Mike Tomlin gone. Kevin Colbert gone. Dick LeBeau gone. Todd Haley gone. Ryan Clark gone. Ziggy Hood gone. Mike Adams gone. Jason Worilds gone. Marcus Gilbert gone. Lamar Woodley game. Unless he takes a major pay cut, Troy Polamalu gone.
That’s what the Steelers need to do. Start now, finish after the season is over.
I’m dead serious here.
While I was encouraged by the victories over the Jets and Ravens, I was concerned that the Steelers would, as they so often have done under Mike Tomlin, fall into a trap game. That was exactly the case this past Sunday as the Steelers lost to the Oakland Raiders for the third straight time. At 2-5 they are done, especially with games against New England, Green Bay and Cincinnati still to come. I’m hoping for a 7-9 season at best, but 6-10 isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Now to be fair, the Steelers defense did clamp down on the Oakland offense in the second half, but by then most of the damage was done. Yes, 93 of Terrelle Pryor’s 109 rushing yards came on one play and they held him to an anemic 88 yards passing, while nabbing two INTs. However, the defense seemed so out of position so often (especially OLB Lamar Woodley), it was as if they hadn’t watched any film of the Oakland offense or done any prep work whatsoever until after the game had started.The Steelers offense was truly offensive, doing their usual routine this season of falling behind and spending the rest of the game playing catch-up. While some are blaming Shaun Suisam’s miscues , I blame the whole team from top to bottom.
It’s pretty fair to say this season has been a sickening display of football by the black and gold. Tomlin has no control over this team, has no motivational skills at all and quite honestly should be fired at season’s end. Of course that’s wishful thinking, given the team’s history of sticking with their head coaches through thick and thin. To be blunt, Tomlin is garbage. That may be strong words for some and you may judge me as being too harsh or overly critical or too much of a Cowher fan. While I am a Cowher fan, I too would have pulled the plug on him during his lean years. The difference between that and now is how undisciplined the team is and how ill prepared they seem week to week.I don’t really care if I never hear another Mike Tomlin post game press conference ever again, they’re head-scratching and mind numbing. The guy is so far in over his head , and I firmly stand on my notion that the only reason for his early success was he was winning with another coaches’ players. I know Tomlin has his supporters and I expect to hear from you, but honestly ask yourselves if he’s the right man for the job. Yes, I have ideas about who might make a good replacement (Jon Gruden, Brian Billick and a couple of college guys: Charlie Strong? Bill O’Brien?), but we all know the ever steady, ever patient Steelers will bring idiot Mike back next year and give him every opportunity to sink this proud franchise further into the ground.
As for Dick LeBeau, his defenses have had their moments this year, but it’s becoming increasingly clear they are lagging behind some of the 21st century defenses being run on other teams. I think Lebeau is smart enough and classy enough to see the writing on the wall and I believe he will step down after this season, as a Hall of Famer and an innovator he has nothing left to prove. I would be intrigued to see whom the team picks to replace him, is it someone from within ? (Keith Butler or Carnell Lake?) or someone from outside the Steeler family, which truthfully is how I would go.
In regards to Todd Haley, the minute the 2013 season ends, he should be sent packing. This offense has regressed ever since he took over, and Haley’s schemes have not kept Ben Roethlisberger from getting beaten up every week. Watching the offensive line trying to pass protect is akin to watching someone trying to bail out the ocean with a spaghetti strainer. Whomever the head coach is next year (Tomlin, let’s get honest) as well as the top brass need to figure out what type of identity they want on offense and find someone who can implement it. Haley’s short passing offense did not match what the Steelers had personnel wise and honestly still doesn’t. Between Roethlisberger and his receivers, this offense was built to be a deep, vertical attack and it’s been painful watching Haley trying to put these square pegs into a round hole. Yes, I did comment last week how it was nice to see some imagination suddenly popping up, but that dried up against the Raiders. Haley needs to go, and I wouldn’t be stunned to see him out before the season ends.
Now to the main culprit in this debacle, Kevin Colbert. His time as GM is done. Yes, I liked and still like this year’s draft, but he has whiffed on way too many picks and he has set this team back at least two years, if not three with his bad drafts and poor free agent re- signings. He has chained the team to some hefty salaries (Ike Taylor, Lamar Woodley, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark to name a few) that have severely hindered this team from making any type of significant moves in free agency….oh, wait the Steelers don’t take part in free agency, that’s right. Watching the Green Bay- Minnesota game last night, Al Michaels revealed an intersting stat last night. Of the 53 men on the Packers roster, only 3 came from other teams, the rest were either drafted or were rookie free agents. No other team in the NFL can boast anything near that stat. In fact, the Packers offensive line last night started 3 4th round picks and 2 rookie free agents and were solid in both pass and run protection. Now think about the Steelers O-line and how many high picks have been wasted on downright horrible players (Adams, Gilbert) or underwhelming ones thus far (David DeCastro). The Packers just keep finding guys to fill in for injured starters and keep humming right along, the proverbial “next man up” theory. Colbert has not provided the Steelers with anything close to a “next man up” type of team, nor has Tomlin and his staff developed their players in that mold. The first step to any type of change needs to start with Colbert. A new GM would hopefully lead to a new head coach and so on.
Like so many of you, I bleed black and gold. I love this team will all my heart and soul. I can never see myself rooting or loving another football team the way I do the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’ve cheered for them since I was four years old and still do thirty-eight years later. I stuck with them through Mark Malone, Bubby Brister, David Woodley and Todd Balckledge. I cried when Franco got cut and count meeting and shaking hands with Bettis, Bleier, Swann, Lambert, Ham, Russell, Greene, Greenwood and Harris as some of the best moments of my life. And this is why it pains me to write what I have above. This is a badly put together, poorly coached, undisciplined team, with an ownership group that is too stuck in their ways to find a fresh route out of it. Bad times loom ahead my friends and fellow fans. This is going to be sad to watch.
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