Time to Gut the Steelers

Oct 27, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sideline against the Oakland Raiders during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 27, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sideline against the Oakland Raiders during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

follow me on twitter @scott8871

 

Topics: Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

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  • Nick Kartsomanis

    Sorry, have to disagree about D. Decastro. He is growing into a really good guard. He has had some great games this year, not sure what you’re watching?!

    • scott sinclair

      ‘Thus far’ was the key phrase. He has looked lost in the past but is getting better.

  • Vin

    AMEN and sayonara to them all, and LeVeon Bell too.

    • Nick Kartsomanis

      Are you kidding? LeVeon Bell is the best back the Steelers have had in YEARS!!! You try running behind this line (other than DD & Velasco)! Do you think AP would have much success running behind this line?! I guess you would want to get rid of him as well then right?

  • Vin

    Throw in all the coaches except Butler and Lake. your right Cower was allowed to stay to long also.

  • Reginald Sennie

    I notice Ben Rothelisberger is not on your list. How can you justify not getting rid of him when week after week he usually does something that(negatively) turns the tide of the game? Granted he doesn’t have the best offensive line, but neither does Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. I believe Aaron and Ben are the most sacked QB’s in the league. The difference is, Aaron knows when to throw the ball away to fight another down. He has lost game after game for us, but we’re so enamored with his late game heroics, that we don’t stop to realize some of decisions he makes early on the game are the reason he has to play that way. If he made better decisions, we might have won a few of these games. So I guess that’s where I agree with you on Tomlin. He doesn’t hold Ben accountable for week after week of poor decision making. Explain to me why he was over lobbying the refs for a horse collar penalty instead of getting the team lined up and ready to play? All it cost us was a timeout…

  • bk

    I agree, but, just watch today… trading deadline will come and go and the Steelers will sit tight.
    I would trade Woodley for a bag of RUFFLES at this point.. Sanders and Cotchery have some value to
    teams with WR injuries…I bet KC would love to get Heath Miller right about now.. Dallas.. if not so far over
    the salary cap, would probably be interested in IKE or Troy… but, nothing will happen, we will play out the season
    and get to listen to more inane Tomlin PC’s…

  • Thumper833

    Gut the team? Melodramatic much? You must not watch any other football, because if you did you would know that there are good teams out that would kill for Pittsburgh’s D. Sure it’s not perfect, but the D is not the issue. Ask Dallas. Ask Denver. Ask Detroit.
    Plain and simple when the o line plays well, the team wins. They need to continue to address the o line. Think about next year with Velasco at LG and Pouncy at Center?
    And, if they are not going to make the playoffs, why even bother with 7-9, or even 6-10? Wins are irrelevant. I mean, I would never root for the Steelers to lose, but pragmatically speaking wins are BAD when you’re in rebuilding mode. I agree years like this are not fun, but do you remember Cowher’s lean years? 6-10?, 7-9, 6-10, 8-8? it happens to everyone eventually. There’s still some good fairly young talent here, decent rookies, and some good draft picks coming up…

    • emf

      Granted the D is not the main issue, but Oakland ran pretty well on them, Pryor’s historic run aside.But it’s very simplistic to say when the OL plays well they win. They have no consistent running back, one week Bell runs well the next week he doesn’t and Antonio Brown has had some gaffes and quite honestly shouldn’t be returning punts since all he does is fair catch.It took how many games to get their first turnover?? I agree that Lebeau should see the writing on the wall and retire and if he doesn’t, what’s wrong with letting him go?
      As for Denver D, they looked pretty good against RG III on Sunday. Not sure many teams would “kill” for Pittsburgh’s D, so don’t be melodramatic yourself there.
      And what good draft picks are coming up and should we be confident Colbert will draft them?

      • Thumper833

        EDIT: Melodrama = Emotional overreactionEDIT: Kill= Happy to have.
        EDIT: Good=High.
        Denver’s D did look good Sunday. For the first time all season. I am still not sure if it was awesome D or the worst O line I have ever seen.
        I think we will see Williams, Jones, Bell, and Thomas for some time to come. Much better draft this year. No guarantees of course but we can do a lot worse than Colbert picking in the top 10.

        I could go either way on Tomlin, but I used to feel the exact same way about Cowher. He worked through it with some good drafts. Won a Superbowl, and then Tomlin won again with basically the same players. All is not lost. If we repeat this crap again next year, yeah I’ll chime right in with he sky is falling group

        • scott sinclair

          Love Vince Williams, I felt he was the steal of their draft. I really hope to see more of Thomas now. They just benched Jarvis Jones.

          I accept your edits by the way.
          Maybe with Von Miller back the Denver D will be decent again.

    • scott sinclair

      not thrilled about being labeled melodramatic, would prefer to be called “concerned about what I see”. Yes, I do watch quite a bit of football (ask the wife) so I do know from where I speak. Don’t know if teams would kill for the Steelers D. Teams like the Panthers, Chiefs and Cardinals can play some D as well. Would Dallas or Detroit kill to get them?

  • Dom DiTolla

    While I agree changes need to be made, one has to consider the following before taking any drastic measures:

    You do realize that the front office can simply let the contracts of Clark, Worilds, and Hood expire at the end of the season, right? Cutting them now would make zero sense when they could wash their hands of them next spring.

    As much as I have crowed about how overrated Woodley is, the cap hit they will sustain will be entirely too big to shoulder if they cut him now. Polamalu will stay as well because he’s still an effective player and they are in no position to hold the dead money as well.

    Not sure what game you’ve been watching either, but DeCastro has probably performed the best out of the offensive linemen all season. Future is bright for him. Also, they’ll have to keep either Gilbert or Adams as insurance at one of the tackle spots because Kelvin Beachum is too small, Guy Whimper is not a long-term option, and Joe Long is a practice squadder/backup at best.

    • scott sinclair

      The drop I would make now is Adams. Let the rest go after the season, that’s fine. Woodley can be cut on June 1st if they decide to go that route.
      As for DeCastro, I watched the OL a lot at the Jets game. He was being pushed around by Richardson and Wilkerson and was out of position a couple of times. And his bonehead block on nobody in game one cost them Pouncey. Again, I said up until this point he has been underwhelming, keeping in mind he missed most of his rookie season. I’d love to see an interior three of Pouncey, Velasco and DeCastro next year.
      As for the tackles, the Steelers are in a position to take one of the top three tackles in the draft next year. Beachum is a swing player, Whimper was a waste. Who knows what they’ll do with Levi Brown as well.

      • emf

        I too would love to see an interior of Pouncey, Velasco and DeCastro but we all know it won’t happen due to salary cap issues. I don’t think Levi will be around and I really agree Adams can’t play and should be jetisoned NOW. Glad nobody has suggested bringing back Starks, his time here is done.
        I was at the Oakland game and aside from fearing for my life, the OL was outplayed pure and simple. Yes, even our DeCastro was getting pushed back and missed some assignments, but right now he and Velasco are the only two worth keeping of those starting right now.

      • Dom DiTolla

        They might be in position to take one of the top three tackles, but they have plenty of holes elsewhere. Plus I wouldn’t put it past this team to douche things up, get hot towards the end of the season, finish 7-9, play well enough to secure everybody’s job for another year, and keep the status quo in place.

        Richardson and Wilkerson are two of the best interior defensive linemen in the league, DeCastro was an animal against Ngata, Jones, and Spears the following week.

        Woodley might be a June 1st cut, but it will still hurt them in 2015 from a cap perspective. If they do nothing this offseason though, he is set to earn $8 mil next fall, 8.5 in 2015, and $9 mil in base salary alone in 2016.

  • emf

    Agree on most, but not all points. I don’t see guys like Troy and Ben throwing in the towel yet, too much pride there.

    That being said, I keep seeing all this stuff about letting Tomlin stay and how Cowher had bad years and they let him stay and right things and such. But truthfully, Tomlin just doesn’t have it. No fire, no sense that he can motivate these guys. No, I nor none of us are in the locker room daily or privy to his team talks, but nothing I hear this guy say in any of his press conferences or to the media has me hopeful that he can right the ship. I think the front office quite truthfully whiffed on this one.

    I saw on the NPC facebook page some idiot mock the writers here. First, he came off as the jerk, second, yes this is Tomlin’s first real losing season but it follows an 8-8 season and a season in which they got burned in a first round playoff game. If I am correct this will be the fourth time (??) or maybe third they will miss the playoffs under his leadership. While some teams haven’t made the playoffs at all n that stretch are we fine with accepting a coach with a 50% success rate of getting into the playoffs? The talent is slipping, the coaching is less than inspiring, I ask when is the right time to make moves to jolt a franchise back into life?

  • DefSoulMode

    I too feel this team should be gutted and rebuilt from the GM down. I would not get rid of Ben because he is a franchise QB with 4-5 solid seasons left. Trade or release aging veterans and build the team back up. Get a coaching staff that gives this team and edge to them. This can be done fairly quickly with the right front office pulling the strings. Look at Seattle, SF, and Kansas City. Tired of seeing 4th and 1,2 or 3 yds and settling for a FG when this team has nothing to lose and everything to gain from a W. Time for a new regime in Pittsburgh.