Steelers To Fire Coaches?


Despite playing last Thursday, the Pittsburgh Steelers were still a popular subject on NFL pregame shows yesterday.  That tends to happen when you go from defending Super Bowl Champions looking strong in defense of their title to a lazy unmotivated team that’s lost five straight games in humiliating fashion.  The rumor mill seems to be spinning although take this stuff with a grain of salt because it changes every week.  Two months ago, Eric Mangini in Cleveland and Todd Haley in Kansas City were “on the hot seat” while today nobody ever talks about them being fired.  Actually, now we know why the Steelers are one of President Obama‘s favorite teams.

They keep the unemployment rate down by saving coaches their jobs.

Anyway, I’d be inclined to ignore most of the rumors but this Adam Schefter dude seems to have good sources within the Steelers organization.  He was the guy who first broke the story about Charlie Batch breaking his wrist and Dennis Dixon likely having to start against the Ravens. Our local putz media weren’t even aware of these facts until a day and a half after he reported them.   So it does appear he has a mole within the team which would make his information somewhat reliable.

Some of it falls in the “Duh!” category.   Special Teams coach Bob Ligashesky will probably be fired?   REALLY?   What a scoop!   I never would’ve expected somebody who oversaw a unit which give up more kickoff return TDs than any team in history would get canned!   Astounding!

And of course the offensive coaches are in trouble.   Anybody with half a brain can see the offense has been our biggest liability this year.  I know, I know, our defense has let us down in key situations.  But, honestly, they’re fourth in overall defense, second in rushing defense, and third in sacks.   The defense is only allowing 18 points per game which is not atrocious considering they’re thirteenth against the pass and near the bottom in turnovers.  If anything, Dick LeBeau is making chicken salad out of chicken shit since he’s doing all this without two of his best defense players plus vastly inferior replacements for Bryant McFadden and Larry Foote. And let’s remember, all of our losses have been by seven points or less which can just as easily be blamed on a kick return TD or a Pick Six.

No, what’s happened this year is the defense went from all-time great to just good (except the last two weeks, where they’ve given up).   The offense has failed to pick up the slack.  We’re counting on the defense to stop the other team AND keep them from scoring AND get turnovers AND cover for any offensive mistakes.  It’s not fair to expect them to do everything.  The offense has to pull their own weight and we’ve seen time and time again that they can’t.

Those failures fall directly on the coaches.  The prime suspect is, of course, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The man has absolutely no clue on how to call a game.  Watch any decent team and you see they have a plan on offense.  Usually it’s to identify a weakness in their opponent and then exploit it.  Not Arians.  If it appears they can’t stop a run to the right, rest assured he’ll call three runs to the left.  If it appears they can’t stop a screen pass to the RB, rest assured he’ll dial up a 45 yard bomb down the sideline.   Nothing he does makes any sense.  And his obsession with turning Ben Roethlisberger into the second coming of Peyton Manning is absolutely ridiculous considering one is the greatest pocket passer of his generation and the other is a game manager.

What Pittsburgh native Mike Ditka says at the end of the clip hits the nail right on the head.  It’s all about identity.  You have to know what you are and embrace it.   When you try to be something else, it all falls apart.   For fourteen weeks, the Steelers offense has tried pretending they’re the Patriots or Colts and we see where that has gotten them.  Hopefully, the team will know enough to pack up the Flying Circus and bring back Stiller Football before another season is flushed down the drain.

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  • JLaw

    I caught Mike’s closing statement as well. You are correct nail on the head. Sadly I doubt the circus is packed away. The browns talk that they are a last resort to play or stay in the NFL. Seems like as many chances the Steelers give to coaches perhaps they should boast(or chuckle) about that.
    Dick L. is extraordinary with making the best outta what he has and he has proven that year after year. If someone holds out for money bye bye cause Dick will find/make our next stud. Think of some of the names they’ve let go. Most of which didn’t do much when they left. Sure they did their jobs but not at the caliber of play when they were here. I’m sure there is 100 excuses as to why but I believe it’s because Dick is like Bill. You put the best you got out there, help them to perform at their best, and hold them accountable. Too bad Dick don’t have a “chin” too cause man I miss those glares and stares.

  • http://NPC Wil Hrovat

    What about Zierlein? The o-line looks like the Keystone Cops out there. Totally clueless. This has to point to coaching. Zierkein needs to be the first to go.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com Bud

    I have been a steelers fan since the days of ROONEYS LOONIES,and I can honestly say this present bunch is starting to rival the teams of that era.It is evident that Mike Tomlin has lost control of this team.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    JLaw, the Steelers brand of loyalty can definitely be a blessing and a curse. It’s nice that they don’t push the panic button at the first sign of trouble but sometimes they do wait forever to change something that clearly isn’t working. In other words, I also think the Flying Circus is going to get another year.

    As for LeBeau, very well put. However, remember he’s limited by being just a coordinator. I’m sure they give him a lot of input but at the end of the day, the head coach says who is benched and who plays while the GM probably pressures him to play certain draft picks (like Timmons) even if we have a better player already (Foote).

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Will, I have heard Zierlein’s name mentioned a few times. I’m sure everybody on offense will be evaluated after this year. The sack totals haven’t been near as bad this year as in some previous ones but the run blocking is atrocious.

    The thing on Zierlein is we’ve been spoiled by Russ Grimm. Grimm is probably one of the best O-line coaches in the NFL. Not that I’m defending Zierlein. But I think we’re used to getting more from less.

  • http://[email protected] Sergio Valori

    I have followed the Steelers since 1941 and have been fanatically loyal. It really hurts to see the Steelers playing like a second class team. It’s clear there’s not enough team spirit or morale. They easily could have been 10-3. As for coaches, Tomlin has lost control. He still needs to prove himself. So far, he is failing the present test. Ariens definitely needs to go. Not enough diversity in the offense, no clear game plans, no fruitful adjustments to failing plays, not enough “big plays”. The Denver game was encouraging. It looked like they had found the formula for success. But since then, where are the runs around end? slants over the middle? screen plays? special designs for the red zone? Ike Taylor is not qualified to be a starter in the NFL.

  • BarFly

    Of course you can’t overlook the problems on offense, but the special teams have been atrocious as well. In fact, I would argue that special teams gaffes were the catalyst for this collapse. Ligashesky needs a boot in the ass, and the decision to cut Anthony Madison, arguably our best ST player from last season, was ill-advised.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Sergio, if shutting down Ochocinco, T.O., Derrick Mason, Randy Moss, and Brandon Marshall doesn’t qualify Ike Taylor to start in the NFL, I’d hate to hear what you think of William Gay. The rest of your points are very well stated, though.

    BarFly, cutting AMad was indeed a huge error. However, that one goes on Tomlin. He’s the one who made that decision. Granted, Ligashesky is probably going to take the fall for it but this is the yet another example of Tomlin and GM Colbert letting valuable special teams players go (Sean Morey anybody?)