Inside Conditions: Are the helmet sizes of the current Steelers quarterbacks too big?

I have observed and covered Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks from Terry Bradshaw, Bubby Brister, Neil O’Donnell, Kordell Stewart, Tommy Maddox, Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Mason Rudolph, Mitch Trubisky, and the ill-fated Kenny “midnight train to Georgia, oops, I meant Philly” and now the Steelers’ QB room, Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, and Kyle Allen. All of the quarterbacks mentioned above except two have one thing in common. To my knowledge, none of them except two: Kordell Stewart and Justin Fields. None of the others have been seriously considered to fill the role of a punt or kickoff returner. From the beginning of his career, Stewart was considered a “hybrid” all-purpose back and not a pure quarterback because of his speed and elusiveness.   Justin Fields has been mentioned as being considered as a kickoff and punt returner.  Kyle Sullivan recently reported on that: “During an appearance on Cam Heyward’s podcast, fellow Steelers teammate Jaylen Warren revealed that Pittsburgh special teams coordinator Danny Smith has mulled the idea of making quarterback Justin Fields a potential returner. ‘I would, I think it’s pretty cool. As soon as you touch the ball that’s when everything starts to happen,’ Warren said of the rule change and whether or not he’d want to take part in the return game. ‘Our special teams coordinator was talking about Justin Fields being back there. … We looked at him like, ‘Justin Fields is about to be back there?'”

Now I can understand the logic of a few folks who might approve such a move because of the bargain basement price that the Steelers paid for Fields and because it has been reported by multiple outlets that the Steelers declined to pick up quarterback Justin Fields’ fifth-year option, which is priced at $25 million. No coach in their right mind would place such a valuable commodity as a possible future franchise QB in such a precarious position to field punts or kickoffs. If I were Justin Fields, if anyone requested me to be involved in any activity that would indirectly or directly jeopardize my future as an NFL player, I would staunchly refuse to do so and play out this option year, and “git to gittin” in 2025. I am sure that if the Steelers don’t retain the services of Mr. Fields, one or two teams will come calling.  Maybe one or all of “The Three Stooges” sad sack crew of the 2023 Steelers QB room would have been the perfect candidates to field live balls which may have resulted in an instant appointment with the bone doctor. 

If the statement by Steelers running back Jaylen Warren is even partially true and special teams coach Danny Smith mentioned such a possibility by admiring the escape ability of QB Justin Fields, so be it.  However, I am positive that if Coach Smith were even semi-serious about Fields lining up as a kick returner, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin and Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith would not sign off on it.

Now let’s get to the meat and potatoes. Statements are being tossed around such as Denver Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton was allegedly forced to simplify the terminology of the Broncos playbook for Russell Wilson. One of the other statements that has become popular is: “Payton, Broncos trying to simplify things for an efficient offense.”  All these statements are blatant insinuations that Russell Wilson is not quite intellectually up to snuff regarding absorbing and implementing an NFL offense.

Russell Wilson led the Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowls in 2013 and 2014, winning a 43-8 blowout over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII and losing to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVIIII by the score of 28-24. The Seahawks should have easily won both games. However, “if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost.” Oh, I am so sorry, wrong story. If ex-Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll had not been on his own “intellectual island” by calling a pass play from inside the one yard line, the Seahawks would not have lost. Why didn’t the suspected cockfighting king, and “Bountygate” guru Sean Payton give his colleague Pete Carroll a quick ringy-dingy and suggest a running play from the goal line instead of an ill-fated pass with less than a yard to go, maybe the Patriots would not have been able to mount a comeback to win in Super Bowl XLVIIII. Also, would Sean Payton have disparaged the football intellect of one of his alleged heroes, ex-Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre, who, by many accounts, was well into his tenure with the Packers and did not even know what a basic nickel defense was?  Oh, I would be remiss not to mention the Jim Crow period narrative that claimed: “Black quarterbacks were and are not smart enough to play the quarterback position in the National Football League.” Don’t yaw’ll just feel like singin’, “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes.” Or maybe a slower tempo tune suits your fancy like, “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen.” Or should we try the new 2024 arrangement: “Nobody knows the trouble we see.”

Many things have not changed, just rearranged, you diggg. Oh by the way, Russell Wilson has won nine playoff games and competed in two Super Bowls, winning one.  Sean Payton has won eight playoff games and competed in two Super Bowls, winning one, advantage Russell Wilson. Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dogs, and cats, there will be more to come.

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