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fordfixer
10-03-2009, 11:14 PM
Steelers' inconsistency on offense an issue

Posted Oct. 02, 2009 @ 9:29 a.m.
By Mike Wilkening
http://www.profootballweekly.com/2009/1 ... e-an-issue (http://www.profootballweekly.com/2009/10/02/steelers-inconsistency-on-offense-an-issue)

Through three games, Steelers WR Santonio Holmes was on pace to catch 80 passes, and he has become one of NFL’s top field-stretching threats. But his fourth season hasn’t been without its share of miscues early on, and his growing pains come as the Pittsburgh offense as a whole strives for more consistency.

Holmes dropped three passes in the Week Two loss at Chicago, including a touchdown. QB Ben Roethlisberger targeted him 14 times, but Holmes hauled in just five passes for 83 yards. The following week at Cincinnati, Holmes was targeted five times but caught a mere one pass for 18 yards, and he came under scrutiny when he didn’t adjust his route to compensate for a Bengals’ blitz early in the third quarter. Roethlisberger, anticipating Holmes would cut his route short, threw to where he thought the receiver would be only to have Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph, not Holmes, awaiting the ball. The play resulted in a Bengals’ touchdown.

That said, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin praised Holmes for his physicality during the Bengals’ game, and the reigning Super Bowl MVP will continue to be a key part of the offense going forward. The same can’t safely be said for second-year WR Limas Sweed, who dropped a TD pass at Cincinnati.

“If and when he is given the next opportunity to make a similar play, he better make it,” Tomlin said.

The way we hear it, the Steelers are likely to give Sweed, a member of the team’s much-maligned 2008 draft class, every chance to succeed, considering that catching the ball, not getting open, has been his problem. He’s likely to still receive playing time, though perhaps not much, as a vertical threat.

RB Rashard Mendenhall, the Steelers’ first-round pick in ‘08, also has found the transition to the NFL difficult. Widely expected to eventually cut into Willie Parker's workload, Mendenhall was inactive for Week Three because Tomlin did not like his attention to detail, but the head coach dismissed the notion that Mendenhall was in the “doghouse.”

“A doghouse is something you have when you let things stew and you do not take action,” Tomlin said. “I tend to (take) action and I am done with it.”

And in Pittsburgh, the hope is the youthful errors on offense are done for, and soon.