State of the Steelers
The State of the Steelers
After seeing yesterday's humbling loss in Cleveland and an anemic win in Jacksonville, one can't help but see numerous problems in Pittsburgh. There is more than enough talent on this team to be pretty good(maybe not playoff good), but performance, is at an all-time low. There have been flashes of the possible high level of play the Steelers can achieve, but only seldom do we see them. So, where do the problems lie?
Currently, Pittsburgh ranks 6th in yards per game, but only 24th in points per game, bringing forth the idea that the problem does not lie in moving the ball, but in simply converting drives into points, and with Suisham only having missed one field goal this season, it would seem that it is all on the offense and the play calling.
On multiple short yardage situations, I have seen boneheaded passing plays called, when the Steelers have two 230+ lbs running backs that are both averaging over five yards a carry and have shown that they are fully capable of being productive. Why not run the ball?
A lack of size in the receiver category has not helped much either with most jump ball fades going to a sub 6 ft, Antonio Brown. The only Wide Receiver over 6 ft tall that sees the field is Justin Brown who hasn't been particularly bad, but hasn't met my personal expectations that were raised by the hype accumulated prior to the season's start. It also doesn't help that receivers have been dropping passes, there were a couple from Wheaton yesterday and, of course the big drop from a usually sure handed, Antonio Brown, a few weeks ago. Of course, Big Ben does make questionable throws at times but, more often than not, he gets it there. The O-line has allowed Roethlisberger to be sacked 17 times, second most among NFL quarterbacks. Not the improvement from a glaring issue last season that you'd like to see.
I was almost brought to tears when Ike Taylor went down, he may or may not have been what he was a few years ago, but he is much better than the atrocity behind him, which all goes back to off season acquisitions. Troy Polamalu has not been the playermaker we all know and love, he has yet to even deflect a pass. The front seven has not been rushing the passer like the Steelers of old. 22nd in sacks? “C'mon man,” that's not Steeler football. I know there are some new guys out there, but something has to change. Mike Mitchell, who I raved about coming into the year, has not helped much; Jason Worilds, has only reached the quarterback twice; and Jarvis Jones, the 2013 first round investment, is out for at least eight weeks. Cortez Allen...geez. On a positive note, Shazier, who has showed some promise, should be back on the field soon. The defense is not a complete disaster(12th in yards allowed and 19th in points per game), but things need to change or they will get there.
Why not give some young guys a chance to make a difference? I have yet to see much of Tuitt, the second-round defensive end with a terrific upside. Martavis Bryant and Daniel McCullers have yet to make appearances in a game and Shaquille Richardson remains on the practice squad. Why not give these guys a shot? Wheaton, who was projected to be a big play threat, had a mere four receptions on eleven targets yesterday and negative[yes negative]one yard after the catch. I'm still a believer in Wheaton but, the 6'5 Bryant with 4'4 40yd speed definitely deserves a shot after that lackluster performance. Being 10th worst in average allowed yards per carry should spark some consideration of changes to the front seven personnel and scheme. Big 6'7 350 lbs McCullers can definitely clog up some holes and the physically gifted Tuitt could very well cause some disruptions and make an impact on games. Richardson is not part of a good group of cornerbacks; Time and time again, we've seen this secondary get dissected, and yesterday it was just astounding. I probably would've gotten open against that coverage. That being said, throw the young guy in the mix, let him get some game experience because no corner on the field(with the exception of Gay) is playing well enough to be kept out there. Why not give these guys a shot?
Of course, I'm not part of the Steelers camp, so I don't know what is going on within the organization, but I do know what I see and what I would do differently. There are multiple things that are causing the Steelers to be a sub-par team and where does the blame fall? Is there a lack of motivation in the players; are the players not as good as we speculated; is there a lack of a vocal leader in the locker room; are the coordinators responsible for the lack of scheme adjustments; does it all fall on Tomlin? What do you think?
Derrick Spikes II