shouldn't have even bothered with this entry.  These guys will either prove themselves to be decent players, or they won't.  Time will tell, and it won't be long.

      Recent history, however, says they've already had significant chances, and it says past is prelude. If so, it could be a long 12 games. 

      *"Give Brown a chance" doesn't exactly have the ring of "Give Peace a Chance," does it?

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