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Sorting out the Steelers

November 12, 2008 - John Mehno

I was watching ESPN over the weekend and Tom Jackson allowed that the Steelers are still searching for their identity.

This is one of those nonsense phrases that has become part of the landscape, just like "statement game." Here's the Steelers' identity: They're a team whose starting quarterback has a shoulder and thumb that both hurt like a toothache. This limits what he can do in games, and how much he can practice. That, in turn, limits his effectiveness. They have a starting running back who is their third option because the first two are on the sidelines. Willie Parker has missed time with knee and shoulder injuries, and Rashard Mendenhall is out for the season after breaking his shoulder. The offensive line, which was iffy to start, has been weakened by the loss of Marvel Smith. And the offensive effort was further hindered last week by the loss of tight end Heath Miller to an ankle injury.

That's their identity: They're a decent team, like so many others in the NFL, and they're banged up and scuffling to get by. Shouldn't be that hard to figure out. But the "identity" stuff sounds so much more profound. 

Meanwhile, McDonald's is test marketing its new third-pound Angus burger here. I haven't tried one yet, although I will now that I have some buy one/get one coupons. I'm wondering if the rollout of the new burger cost us a seasonal visit from the McRib? If that's the case, my identity is Unhappy Consumer.

I am looking for: