I had really hoped that I wouldn’t have to write about this issue because it would just go away. But I suppose that was wishful thinking on my part. Apparently Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was quoted as saying that wide receivers Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders would be considered “co-starters” this week and situations would determine who is playing when. Does it really matter?
Honestly, this should be a non-story. Not because it’s not significant that a starting wide receiver with the talent of Wallace might be pulled from the starting lineup. On the surface that is of course important. But does anyone really think if the Steelers are able to get a little rhythm in the passing game, Wallace won’t be in there? C’mon man!
I mean, I understand the premise that with quarterback Charlie Batch in the game, the vertical passing game is very limited so you don’t get that aspect of Wallace’s game. And I also understand that Wallace has struggled the past few weeks. But if the Steelers bench every player that has struggled the past few weeks, they will have a hard time fielding a team.
I said back in September the Steelers should trade Wallace, and it had nothing to do with him not being a great player. In fact he’s a tremendous player. But I say now like I did then, wide receiver Antonio Brown might be better and this team has greater needs than another person to catch passes. I believe the Steelers think so because Brown got his new deal first.
At this point, putting aside all the quarterback problems and offensive struggles, this team is finding an identity in the run game, and have a lot of really good skill players. While I believe that for the remainder of this season the Steelers will do everything they can to try and get Wallace involved in the offense, but this is almost certainly a sign of things to come.
This whole situation is caused in some part by Wallace’s holdout, but ultimately if this is an omen of the future and Wallace isn’t part of the Steelers longterm plans it will be the Steelers front office just handles business like this very matter of factly. If they feel like they have the players to move forward and win without Wallace you can bet they will let him go. But let’s not overreact to what may or may not happen this weekend. I fully expect Wallace to see plenty of time on the field, but unless quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returns healthy and ready to play, the entire offense is going to be limited.
So let’s all just relax about the whole benching thing and just see what happens. This team has much bigger issues heading into the weekend. What do you think the Steelers should do with Wallace? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know.
Curt writes about the Pittsburgh Steelers, college football, and the NFL draft for rantsports. He also covers the NFL draft at draftboardinsider and the Oklahoma Sooners on getrealfootball.