Sunday, October 20, 2013

Game Day 6: Ravens at Pittsburgh; and a lingering question about Levi Brown

"Family" by Pittsburgh artist
Zivi Aviraz
Almost certainly we will never get an answer.

Apropos of nothing, Joey Porter's Pit Bulls have a question that's been bugging us since Levi Brown went down with a season-ending triceps injury during pre-game warm-ups before last Sunday's game vs. the Jets:

How thorough was Levi Brown's physical?

Brown, now on injured reserve without having played a down for the Steelers, was felled by the same ailment that put him on injured reserve last year in Arizona ... and, for all we know, still afflicted him this year. He'd been lousy for the Cardinals, and they couldn't wait to get rid of him.

It's fair to ask: Did Brown carry the injury with him to the Steelers? ... and somehow pass a cursory team physical? .. and just go through the motions until the pre-game warm-ups last Sunday?

Now Brown is on Pittsburgh's injured-reserve list, and collecting an NFL paycheck for being there.

The waste-of-space trade for the much-maligned Brown, who'd been called "unfixable" and a "turnstile" while he was with the Cardinals, seemed one of desperation for the Steelers.  They needed somebody -- apparently anybody -- to replace left tackle Mike Adams, who was starting to be referred to as "EZ-Pass" here in Pittsburgh.

Left Tackle is Kelvin Beachum's Job to Lose
Now, the Steelers are giving Kelvin Beachum every chance to earn the job at left tackle. He may do okay, says Tunch Ilkin, former Pro Bowl tackle and current announcer on the Steelers' broadcast team, as reported earlier this week in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Into the forge goes Kelvin Beachum
At this point, we trust Ilkin's ability to evaluate offensive linemen better than the Steelers' front office and coaching staff decision-makers.

"His hands are good enough, his feet are good enough, and he's athletic," Ilkin said. "I've always thought size was overrated."

Beachum may not be the prototypical left tackle, but Beachum will almost certainly fare better than the clueless and slow-footed Adams, who was so lost during the Vikings game that CBS's Bill Cowher said at halftime that he "looked like he was tying his shoes on that last sack" by Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen in the second quarter.

Today, Adams is listed on the Steelers' depth chart as second choice at left tackle and third choice at right tackle, behind ... Guy Whimper?

Talk about a lack of confidence -- Adams was the starter at right tackle just last year.

Surely, that placement on the depth chart makes it clear that the Steelers have cooled on Adams. Maybe Mike Tomlin actually meant what he said on Oct. 3rd, following the Steelers' fourth loss of the season (to the Vikings in London):
"We are going to focus on getting better. That's what's going to change the outcome of these football games. Those that don't aren't going to be a part of us. I have great patience. We'll continue to work and get better as long as I see belief and effort and continued improvement in detail, because that's what's going to change the outcome of these games. Those that don't, they won't be a part of it, whoever it may be. It's just that simple."
-- Mike Tomlin, Oct. 3, 2013