Steelers MAQB: Just Give Logan the Da*n Ball Already

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IIAugust 24, 2009

PITTSBURGH - 2009:  Stefan Logan of the Pittsburgh Steelers poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by NFL Photos)

Goin’ deep while I wonder if Bobby Layne retired one year too early . . . 

First Down

Rookie return man Stefan Logan was so special that Steelers fans would have liked to reach out and hug the 5'6" scatback last Saturday night. Still, let’s not carried away here. He is not the next Darren Sproles, at least not yet.

For one, Logan isn’t quite as fast or nearly as strong as the San Diego Chargers halfback. And unlike the 5'6" Sproles, who has never lost a fumble in his NFL career, he has been known to put the ball on the ground every once in awhile.

That being said, I’d like to see what Logan can do on flares, screens, and draws in pass situations. In the CFL last season, the man known as Joystick was even more dangerous in the backfield and averaged a ridiculous 7.3 yards per rush attempt. His 1,366 yards from scrimmage were the sixth-highest total in the league.

If Logan proves to be more than a one-trick pony, then his value will be that much greater. There's no better time to find out than the present.

Second Down

For months, all we heard was how improved the offensive line would be this season. Well, any time these guys wants to show it is fine with me.

The preseason is more important for the o-line than any other unit because it has the most to prove, pure and simple. Yet not one member of the unit showed any noticeable improvement in the first two games. Worse yet, quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Dennis Dixon already have sustained injuries because of the inept play around them.

If the Steelers fail to repeat, then we already know the most likely reason that it didn’t happen.

Third Down

Is there any doubt that wide receiver Mike Wallace is more polished in his first season than Limas Sweed is in his second one?

Thus far, Sweed appears to have taken a small step forward in his bid for the No. 3 position, but he still loses focus and drops balls too often.

Meanwhile, Wallace has caught everything thrown his way. What impresses me even more than his speed is his willingness to block, which is a must-have for Steelers wide receivers.

If I’m o-coordinator Bruce Arians, then I call on the taller, stronger Sweed in the Red Zone and play the quicker, faster Wallace everywhere else.

Fourth Down

The critics who believe the Steelers made a mistake to draft punter Daniel Sepulveda in the fourth round of the 2007 draft should do the math.

Based on what we’ve seen in the preseason, Sepulveda appears very capable of a 40-yard net average this season. That would represent an improvement of 3.33 yards per kick from last season, when Paul Ernster and Mitch Burger split the duties.

The Steelers punted 78 times last season. Multiply 3.33 yards by 78 kicks and the result is 260 yards. Last season one yard was worth .067 points in the league. Multiply 260 yards by .067 points, and that’s 17.5 additional points. When one considers how many close games are played each season, one point can be crucial to the outcome.

As long as Sepulveda remains healthy, the Steelers are one point per game better than a year ago. Tell me, how many fourth-rounders are worth that much to his team?

(For the best in Steelers analysis, follow the Monday Afternoon Quarterback in the Bleacher Report every week.)