If you ever had any doubt that there is a serious disconnect between the Steelers coaching staff and the Steelers front office, that was dispelled on Sunday night. And if there was any question that the decision to slap a transition tag on Max Starks ranks as one of the worst decisions in the history of free agency in the NFL, it was also cleared up.
Marvel Smith, the Steelers' starting left tackle, left the Jaguars game at the start of the fourth quarter with cramps. Given the choice of sending in Starks, the $6.9 million backup, or Trai Essex, the Steelers chose Essex. Starks is a former starting right tackle on a Super Bowl team, who also played reasonably well as a fill-in left tackle last year when Smith went down with a back injury. Essex is a disappointing fourth-year left tackle prospect who has never been ahead of Starks on the depth chart--until now.
Essex, of course, then allowed a sack on his first snap.
In case you're wondering Starks is active--with three defensive linemen hurt as well as two running backs, it's not hard to find enought players for the inactive list.
It's very hard to how its possible that the same team that could offer Starks nearly $7 million would then view him as only a backup right tackle. Clearly the front office believes Starks can play, while the coaching staff must despise him.