By Danny Cox
The Pittsburgh Steelers are actually going backward instead of forward as they look to try and plow ahead into the playoffs. Make sense to you?
Injuries have completely demolished the Steelers on both sides of the ball this season, and it is forcing them to call up names of old. They’ve really had no choice but to look to names of Pittsburgh’s past in order to try and make things work.
First of all, the Steelers went out and signed veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress on Tuesday to add some depth. The only hope now is that Burress still has what it takes on the field at the age of 35.
He was impressive enough during a workout to have Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert bring him back. Mind you, he hasn’t played a down since the 2011 season when he was with the New York Jets, but he looked good enough to merit a contract.
“He’s in really good physical condition based on the workout I just saw,” Tomlin said. “He’s got very good body control for a big man. He can drop his weight at break points and obviously he’s no stranger to football.”
Steeler wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery fractured some ribs this past Sunday against Baltimore. Antonio Brown is still listed as “questionable” for this week after missing the past two games with an ankle issue.
Burress appears ready to just get out there and do his job so that he can help the Steelers win.
“I’m very excited to be back in the black and gold where it all started. It’s a great situation for me to be in. I just want to go in, fill my role and do well,” Burress said on “NFL Live.”
The tall wide receiver was used to being on the receiving end of passes from Ben Roethlisberger, but he may have to wait a week or two for those again. “Big Ben” is dealing with a sprained right shoulder and a dislocated rib that caused him to miss the Baltimore game and may hold him out at least one more week.
Byron Leftwich filled in for Roethlisberger, but he is now also dealing with fractured ribs thanks to the Ravens. There is no guessing game here. Leftwich is out.
“Byron Leftwich is out with a rib fracture that he sustained late in the football game,” Tomlin said.
In steps Charlie Batch.
The 37-year old “forever” back-up quarterback hasn’t made a start since Dec. 24, 2011, but he led the Steelers to a 27-0 victory over the St. Louis Rams. Batch is no slouch and he has plenty of talent so it isn’t like the Steelers are handing the reigns over to a know-nothing rookie.
Pittsburgh is sitting at 6-4 and hoping that they can keep moving forward into the playoffs even with the huge amount of injuries weighing them down. The only thing is that they are now placing their offensive firepower into the hands of a 37-year-old quarterback and a 35-year-old wide receiver.
Veteran leadership is known to win a number of games, but the Steelers don’t have an easy road ahead. Hopefully the “oldies but goodies” can keep things together until injuries have healed.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.