Arizona Cardinals vs Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 questions with Still Curtain
By Scott Allen
The Arizona Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at 10 a.m.
The Arizona Cardinals, who spent all week practicing in West Virginia after last week’s win in Detroit, have now headed to Pennslyvania to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. As we’ve done from time to time we were able to do a question and answer session with the opposing team site editor.
This week we had the chance to ask Kim Myers, Editor of Still Curtain, some questions ahead of this week’s game. I was able to ask her about head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers injuries, and the AFC North division race.
Pittsburgh of course has had their injury issues early on, amongst other issues. How have the Steelers managed a winning record without the services of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’veon Bell, and Martavis Bryant (who returns this week) at one point or another?
"DeAngelo Williams rushed for 204 yards combined for the first two games when Le’Veon Bell was suspended so the rushing game certainly didn’t suffer in Bell’s absence. Michael Vick is only 1-1 so far without Roethlisberger so it will be a triumph if he can come out of this with a winning record. I expect Martavis Bryant’s return to the lineup will open up a lot more opportunities for Antonio Brown, who’s production has dropped with Roethlisberger out.Other than that the Steelers defense has been a pleasant surprise so far with the sack numbers higher than we’ve had in years to start the season. Keith Butler’s scheme has the defensive line more involved in the pass rush allowing defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt to really do some damage. Hopefully linebacker Ryan Shazier stays healthy for the remainder of the season because he can be a force in the middle of the field."
The prevailing thought outside of Pittsburgh at times is Mike Tomlin doesn’t know what he’s doing or what he’s talking about? Is he a really smart guy and is it really all just an act?
"I think Mike Tomlin is a very well respected coach both in and outside of Pittsburgh, for the most part. He’s made some bad clock-management decisions and he definitely made a bad call on a fourth-and-one against Baltimore not giving the ball to Le’Veon Bell. He’s never had a losing season and he’s been to two Super Bowls in his eight seasons here so he must be doing something right. He’s a very smart guy and a very smart coach. I don’t know what he’s done to give off the impression that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Maybe the leg on the field in the Thanksgiving game against he Ravens a few years back? LolThe criticism Tomlin faces comes from a fan base that expects Super Bowls every year. A lot of the fan base romanticizes Bill Cowher and refuses to believe that you can think both Tomlin and Cowher are good coaches and both did good things for the team. It’s the same mentality for those fans who will never like Todd Haley as the offensive coordinator and still pine for the days of Bruce Arians running the offense and only attribute the team’s offensive success to Ben Roethlisberger calling plays on his own."
The Steelers are in another tough race this season in the AFC North. Baltimore has been a bit surprising starting 1-4 and really getting a lucky win at Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago. Cleveland has competed and well Cincinnati has shown to be the class of the division early on. Can the Steelers still reach the postseason?
"It’s not going to be an easy road for the Steelers to reach the postseason by any means. It will all depend on how well they make it while Ben Roethlisberger is out and how well they do after their bye week. They have a brutal schedule after the bye which includes a trip to Seattle and games against the Colts, Broncos and Bengals. It’s fortunate for the Steelers that the Ravens are faltering the way they are, making it a two-team race for the division if it comes down to that."
The word is Big Ben has been practicing in a limited capacity this week. Although he is still listed doubtful and most expect him to return in week seven, do you think there is a legitimate chance he makes gameday this Sunday against the Cardinals?
"I don’t think there is a remote chance he returns for this game. It’s encouraging to see him practicing so early after the injury but it would be a huge mistake to rush his return, as bad as he wants to play against Bruce Arians. It’s one thing to participate in seven-on-seven drills in practice and it’s a whole other world to go back into the game. I don’t see any realistic chance he suits up on Sunday, no matter how much he practices this week."
Update: These questions were asked on Friday before Sunday’s status was known. Ben Roethlisberger has since been ruled out of Sunday’s game
What is your prediction and final score for Sunday’s game?
"The Steelers defense has to get after Carson Palmer and somehow stop a Cardinals team that has been outscoring teams ridiculously from jumping ahead early. The offense will need to be aggressive as well as they can’t afford to start the game playing safe and end up falling behind. I think they build on the momentum from the Monday night win and sneak one out in another close game. Steelers 31 Cardinals 28."
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