Plan B At Safety Behind Mitchell Needs Plan To Better Limit Big Plays

Perhaps in contradiction of his many detractors, the biggest issue with Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell is not what he does on the field, but rather how much time he spends off it.

Scratch that. It does have to do with what he does on the field, but because, perhaps, he should not even be on the field, because he is so frequently injured. The 30-year-old safety known for extremely family-friendly meltdowns on the field has been unable to keep injuries away simply through polite manners.

We should know more later today, but it looks like the veteran could be missing his third time of the season with an injury, having already missed the team’s last game. He suffered an Achilles injury in the Steelers’ first game after the bye, and yet was listed as questionable to play four days later. A week and a half on, he may still not be ready to play again.

Which, apparently, means more of Robert Golden, who started in Mitchell’s place against the Titans, even though it was J.J. Wilcox who started for him earlier in the season when he was out with an injury. Each of them ended up recording an interception in their start, while Mitchell is still looking for his first of the season.

The Steelers have struggled to contain the big plays down the field since his most recent injury, after they had gone through the first five games of the season without allowing any reception of 40 yards or more.

In fact, as I have written about earlier, it has been a growing trend, as they have allowed two in each of their past three games, and now seven on the season. Of course, getting Mitchell back is not going to single-handedly solve that problem, but the evidence suggests that it could help.

Still, it would be inadvisable to rush him along, which has been his tendency previously in his career. He spent a good deal of time during his first three seasons with the Steelers playing through a variety of injuries, which have affected his performance, when it would have been more beneficial to have him rest—if only they were more comfortable in their backups.

While they have tried two different players to start in his absence, it’s unclear whether that is an equal vote of confidence or a search for a viable solution. Both Golden and Wilcox have had their issues while on the field, in truth.

One might be inclined to say that this would be a game to let him rest, facing Brett Hundley at quarterback, whose Packers were just shut out. But the matchup shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, Green Bay was able to move down the field, with turnovers damning them in the end. They still have an impressive trio of wide receivers.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Brian Moritz

    I don’t understand Golden over Wilcox, but I know this. BOTH are better than Mitchell.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    I really don’t get the hatred for Mitchell. Not saying he’s great, but he makes plays on the ball, he does so with velocity, and generally covers the top pretty well.

    Troy is more than a tough act to follow.

    Considering Mitchell’s age and injuries, I hope the Steelers double-dip next year at the position and maybe bring in that hybrid/monster that will have us all excited.

  • Chad H

    Two different positions one is a free safety the other is a strong safety. We have a 2nd year strong safety who has been playing solid football and only getting better.

  • Conserv_58

    Mike has always been nursing one injury after another and it’s what has been holding him back from elevating his game. Him always playing injured is commendable, but it’s also a liability for Mike and the team. He has never played one season uninjured since signing with the team. His body is incapable of keeping up with his mental toughness.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Yep, fair point. I guess I was generalizing for hatred’s sake that maybe people are expecting Troy at safety.

  • capehouse

    You know nothing then.

  • walter

    Golden suks. I was gonna write a long post but its not necessary.

  • SfSteeler

    body blow! and true…

  • cencalsteeler

    Tomlin repeatedly challenges the Defense to come up with “splash plays”. In all honesty, how many “splash plays” has Mike Mitchell given the Defense this season? In the short stint Golden and Wilcox have played, both have come down with ints. Now, I’m not saying those guys are the answer, but I certainly don’t think MM is our answer either. I have absolutely no hate towards the man, but I do think he is a weak link in the Defense. His hard hits are worth a pat on the back, but his coverage skills are never going to win him any honors. I feel coverage skills are FAR more important at the FS position than being “wowed” by a big hit after a catch or after a run for a first down.
    Kevin Byard has 6 int’s this season. Imagine what this D would be like if we had a guy like him back there on this Defense creating those kind of “splash plays” our Coach continously looks for. MM serviceable? Sure. But, an upgrade would put this D over the top.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    So your gage of a good safety is free safety is turnovers.

    Ryan Clark was here for 8 years. He had 3 INTs once and had 0, 1, or 2 INTs every other year.

    Mitchell has 3 in 2015 and one last year.

    I just think there’s more to it than splash plays. And not sure Tomlin is just talking about Mitchell

  • Brian Moritz

    Then feel free to educate me since you know so much. Mitchell sucks.

  • WB Tarleton

    lol The Golden INT was a tipped ball that fell in his lap like a mother handing over her baby.

    There is zero doubt that Mitchell is a better player than either of those two.

  • cencalsteeler

    Never said any of them were better than MM.

  • FATCAT716

    You know nothing at all

  • Jason Dock Dudley

    how many games has he missed

  • John Pennington

    Draft safety help next year and another corner to challenge Burns.The secondary needs a few more players to get them over the hump.

  • Taylor Williams

    I’d rather draft a TE and FS in the upper rounds. I’ll give Sutton a shot at pushing Burns.

  • John A Stewart

    Golden is terrible first of all he was a cornerback in college and now he playing safety for us wow. Dangerfield is on the practice squad when he is way better than Golden and he is a true safety here we go again coach T and his favorites. Golden is the new Ryan Mindy he was garbage. Wow
    we are doom against good quarterback.

  • John A Stewart

    Golden better than Mitchell please leave that synthetic weed alone.

  • Chad H

    Ok I get what you are saying now.