Kudos to Tackling Kickers, and Questions for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Joseph SirimarcoContributor INovember 24, 2009

Monday Night Football , Tennessee vs. Houston, and 12:50 remaining in the second quarter.

Tennessee kicks off after a touchdown. The Houston kick returner finds a seam in the coverage, accelerates into the open and races up field, with one Houston player to beat. The player launches himself into the returner and makes the tackle, saving a sure touchdown.

The player?  Rob Bironas, the Tennessee kicker.

So, Jeff Reed, are you a football player?  Do you wear the uniform on game days?  Are you sent on the field to play?

Then shut up and make a tackle!

That goes for you, too, Mike Tomlin and Bob Ligashesky. If your precious china doll kicker makes two tackles, your team is 8-2 and in command of the division, so don't tell me Jeff Reed is not supposed to make tackles.

Oh, by the way, who was the player whom the Steelers brought into training camp in 2004 to compete for the kicker's job, eventually losing to incumbent Jeff Reed?

Yes, that's right, Rob Bironas.

From Peter King on SI.com , commenting on the reasons that Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers has been sacked so many times this season:

First eight games: 37 sacks, five interceptions.

Last two games: six sacks, no interceptions.

There's no question Rodgers was simply holding onto the ball too long, and his leaky offensive line—particularly at right tackle—was getting him bowled over.

"We've been working on the three variables [for sacks]," coach Mike McCarthy said after the Pack beat San Francisco 30-24. Protection, Rodgers' internal clock, and running enough quick-opening patterns that Rodgers always has an open one to choose from when the pressure comes.

Against Dallas last week and the 49ers Sunday, he looked more comfortable and maybe a tick faster. "His time clock's been excellent," McCarthy said, "and he's responded really well to coaching, which he always has done."

Rodgers has been a 70-percent passer over the past two weeks. His play in the last eight quarters is a good example of how during the season players can polish facets of their games that need to be fixed, or else the season's going up in smoke.

The Steelers are seeing more and more pressure on Roethlisberger, and he's going to have to quicken his delivery in the pocket or he won't last 16 games. Rodgers did it just by knowing he had to make decisions faster, and that time savings might help save Green Bay's season.

Are you listening, Bruce Arians? Note that Mike McCarthy said, "...running enough quick-opening patterns that Rodgers always has an open one to choose from when the pressure comes."

Does Ben respond well to coaching? Does Ben have a good internal time clock? Do you think Ben might like to have a quick-opening option when the pressure comes? Like on the last possession against Cincinnati, or in the second half and overtime against Kansas City?

When Stefan Logan fumbles, Mike Tomlin removes him from the kick return team. When Rashard Mendenhall fumbles or "doesn't know his details," Tomlin removes him from the offense or from the active roster on game day. When Arnold Harrison misses a tackle on kick coverage, Tomlin removes him from the team altogether.

Has anyone noticed that Tomlin doesn't hold his offensive coordinator and special teams coaches to the same standard?

Can the Steelers lose even one more game and still make the playoffs?

What is a "concussion-oriented" injury? Could this be what Bruce Arians is suffering from?

So the kicker is not supposed to make tackles? I wonder what Jack Lambert would think. Maybe something like: "If kickers aren't supposed to make tackles, then they should wear pink tutus, tights and slippers so that we know who they are."

Tyrone Carter said that the secondary didn't get the defensive call from the sideline before the decisive play, a 61-yard pass to Chris Chambers, in overtime against Kansas City. Why didn't he or someone else call a timeout?

The Steelers defense has given up 13 touchdowns in 10 games, despite missing Troy Polamalu for six of those games.  Say what you want about the defense, but don't say they aren't playing championship-caliber football.