Sunday night is coming and the Pittsburgh Steelers are coming to town. We sat down with our sister site, Behind the Steel Curtain, to talk about the matchup in the works. Thanks to Jeff Hartman for fielding our questions.
1. How has this episode with Martavis Bryant impacted the current Steelers team? How do you see this situation being resolved? I know some fans were interested in him here in Detroit, where do you see him fitting in on a future team?
Bryant is frustrated, but he has zero control in the overall situation. He is under contract thru 2018, and although he is disgruntled he will have to learn how to adapt and be a part of the offense. The Steelers won't trade him, at least until the offseason, if ever, but I don't think it has impacted the team at all. This entire season has been a soap opera, and it seems like it galvanizes the team in a way. I don't expect this team to miss a beat, especially when the head coach decides to bench the distraction for a week before their bye week. My guess is after the bye all will be well again.
2. What can Ben Roethlisberger teach Matthew Stafford when it comes to getting hit unnecessarily hard?
I'm sure Roethlisberger could talk to him about how although the "tough guy" persona might fit for him now, later in his career he will pay for those hits. Roethlisberger is also a huge proponent of players sticking up for themselves when it comes to head injuries, you may remember he removed himself from a game in Seattle in 2015 thinking he may have had a concussion, so Roethlisberger would probably tell Stafford to make as many plays as he can, but don't always put your body on the line to do so.
3. How effective has the two tight end set been for Pittsburgh this year?
The usage of two TEs and a FB has shown how the Steelers have gone from a more finesse team to a ground-and-pound group. Le'Veon Bell has annihilated two good defenses the past two weeks (Chiefs and Bengals) and barring some stupidity on Todd Haley's part (which could happen), the Lions can expect a lot of No. 26 running on Sunday night. It should be noted the team will be without TE Vance McDonald, who they have used as a pulling blocker a lot this season, which means they might not run as many 2 TE sets as they have the past two weeks. Xavier Grimble will take over for McDonald, but is far from the same type of blocker.
4. Who do you think stole JuJu Smith-Schuster's bike? Also, how has his season been so far?
No one knows who stole his bike, but whomever did sold it for $200 (it was an $800 bike) and then turned it into police when he saw all the reports. JuJu finally found his bike, and all is right with the world again. As for his rookie season, it has been a roller coaster ride, but he seems to be finding his niche in this offense. I am excited about Sunday night for a lot of reasons, and one of those is an increased role for JuJu. Without Bryant, it will be Smith-Schuster who will be getting the extra reps, and not just in the slot. He has three TDs on the season, and his celebrations make everyone want to see more.
5. I just asked four questions about people on the offense so this is where I'd like you to write a few words about the Steelers defense and/or special teams.
The Steelers defense is quietly one of the better units in the NFL. If you take away two poor games in rush defense, the Steelers pass defense ranks top in the league, and overall they are a very good unit. They get after the quarterback, 24 sacks thru 7 games (T-2nd in the NFL), are extremely fast, and certainly know how to hit. If the Lions can put up points on the Steelers defense, which isn't easy, Detroit fans should be happy about their progress; however, I like the Steelers pass rushers against the Lions' tackle situation on Sunday night.
BONUS ROUND: I recently moved to Los Angeles and I discovered the magic of french fries in California burritos. This isn't really a question I just wanted to apologize to all the mean things I've said about yinzer sandwiches in the past.
Primanit Brothers should be enjoyed only at the original location in the Strip District. All others are imitators and sub-standard. Glad you finally came around to the fries though!