Remember when ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went on live television a couple weeks ago and thought the keys to the Chargers-Chiefs Week 15 game involved a multitude of players that weren’t playing in the game? That was fun.
Could you imagine if an NFL coach — not a talking head in the media — but a COACH, did the same thing in an interview?
That’s pretty much what happened in Pittsburgh.
Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler was being interviewed by steelers.com writer Bob Labriola and had an interesting closing remark when asked about Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert.
“I think he’s very good,” Butler said regarding Eifert. “He’s up there. He can get deep on you. He does a good job of catching the ball downfield. So he’s going to be a problem for us to cover.”
What was that coach? It sounded like you’re planning on Eifert, who has been on injured reserve since Week 5, to play against you this week.
To Butler’s credit, Eifert might still be able to give the Steelers’ linebackers trouble in coverage this week despite his ankle being two months removed from being completely snapped. Butler was probably hedging his bets because he knows his personnel isn’t the best, and he himself isn’t a great play caller.
Alas, no need to plan for Eifert, he probably can’t even run yet. Though he is apparently ahead of schedule.
Hey I am ahead of schedule! Glad the @steelers are still thinking about me tho ♂️ https://t.co/6rokqU6MkW— Tyler Eifert (@tylereifert) December 28, 2018
Butler hasn’t had the best month even before this. In the Steelers’ Week 13 matchup against the Chargers, his defense had a linebacker in coverage against wide receiver Keenan Allen far too many times, which lead to the talented pass-catcher hauling in 14 receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown in a Chargers win.
A week later, his unit allowed Raiders tight end Jared Cook loose and watched him rack up 116 yards on seven receptions in a 24-21 loss at Oakland.
Somehow, the Steelers limited the Patriots to just 10 points in their Week 15 win over the team that always gives them trouble. That defensive performance did not carry over to the next week when they allowed 31 points to the Saints and lost thanks to a fumble from wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Honestly, these interviews with the team can’t be that interesting so I don’t completely condemn Butler for potentially speaking mindlessly when he could be doing 100 other things. If he truly did believe Eifert would be playing this week, then there’s no salvaging his statement, he just didn’t bother to read any scouting report put in front of him or look at any tape of the Bengals’ offense beyond Week 4 of the year.
What makes it all the better is that the Steelers removed the interview from their website. Oops!
The "I meant the other Tyler" excuse won't even work. Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft are on IR and Tyler Boyd is injured, too. https://t.co/yFTXuPbtHY— Rebecca Toback (@Rebecca_Toback) December 28, 2018