Week 6 in the NFL brings a smorgasbord of delightful games to the table. But the most interesting is the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Arizona Cardinals at Heinz Field. The 1 p.m. EDT start is sure to be a slugfest. The Steelers just may have to let Michael Vick be “Vick” for this titanic struggle.
Let Vick be Vick? Well aren’t the Steelers letting him play already? The answer is a resounding no. Vick may have scrambled for 24 yards at the end of the San Diego game on Monday Night Football, but the Steelers are trying to work him into an offense that has been successful with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. To start Vick on a run-happy, bootleg-filled journey would be outrageous and dangerous at best. Vick’s legs wouldn’t carry him through the game.
The Monday night game was a struggle for the No. 13 ranked Steelers offense, until late in the game. Vick looked uncomfortable and seemed to force the play. Twice Vick led the Steelers on scoring drives that were surprises, given their timeliness in the game. When the Steelers were down he threw a 72-yard bomb to Markus Wheaton to force the tie. Then in the final 2:38 of the game, he manufactured a drive that eventually won the game for the visiting Steelers.
During that winning drive, Vick accounted for 60 of the Steelers’ 80 yards. It may be time to think about opening the offense up. Big Ben is no slouch when it comes to getting out of pressure. But he can’t do the things that Vick can do. Vick is older but he’s still more athletic than Roethlisberger.
Antonio Brown noticed that the Steelers have Vick boxed in. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the thoughts of Brown.
Vick knows that the Steelers offense is constantly changing. From week-to-week, offensive coordinator Todd Haley allows Vick to switch out plays if he sees something that he thinks may work better. Vick knows that any and every mistake he makes will make him look bad in the eyes of the Big Ben faithful.
The Steelers offense is struggling. But the thought of letting Vick loose to drive a defense batty is intriguing. If Vick had been involved with the offense for a longer period of time, changing and improvising would be a snap. But since the Steelers are depending on him to not make a mistake, those options become slim to nonexistent.
Since Big Ben has been hurt, the Steelers are leaning more on their running game. That didn’t work against the Ravens. Le’Veon Bell rushed for 129 yards in the Steelers loss to the AFC North division rival. In the past two games, Bell has rushed for 240 yards, taking some of the attention off Vick.
Letting Vick run around the field doing his thing is not a solid game plan. But to keep pace with an Arizona team that scores 38 points a game, the Steelers will have to think out removing the harness and letting Vick do a little bit more.
[Feature Image by Donald Miralle / Getty Images]