Yes, I said it. It’s time to stop pulling punches and making a litany of excuses and just tell it like it is :the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers are a disgrace. After yielding a record 55 points against New England and giving another lifeless effort, there is nothing left to say but this is a garbage team right now.
If you’re going to give me the usual laundry list of excuses (which always seems to involve the OL), then save it. If you’re going to say the Steelers were in this game, but the OL couldn’t protect Ben, don’t. You can’t blame the OL for the horrid defense, the blown coverages, the poor tackling, the uninspiring play calling, and a coach who has taken this team and rode it squarely into the ground. Last week, a reader called me a comedian for suggesting the team should look to make a change from Mike Tomlin, citing this is his first losing season. True my friend, but they have not been this bad since the 1-14 1969 season, Chuck Noll’s first.
Personally, I’m fed up with what has passed for Steeler football this season. Since losing to Denver in the playoffs in 2011, they are 10-14, 10-18 of you want to include the pre season. To highlight how bad the 2013 Steelers are, consider this: the 1-8 Vikings only win came against the Steelers. The Oakland Raiders, who gave up seven touchdown passes on Sunday also can count the Steelers amongst the teams they beat. That’s how bad this team is. It wouldn’t shock me to see this group go 4-12 or 3-13. Seriously, this is not being melodramatic (another label heaped on me last week), this is being honest. Truthfully, what on earth is there to hang our hats on? There is no run game, the OL is a disaster, the defense was atrocious (it’s time to stop defending them fans, they are part of the problem), and we have a head coach who looks like a deer caught in headlights. This is the most ill-prepared, un-disciplined Steeler team I have ever seen, and I’ve been watching Steeler football since 1975.
I was watching ESPN’s Sunday Kickoff show and they talked about the state of the Steelers. Each of the hosts remarked how there was a lack of talent on the team, Keyshawn Johnson talked about the hefty contracts given to select players and how that hampers the rest of the team, Tom Jackson remarked how the Steeler defense no longer puts fear into an offense, and the always literate Ray Lewis (insert sarcasm) talked about the sad decline he’s seen on the Steelers. Cris Carter said the lack of talent and depth is really hurting them, how there is no “next man up” like in years past. He talked about the poor drafting and that there s no identity now, which Jackson agreed with, saying the two staples of Steeler football : running and defense weren’t there. Johnson said they need to clean “serious” house, starting with the veteran players and he’s right. Ryan Clark has become an absolute liability in coverage, TE Rob Gronkowski owned Clark all night. Clark missed a number of tackles as well and I have no clue why he should ever be allowed to take the field again. No, rookie Shamarko Thomas probably isn’t ready to take over fully, but at 2-6, why not put him in and give him his trial by fire. William Gay also proved to be ineffective in coverage, also struggling with covering Gronk as well as the no-names in the Pats’ receiving corps. Cortez Allen’s size would have made him a much more natural choice to try and cover Gronk, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Continuing with the defense, Jason Worilds was no improvement over Jarvis Jones, Steve McClendon was easily handled by the Pats OL, and even Troy Polamalu played like garbage. Defend him all you want, and I’m a huge Troy fan, I think his time in Steeltown is done. Along with Clark, Gay, and Hood (and Woodley??), Troy is probably on the train out of Pittsburgh at seasons end. Yes, I know the cap hit releasing him creates, but the housecleaning must start sooner than later. Dick LeBeau’s defense no longer strikes fear into anyone, opposing teams have caught up to him, and seeing the Pats receivers running free and open left me feeling sick to my stomach.
Offensively, Jerricho Cotchery is proving his worth, catching three TDs from Ben and I say let Sanders walk and keep Cotch in the offseason. With Markus Wheaton still out, I think it’s time to activate Justin Brown from the practice squad and see what he can do. At this point there is really not much else personnel wise the Steelers can do on offense, Le’veon Bell and Felix Jones are all that’s there in the backfield and the depth behind TE Heath Miller doesn’t exist. They haven’t found a replacement for Mike Wallace yet (maybe Wheaton if he can ever get on the field) and finding a punt returner other than Captain Fair Catch, aka Antonio Brown is a must.
Finally, what else if there to say about Mike Tomlin that I already haven’t? I don’t care to hear about this being his first losing season and stop pointing out the times he’s made the playoffs. He is the man most responsible for the talent on the field and the decisions being made. I asked myself why on earth was Ben still out there when the game was 55-31 with little time left on the field. Well, here is Iron Mike’s explanation:
“Because we have to get better and those are snap opportunities to get better. We aren’t turning it down. We aren’t running away from anything. We had the opportunity to work and get better so we did that. The guys that were healthy were going to stay on the grass and finish the game.”
What? Snap opportunities to get better? What the hell does that even mean?? Check out this further assessment of his team:
“Not good enough. Not good enough. It just wasn’t. We are going to comb through this with a fine tooth comb, as we should. Those people that were lacking effort won’t be playing. It’s just that simple.”
Comb thought his with a fine tooth comb? Here are more snippets of Tomlin’s post game remarks courtesy of Steelers.com:
That was the most points the Steelers ever gave up. Do you chalk that up as a bad loss or does that mean something in the locker room?
It was a 55-point game. I don’t care whether it was the most points we gave up or not, it isn’t any more sickening or less sickening based on those results.
Are you perplexed at all that this is happening or more disappointed?
I am angry. I’m disappointed. We don’t have time for perplexed. We are capable of better than that. We’ve got to be better than that, we weren’t. So we’re going to fix it.
Is that anger reflected in the team?
I am not going to speak for them. I will let those guys speak for themselves.
At 24-24 what was your feeling. Did you feel like you could win at that point?
Absolutely I did. The big punt return was a significant play, but we had overcome some significant plays to that point in the game, but we didn’t.
How does Rob Gronkowski’s play change the Patriots and what happened tonight?
I am not going to speak for those guys. They are capable of speaking for themselves. Their performance tonight speaks for itself.
You had two pass interference penalties on one drive without having many all season. Is that the kind of thing you look at and so those kind of things can’t happen?
It is just indicative of how we performed tonight.
The number of big plays all year is something that you don’t typically do. What is happening there?
I am not ready to characterize the season, but tonight we were out of place. They executed well. That combination was lethal.
Yes, Steeler fans, that’s the man entrusted with righting this ship, the very ship he has run into the ground.
Call me a comedian, call me melodramatic, scoff at what I’ve written all you want. This could go down as one of the worst Steeler teams we have ever seen. I hope not, but I see no reason to think otherwise at this point.
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