The Steelers are now officially on their CBA-mandated four days off for the bye week and Steeler Nation is left wondering where we go from here. In our hearts we feel that it can’t get much worse but in our heads we know that it really can. At this point the question really isn’t how much can they improve but rather how much worse can it get? I’m not saying all hope is lost and the season is basically over; I’ll never say that. I’m a homer through and through, doesn’t mean I’m not realistic but I’ll always be the one saying, “So you’re saying there’s a chance?” Meanwhile, here’s what’s being said about your Pittsburgh Steelers around the block.
Steelers self-evaluate during bye
Teresa Varley of the Steelers website caught up with some of the Steelers players staying in town over the break to see what their plans were for the time off. Offensive lineman jack-of-all-trades Kelvin Beachum is staying in Pittsburgh to keep working.
“I am staying here. I don’t feel like I deserve to go home. I am going to stay here and work out and think about what is going on. It’s the season and I am all in for every phase.” – Kelvin Beachum
I’m glad he said that because he’s going to be in for every phase. Every phase of the offensive line because he’ll be needed to fill in wherever until the line gets figured out. May not even be figured out completely this season but this line has got to do something to improve the protection on the run and protection for Ben or he’s going to get killed out there.
Steelers defense may just be old and slow after all
We all scoffed at Warren Sapp when he made the declaration that the Steelers defense was “old, slow, and done.” Now, sitting at 0-4, it’s looking more accurate and even former Steelers player and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy agrees. As Alan Robinson of the Trib reports, Dungy commented on the Steelers woes during the NBC Sunday Night Football in America broadcast and didn’t have many positives to say.
“I’m not sure they can fix this. I don’t know that they have the talent. I think they just have an old defense that does not have any playmakers.” – Tony Dungy
Ouch. It’s hard to imagine that a defense that still has Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, LaMarr Woodley, and Brett Keisel can’t make the big plays anymore. I think we’ve heard enough about the limiting rookies’ activities in the locker room like Ping-Pong and shuffleboard and not enough accountability from the veterans who aren’t getting the job done. After the first quarter of the season the Steelers are the only team who haven’t caused a turnover and they have the fewest sacks of any team. Those statements are so uncharacteristic of Steelers football it isn’t’ even funny. So maybe the veterans need to limit their Ping-Pong time a big too?
Tomlin backs up his threat to change lineup
As Ed Bouchette of the PPG reports, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn’t waste any time backing up his threat of benching guys following the Steelers fourth consecutive loss last Sunday. The team traded for offensive tackle Levi Brown on Wednesday and by all accounts, Mike Adams appears to be benched at the moment. Ed reminds us how in 2009 Tomlin promised to “unleash hell in December” but made very little changes to the lineup and then the Steelers lost to the Raiders and Browns. When Ed takes a look at the team, however, Tomlin is pretty limited on what other changes can be made to elicit some fire from the team. Bouchette reminds us how in 2006 during the Steelers disappointing season following their Super Bowl win Bill Cowher benched CB Ike Taylor after the team got off to a 2-6 start. Bouchette suggests some other possible moves Tomlin could make, although he does admit that realistically, the team is limited on what it can do. The possible changes Bouchette suggests include using LB Jarvis Jones more, although for the Vikings game Worilds had a statistically better outing than Jones but neither had a sack and Jones failed to recover a fumble that Woodley forced. Bouchette also suggest starting someone other than Felix Jones to return kickoffs and rotating Cortez Allen with William Gay at the left cornerback spot. A bold move that Bouchette suggests would be to start rookie safety Shamarko Thomas ahead of either Troy Polamalu or Ryan Clark. Again, not a whole lot of choices are there for changes so it will have to come down to the players on the field making the change to improve themselves and play up to their potential.