Sunday, September 13, 2015

Everybody's Looking for the Next Russell Wilson ...

The Buffalo Bills' selection of Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback raised eyebrows across the NFL. Taylor vindicated their decision by playing well on Sunday in leading the Bills to a decisive victory over the Colts. What we might be seeing, increasingly, is effort by NFL teams to find the next Russell Wilson.

Tyler Murphy
We might be tempted to speculate that's what the Steelers had in mind with respect to Tyler Murphy, except that he is now playing wide receiver instead of quarterback, which is what he played at Boston College.  The undrafted rookie free agent acquitted himself well during training camp and beat the odds to earn a roster spot. Not only that, but he earned a game-day helmet for the season opener, which is more than can be said of fellow rookie Sammie Coates, the more highly touted third-round draft choice out of Auburn. The coaching staff declared Coates inactive for Sunday's game.

Kudos to Murphy for adapting to a new position and apparently surpassing Coates to this point; admittedly it's early, and maybe Coates will be great. The fact that Coates was on the inactive list instead of Murphy, however, raises questions about his development and how far away from being a contributor he might be.

The Steelers might not have drafted Coates had it not been for Martavis Bryant's immaturity, poor decision-making and inability to keep himself from failing repeated drug tests. The Steelers knew of Bryant's failed drug tests and potential consequences last Spring, before the 2015 NFL Draft, and that his tenuous status influenced their decision to draft Coates in the third round.
“We have known about the possibility of it for some time,” head coach Mike Tomlin said this past week. “In a lot of ways, it directed our course of action throughout the offseason, specifically drafting Sammie Coates, because of the potential of this event.
Maybe the Steelers would have drafted Davis instead of Coates; maybe not. Different positions, different circumstances and different teams, but apparently Carl Davis is further ahead in his development than Sammie Coates.

Once again, in any case, Pittsburgh's nose tackle play was unimpressive during the loss at New England.  It would have been interesting to see if Davis would have fared better against New England's undrafted rookie center.

Thanks, Martavis. 

The big problem for the Steelers right now appears to be the defense, particularly the secondary. One thing is sure: Nobody is scared of or intimidated by the Steelers' defense anymore.  And that's been the case for several years.

Looking at the bright side, maybe the Steelers actually have the next Russell Wilson on their roster in Tyler Murphy.  They just have him playing wide receiver.  Over Sammie Coates.