Cheers to the freakin weekend, Steeler Nation! Weekends are always better when there is football involved. This weekend Steeler fans will get to sit back and enjoy the slate of games while waiting for the Monday night matchup in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, here’s what’s being said about your Pittsburgh Steelers around the block.
Personnel Problems in Pittsburgh
Everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ron Cook of the PPG, put his two cents in on the Steelers offensive woes so far from the first game. While some said that Todd Haley was to blame for the Steelers poor offensive performance (true that losing Maurkice Pouncey and LaRod Stephens-Howling didn’t exactly help), Cook says that the problem is with the personnel and not the play-caller. According to Cook, the Steelers are more or less screwed because of the loss of the starters to injury and because of the fact that the return of Heath Miller and the debut of Le’Veon Bell are still a few games away at least. After Pouncey was lost within the first four minutes of the game, the plan that had Kelvin Beachum playing the blocking tight end the Steelers so desperately need in Miller’s absence had to be abandoned so that Beachum to fill in at center. On top of that DeCastro was obviously affected for being responsible for Pouncey’s injury for the remainder of the game. As a result, the Steelers couldn’t run the ball to save their lives and Ben was sacked five times. So apparently, according to Cook, it’s the personnel who need to improve for Monday night and not Haley. How about both? I say both. Wouldn’t you agree?
Polamalu familiar with Bengals
Speaking of personnel, the Steelers have one player who is so comfortable playing against Cincinnati he’s had some of his greatest games of his career against the Bungles. Troy Polamalu has had two regular season interception pick 6’s in his career. Both have come from Cincinnati. You could attribute those to the fact that former Bungles QB Carson Palmer seemed almost determined to throw the ball to Polamalu at least once in their two meetings a year while he was with the team. Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk spoke to Bungles head coach Marvin Lewis about preparing to face a healthy Polamalu on Monday night.
“He does a great job of studying the opponent. He knows your formation tendencies and personnel tendencies. He does a great job of getting himself in position to make plays. You have to account for him, and you have to understand that if this is something unfolding the way you ran it the last couple of weeks, he’s probably going to beat you to that spot if you don’t get there in a hurry.”
Aside from the perfectly-timed tackle or sack, Polamalu is now known for a good video bomb as you can see here from the Steelers website.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 13, 2013
James Harrison: No big deal to pay against Steelers
While I never in a million years would have believed that James Harrison would be willingly walking around in Cincinnati Bengals garb, I certainly understand the move he had to make when he and the Steelers couldn’t agree to contract terms this past spring. I wish some other team had picked him up. Some other team not in Ohio. According to Coley Harvey of ESPN, Harrison is in tip-top shape this season in spite of being labeled an aging player who has had his best seasons behind him. One thing that is clear about James and can be respected by all of Steeler Nation is that in spite of the countless leading questions and poking and prodding of him trying to coax a negative comment about the Steelers or a “I’m gonna go after them” –type sound bite, James has been consistent with his respect of the Steelers organization and his assertion that this game is not a big deal to him.
“I don’t pay attention to it. I’m answering questions about this game because it’s this week’s game. Last week, I was answering questions about Chicago because that was that week’s game. Whoever we play next week, I’ll answer questions about them.” – James Harrison
Naturally, no matter how many times James can repeat that sentiment he’ll continue to be questioned about it up until kick off on Monday night, you can bet on that.