Jerome Bettis, whose NBC gig ended after the 2008 season, is now writing for SI.com.
And his debut column will raise some eyebrows in the ‘Burgh.
Bettis explains — accurately, we might add — that the biggest flaw with the Steelers is their offensive line.
“This problem isn’t anything new,” Bettis says, “and I blame the coaching staff for not
addressing the line in the offseason. How did they rationalize not
doing anything about it? Well, they won a Super Bowl. They won’t be so
lucky twice in a row. If Ben [Roethlisberger] continues to get hit the way he did
Thursday — the same way he did last year, then this will come back to
haunt the Steelers. Ben will get hurt. Ben will miss games. And they
don’t have a line to run behind without Ben. Pittsburgh can’t repeat
with the line playing like this.”
Bettis also echoes our recent item regarding the possibility that Mewelde Moore will leapfrog Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall on the depth chart.
Though the league source who pointed Bettis’ column out to us thinks that Bettis will be required to tone it down soon, that directive surely won’t come from SI.com. Instead, Bettis will have to decide whether he wants to continue to be a beloved alumnus of the Steelers organization, or whether he wants to be objective.
Then again, Bettis made waves three years ago by accurately exposing the fact that coach Bill Cowher would be packing it in after the 2006 season, a belief that was an open secret among the folks who cover the team, but it was treated by the beat writers with the discretion that once was afforded to politicians who engaged in periodic peccadillos.
Meanwhile, we agree whole-heartedly with Jerome’s five other takes in the wake of Week One.