Why To Cut Jerome Bettis

8 - 1 - 1.<br><br> Guess what those numbers represent? That is the Pittsburgh Steelers record the past 2 years when Jerome Bettis did not play. Not one snap. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. <br><br> When he gets at least one snap? 17 - 9. That includes two playoff losses.

What does this mean for the future of our beloved "Bus"? Well, look at this way. The Steelers' winning percentage without him (80%) is a whole lot better than it is with him (65%).

The numbers don't lie. We win better without him. We can win next year without him.

Most of the games in which Bettis received less than 10 carries these past two years have been games in which the Steelers have either been playing catch-up or games where he's still recovering but available.

Against playoff teams, 4 - 1 - 1 without Bettis. With him, the Steelers are 4 - 5 over that same two-year span against playoff teams. These figures also include playoff wins and losses.

It's not the Steelers' fault that Bettis seems to be his healthiest when they're playing patsies, and when up against playoff teams, they do a whole lot better not worrying about giving the "Bus" his carries.

You ask about the ball control running offense that teams need to win a Super Bowl?

Well, neither of the AFC Championship teams this year have a running back that can take over a game any longer.

The Steelers would have beaten the Titans had they maintained their composure on their final drive of the game. Hell, how about a draw handoff to Fu while in the shotgun? He'd have gotten at least 2 – 3 yards with his power.

But, what about Bettis' short yardage abilities? Again, I bring in Fu. Or, how about that short yardage passing attack to Hines Ward? It works well on 2-point conversions.

Speaking of 2-point conversions, these are perhaps the strongest barometer of a short-yardage situation. The Steelers on the year were 7 of 8.

Still not convinced? Well, look at it this way. They can win at a high percentage without him. So why keep him? In his defense, Bettis will get an opportunity to be in shape by June 1 or at the latest training camp. But this FO must be careful. An unhealthy Bettis can't be cut or face financial problems.

I'm betting he'll show up in his typical June 1 shape. He'll go on and on about how he's this way every year and he'll be in shape by training camp. He'll remark on how his knee, groin and confidence are fully healed.

And then he'll be cut.

The Steelers made a bold move in cutting Levon Kirkland. They realized he had gotten too slow and made too much money for a defense that relied on speed among it's linebackers.

Bettis will be cut with the same rationale. A back that makes too much money to be at best the #2 back in a possible running-back-by-committee approach is a liability any way you look at it.

--The Steel Apple

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