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Steel Life
12-13-2009, 11:00 PM
Everyone’s wondering how a team that recently won 2 Super Bowls can fall apart so quickly. The truth is that the Steelers are really a team that has over-achieved, covering their holes with inspired QB play, tenacious defense & a little luck. And what I’ve come to realize is that the problem this year – aside from key injuries & bad breaks – is that those fundamental flaws have not been fixed because of the successes & this year been exposed by injury, familiarity & flawed team philosophy. Like special teams, for some reason it always seems like we struggle, we have kickers who can’t put the KO in the EZ, can’t handle the premier returners, etc. This isn’t to put the blame solely on the coaches, in fact I believe that the players are mostly to blame for the indifferent result we’ve seen this season. But when you couple these flaws with breakdowns in personnel or injury, the result is what we’ve seen so far this year. It goes without saying that when you lose your best player, the team is going to suffer. But to lose two of your best players is a blow I challenge any team to recover from. All that said, I do believe that we’ve been a bit unlucky with the bounces this year & with a few those breaks going our way, we’re looking at different results. But we expect better & how have we gotten to where we are?...

PROBLEMS: OFFENSE (ARIANS)
Congrats Bruce, you’ve turned the Steelers into the Martz Rams or the Holmgren Seahawks (the fast-food offenses of the NFL)…lots of numbers, but no power when needed. I know some will look at the numbers & say that offense is putting up some of the best stat we’ve seen in years, but we can all see that something’s wrong (like when Cowher & the Tommy-Gun offense) & we’ve lost the ability to dominate or close out games on the offensive side of the ball. Now I’m not regretting the development of a more dynamic offense or Ben’s development, but when thinking of Bruce, always remember the Browns…of how they beat the 2002 AFCC (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recapPlay ... =230105023 (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recapPlayoff2002?gameId=230105023)) & how they lost to the ’09 version. The interesting thing is that when you look closer, the three biggest issues are all related…

a) RUN GAME - It appears that we have a stud RB in Mendenhall, we just need to feed him the ball 20 to 30 times a game if that’s what’s needed. How many times have we seen games this year where the team faces one of the worst run defenses only to see a complete lack of commitment? But like the Martz/Holmgren offenses, the running game is an afterthought & because the lack of commitment, the line cannot generate any push or consistency. The running plays called lack both frequency & execution as we simply don’t run enough to get into a rhythm & as a result lack the ability to sustain drives or kill the clock. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that Heath is more involved & that our WRs are more of a threat, but it could be argued that your offense hurts our defense because of its quick-strike capability & the lack of clock-draining drives. Teams like the Jags & Titans turned their seasons around with renewed commitment to the run, it could be argued that some of these losses could’ve been avoided if Bruce had done the same. As for where Parker & Moore fit into the equation…well, it’s probably a foregone conclusion that Parker is gone & try to latch on as a starter somewhere else. And it’s a good thing too as now everything he’s adds to the offense, takes away from it as well. And Moore…well as impressed as I was last year, I’m equally unimpressed this one. For a guy with the “chain-mover” nickname, he has been stonewalled all too often & is clearly the slowest of the backs, though he isn’t used as much in the passing game as last year (again this could be a result of Ben/Bruce focusing downfield more). We’ll give the rest of the backs a pass as none of us really know what they have…though it wouldn’t surprise me to see a pick used to bring in a better talent (Toby Gerhart anyone?).
b) SACKS - The other critical issue is Ben’s sacks, whether he takes them for holding the ball too long or the line simply folds. Again the blame falls on the offensive philosophy as the WR routes are either to complex or take too long to develop & as a result Ben either has nowhere to go with it or the protection eventually breaks down. Unlike the Pats, we don’t seem to have the quick open play underneath & Ben doesn’t seem to check down to the RB much. Perhaps that’s been a result of his playing with Parker, but Mendenhall has good hands & seems to be an excellent blocker (time for him to be a 3-down back). Add in the sporadic running attack & constant used “Empty Backfield” formation & it is a recipe for getting your QB killed (as per Martz/Holmgren offenses). I know Bruce is trying to fashion an offense more like the Pats, but the difference between Ben & Brady may be that Brady is more willing to throw it away, but there’s a schematic issue that works to Ben’s disfavor & though he thinks Bruce is his guy, it’s his guy that’s getting him killed.
c) OFF. LINE: If the reason Bruce runs the offense like he does is because he’s trying to cover for his line then I understand, but then that means we either have a lack of talent or a poor scheme. Now I’m not a guy who believes that every lineman needs to be a high draft pick, but it’s clear that something is needed as they seem to either be unable to generate any consistent push or deal with blitzes all that well. If it’s the scheme, then sack (pun intended) Zeirline & if it’s talent then find better scouts or open the purse strings, because at this rate Mendenhall will go to waste, Ben is going to get killed & the window of opportunity will close. Max seems fine & Kemo should continue to improve, but the RG remains a position of concern & Hartwig can be seen for what he is – a stopgap at center. It will be interesting to see what the team does with Colon & whether they let the market determine his worth or they jump the gun (which he can show them how to do) & sign him, hoping he improves. Either way, the development of Urbik & Hills will be critical to this unit’s success as it’s hard to see the inclusion of Foster as an endorsement or indictment of the scouting department. Either way, as always, a stud center will need to be found for this line to be considered elite again.

PROBLEMS: DEFENSE (LeBEAU)
LeBeau’s defenses are built on creating, turnovers, scoring opportunities & favorable field position…so far this season they really haven’t done that. The question that everyone is asking is – how has our defense gone from dominant to doormats in the span of less than a year? And actually there’s a second question as a result – has LeBeau lost it? While premature, it’s a question that needs to be asked eventually & is who will be LeBeau’s successor & when will that take place? In the meantime we have to take an honest look at what we have - the scheme is solid, produces enviable stats & helped deliver 2 SB’s, but it has also been a source for frustration as it has at times disappeared against playoff contenders. The reality is that the LeBeau’s defense (& Capers before him) has always been prone to giving up big plays & displayed an inability to get off the field on 3rd down. So what was the difference this year?...or last year for that matter? Last year everything came together - run defense, pass defense, sacks, turnovers…even the special teams contributed by limiting field position. But even considering all that, we still put up a stinker of a game in the SB that was glossed over by the most amazing defensive play in SB history, a huge sack/fumble to win the game. In the previous SB, the Seahawks drove the field with regularity but wasted many scoring chances – again, a few highlight plays & the win made everyone forget the troubles. Now I’m not putting LeBeau in the same category as Arians – all numbers, no results – but it’s closer than any of us would like to admit & not the fault of Tomlin’s influence as the defense has had these same problems for quite a while. So what is it?

a) INJURIES –Troy’s absence goes without saying & proves how much he makes this defense go, but Aaron’s injury again shows how valuable he is as well - Aaron sets the line so that the LBs & Troy can attack. We’ve seen this before when we didn’t have him the playoffs against the Jags & the entire defense suffered. But to take it a step further, we have had to start our 3rd & 4th string DEs during this streak because our 2nd DE has been out too…who knew Kirschke was so important? Troy gets all the attention & erases a lot of mistakes, but as we’ve seen before, Aaron is the glue up front & we’re just not the same without him.
a) DB’s – Zero interceptions, missed tackles, poor coverage & blown assignments have become so common that no one is surprised anymore. Someone produced stats showing that Ike is the most targeted DB in the league, which isn’t out of the ordinary since he usually takes on the opposition’s best WR. But perhaps it’s also because the league knows he has hands of stone & that removes some of the fear one would have throwing his way. On the other side, William Gay was a standout nickelback who has struggled becoming the starter to the point where it is head being called for instead of Ike’s, despite Ike being beaten repeatedly by the lesser WRs. I still think that Gay can be salvaged, but Ike is at a point of his career where his habits are set in stone & clearly needs a safety of Troy’s caliber to let him play his best, with time, talent & salary cap working against him. Obviously the staff & front office feel the same as they’ve drafted 3 DBs since Tomlin took over. Regarding the safeties…Troy needs no breakdown, but it has been a bad year for his running mate – Ryan Clark – without him. I believe that Clark is a great compliment to Troy & is one of the hardest hitters we’ve seen, but without Troy his responsibilities are different & have only exposed his weaknesses as he less a true center-fielding FS & more of Troy-lite . Bad time for him to be a free agent, but I believe he’s found a home here & will sign a reasonable contract. As for Tyrone Carter, I’m still mystified why he’s on the team. I know he’s an aggressive solid tackler, but he’s slow, constantly out of position, takes bad angles & is a liability in coverage. They’ve tried to replace him but his knowledge of the scheme has kept them at bay for now…though I think they’ve got Mundy finally about ready. One last note about Deshea, we all like him, but it’s clear he’s done as he simply does not have the ability to close anymore, I think it’s time for him to hang’em up.
b) D-LINE – For all those convinced Farrior's best days are behind him & Timmons isn’t the answer, I would ask what they think those two would be like with Haloti Ngata occupying space in front of them? A great defense is built from the front, creating pressure to limit coverage time, but this detioration of the defense is directly linked to the defensive line which has gotten old & we’re seeing the OLBs double-teamed & the secondary exposed because the defensive line isn’t a force. We’ve already discussed Aaron, but he is on the downside of his career age-wise. But it’s Hampton – with his poor conditioning & mounting injuries – who’s a shadow of his former self & might get a contract offer from the team only because there isn’t anyone else to turn to, especially since his backup is older than he is. Keisel has given it all he’s got, but with a depleted defensive line, he’s man under siege – not to mention he’s on the wrong side of 30 as well. But with the collective ages of the starters on the line, this is why Tomlin brought Hood in & why more attention should’ve been paid before. And when you consider that both of the primary backups (Hoke & Kirschke) are over 30, it’s easy to see that the situation has become critical & that our first wave of defense is fighting the opposition as well as time.

I know others will point out other issues, other players to blame…including or excluding Ben, Tomlin, Hines or others - for now this is how I see this season breaking down. Just so you know, I hold others at fault too, but I’ll save the ranting & raving of Colbert, his drafts & signings for another day. I look forward to the discussion…

RuthlessBurgher
12-14-2009, 01:53 PM
I disagree with your statement that LeBeau’s defenses is built on creating turnovers and has always been prone to giving up big plays. I actually think that it is quite the opposite. His corners play off their man consistently in a effort to keep the play in front of them to prevent a big play, and will rarely if ever jump a route to make an interception (we haven't seen it at all this year). The big plays happen when guys try to do too much (i.e. Ike peeking into the backfield without any help over the top and getting beat by play action on the long pass to Louis Murphy...similar to how he got burned by Marvin Harrison in the regular season game against the Colts in 2005). If he plays within the scheme and simply does his job, big plays like that don't happen (James Harrison has been noting lately about how people are trying to compensate for the shortcomings of some of the injury replacements instead of simply trying to do their job). I think that the only real effort to create turnovers is how the linebackers are taught to chop the ball out when sacking the QB (Harrison is the best at doing this since the days of Greg Lloyd).

ikestops85
12-14-2009, 02:36 PM
I have to agree with Ruthless. LeBeau's whole philiosphy is predicated on not giving up the big play. Just like Ruthless says that's why we always see the big cushion. LeBeau wants to see if the other team can string together 12 or so plays without making a mistake. Now that means 12 or so plays where we pressure the ball from different directions. If they can do that then they score. If they make that mistake the defense capitalizes on it.

The problem we have had this year is we aren't capitalizing on those mistakes. We aren't pressuring the QB on a consistent basis. We aren't holding on to easy interceptions. We aren't making the tackles short of the 1st down markers. We aren't getting off the field after 3 downs.

Notice all the things we aren't doing and not very many things we are doing.

JTP53609
12-14-2009, 02:45 PM
the fact remains, the rats ( i hate them ) played without ed reed against the lions....they won 45-3.....
the steelers farted around with the lions and in doing so they lost aaron smith for the year in the second half of that game...the rats had their second string in during the second half.....
teams get bad breaks, but it is not an excuse to lose to 3 crummy teams

feltdizz
12-14-2009, 04:16 PM
the fact remains, the rats ( i hate them ) played without ed reed against the lions....they won 45-3.....
the steelers farted around with the lions and in doing so they lost aaron smith for the year in the second half of that game...the rats had their second string in during the second half.....
teams get bad breaks, but it is not an excuse to lose to 3 crummy teams

True... but I think one of our teams flaws is the lack of the killer "blow out" mentality on our team...

The only game we dominated was the Denver game and we committed to the run after we had the lead.

In closing.. besides 2004, Ben's rookie season, we have not dominated teams.. we have been Rocky and just hung around and got all the breaks... this year the other teams are taking advantage of our lack of urgency.

Next year we will be back and hungry again..

cruzer8
12-14-2009, 04:19 PM
the fact remains, the rats ( i hate them ) played without ed reed against the lions....they won 45-3.....
the steelers farted around with the lions and in doing so they lost aaron smith for the year in the second half of that game...the rats had their second string in during the second half.....
teams get bad breaks, but it is not an excuse to lose to 3 crummy teams

Football is a game of match ups.

What team A does against team B has no bearing of what team C will do against team B.

feltdizz
12-14-2009, 04:34 PM
the fact remains, the rats ( i hate them ) played without ed reed against the lions....they won 45-3.....
the steelers farted around with the lions and in doing so they lost aaron smith for the year in the second half of that game...the rats had their second string in during the second half.....
teams get bad breaks, but it is not an excuse to lose to 3 crummy teams

Football is a game of match ups.

What team A does against team B has no bearing of what team C will do against team B.

if we can't match up with the 4 to 5 worst teams in the league and get one blow out something is wrong.

RuthlessBurgher
12-14-2009, 04:39 PM
the fact remains, the rats ( i hate them ) played without ed reed against the lions....they won 45-3.....
the steelers farted around with the lions and in doing so they lost aaron smith for the year in the second half of that game...the rats had their second string in during the second half.....
teams get bad breaks, but it is not an excuse to lose to 3 crummy teams

Football is a game of match ups.

What team A does against team B has no bearing of what team C will do against team B.

if we can't match up with the 4 to 5 worst teams in the league and get one win something is wrong.

Fixed that for you.

feltdizz
12-14-2009, 04:46 PM
thanks Ruthless.... we did beat the Lions so that's why I said "blow out" LOL!!

JTP53609
12-15-2009, 08:24 AM
the fact remains, the rats ( i hate them ) played without ed reed against the lions....they won 45-3.....
the steelers farted around with the lions and in doing so they lost aaron smith for the year in the second half of that game...the rats had their second string in during the second half.....
teams get bad breaks, but it is not an excuse to lose to 3 crummy teams

Football is a game of match ups.

What team A does against team B has no bearing of what team C will do against team B.


that is true but my point was that some teams destroy inferior teams while others think that just by showing up they automaticallly get the win.....you put yourself in bad situations when you think the way of just showing up get a win because than you put yourself in a fight to come out with the "W" and, you end up playing and risking injury instead of resting on the bench, like my point was with aaron smith, if we were destroying the lions like how they rats were, than he would not have been in the game in the second half and he would not be out for the season, if we put the chiefs away like we should have than there would be no concussion in overtime for big ben, if we beat the raiders like how we should have than there would be no hines ward injury in the last 10 seconds of the game......

stlrz d
12-15-2009, 09:57 AM
the fact remains, the rats ( i hate them ) played without ed reed against the lions....they won 45-3.....
the steelers farted around with the lions and in doing so they lost aaron smith for the year in the second half of that game...the rats had their second string in during the second half.....
teams get bad breaks, but it is not an excuse to lose to 3 crummy teams

Football is a game of match ups.

What team A does against team B has no bearing of what team C will do against team B.


that is true but my point was that some teams destroy inferior teams while others think that just by showing up they automaticallly get the win.....you put yourself in bad situations when you think the way of just showing up get a win because than you put yourself in a fight to come out with the "W" and, you end up playing and risking injury instead of resting on the bench, like my point was with aaron smith, if we were destroying the lions like how they rats were, than he would not have been in the game in the second half and he would not be out for the season, if we put the chiefs away like we should have than there would be no concussion in overtime for big ben, if we beat the raiders like how we should have than there would be no hines ward injury in the last 10 seconds of the game......

"Inferior" teams can still pose match up problems.

Unless you're in the locker room and you actually heard players say, "We should just automatically get this win" you're making a pretty big assumption, imo.

JTP53609
12-15-2009, 10:19 AM
the fact remains, the rats ( i hate them ) played without ed reed against the lions....they won 45-3.....
the steelers farted around with the lions and in doing so they lost aaron smith for the year in the second half of that game...the rats had their second string in during the second half.....
teams get bad breaks, but it is not an excuse to lose to 3 crummy teams

Football is a game of match ups.

What team A does against team B has no bearing of what team C will do against team B.


that is true but my point was that some teams destroy inferior teams while others think that just by showing up they automaticallly get the win.....you put yourself in bad situations when you think the way of just showing up get a win because than you put yourself in a fight to come out with the "W" and, you end up playing and risking injury instead of resting on the bench, like my point was with aaron smith, if we were destroying the lions like how they rats were, than he would not have been in the game in the second half and he would not be out for the season, if we put the chiefs away like we should have than there would be no concussion in overtime for big ben, if we beat the raiders like how we should have than there would be no hines ward injury in the last 10 seconds of the game......

"Inferior" teams can still pose match up problems.

Unless you're in the locker room and you actually heard players say, "We should just automatically get this win" you're making a pretty big assumption, imo.


bruce gradkowski was not a matchup problem any of the last times that we played him, neither was matt cassel when he was with the patriots, if a wide receiver (chris chambers) was released twice this season and proves to be a matchup problem for the steelers than we have more problems than we think. I am making an assumption based on the fact that I am a fan, we are all allowed to think what we want, but I just find it weird to think that we can beat elite teams like the chargers and vikings but lose to the bottom 3 teams in the league....I have a feeling that match up problems are not the reason though...

stlrz d
12-15-2009, 09:27 PM
I never said match ups were the only problem.

feltdizz
12-15-2009, 09:35 PM
the fact remains, the rats ( i hate them ) played without ed reed against the lions....they won 45-3.....
the steelers farted around with the lions and in doing so they lost aaron smith for the year in the second half of that game...the rats had their second string in during the second half.....
teams get bad breaks, but it is not an excuse to lose to 3 crummy teams

Football is a game of match ups.

What team A does against team B has no bearing of what team C will do against team B.


that is true but my point was that some teams destroy inferior teams while others think that just by showing up they automaticallly get the win.....you put yourself in bad situations when you think the way of just showing up get a win because than you put yourself in a fight to come out with the "W" and, you end up playing and risking injury instead of resting on the bench, like my point was with aaron smith, if we were destroying the lions like how they rats were, than he would not have been in the game in the second half and he would not be out for the season, if we put the chiefs away like we should have than there would be no concussion in overtime for big ben, if we beat the raiders like how we should have than there would be no hines ward injury in the last 10 seconds of the game......

"Inferior" teams can still pose match up problems.

Unless you're in the locker room and you actually heard players say, "We should just automatically get this win" you're making a pretty big assumption, imo.


bruce gradkowski was not a matchup problem any of the last times that we played him, neither was matt cassel when he was with the patriots, if a wide receiver (chris chambers) was released twice this season and proves to be a matchup problem for the steelers than we have more problems than we think. I am making an assumption based on the fact that I am a fan, we are all allowed to think what we want, but I just find it weird to think that we can beat elite teams like the chargers and vikings but lose to the bottom 3 teams in the league....I have a feeling that match up problems are not the reason though...

don't worry.. he always makes it a point to remind fans that they are fans.. and not in the locker room or on the field or in the coaching booth.... and that our opinions are just opinions since we aren't the players.. 8)

I agree with you... I can't remember the last time we imposed our will on a bad team.

JTP53609
12-16-2009, 08:32 AM
I never said match ups were the only problem.

with all due respect, that is all you wrote so I dont know what else you would think.....
the fact remains, we lose to inferior teams often, and not just this year but in years past too. We have lost to the 3 worst teams (fact) in the AFC. I along with most other people think that maybe the Steelers were taking those teams a little to lightly perhaps. Unless half the team got sick before the chiefs, raiders and browns games than there is no other explanation for that IMO....

stlrz d
12-16-2009, 09:46 AM
I never said match ups were the only problem.

with all due respect, that is all you wrote so I dont know what else you would think.....
the fact remains, we lose to inferior teams often, and not just this year but in years past too. We have lost to the 3 worst teams (fact) in the AFC. I along with most other people think that maybe the Steelers were taking those teams a little to lightly perhaps. Unless half the team got sick before the chiefs, raiders and browns games than there is no other explanation for that IMO....

That happens to a lot of teams man. Fans tend to be a bit myopic when it comes to their team, but it happens to a lot of teams.

JTP53609
12-16-2009, 10:54 AM
[quote="stlrz d":3bzgf2mz]I never said match ups were the only problem.

with all due respect, that is all you wrote so I dont know what else you would think.....
the fact remains, we lose to inferior teams often, and not just this year but in years past too. We have lost to the 3 worst teams (fact) in the AFC. I along with most other people think that maybe the Steelers were taking those teams a little to lightly perhaps. Unless half the team got sick before the chiefs, raiders and browns games than there is no other explanation for that IMO....

That happens to a lot of teams man. Fans tend to be a bit myopic when it comes to their team, but it happens to a lot of teams.[/quote:3bzgf2mz]

I dont want anyone to think I'm being a whiney brat, I am grateful for my Steelers, but.....
I just think it happens more to the Steelers than any other "good" team. I understand losing a "trap game" but for the steelers to constantly lose and play to the level of their competition year after year gets to be aggrevating to see. Last year was the first year I can remember where we played hard (granted we did not win all of them) in all the games, even the eagle game they came out playing but it was just not working (similar to the home game against cincy this year).
But just think of it, every year we have a good team, we are good for playing to our competions level and it ends up biting us, 2007-jets, 2006-raiders, 2005-a bad raven team, 2004 magical season, 2002 - home loss to the expansion texans...heck I remember losing to bad jaguars/bengals teams in 2001, a horrible browns team in 2000 and I remember the loss to the eagles in 97 with Coy Detmer at qb and the jags in 96 and that thursday night loss to the bungles in 95.............
I remember all of these losses to BAD teams, and I know I have my steelers glasses on, but I dont think there is any arguing that the Steelers historically play to the level of their competition, that list does not even include close wins against bad teams ...

NC Steeler Fan
12-16-2009, 11:19 AM
I think sometimes the Steelers fall victim of their own self-imposed "cult of personality". I think it's the reason sometimes we let ourselves get beat but a team we should flat out dominate and why some players (read our current secondary) aren't benched when their play clearly and objectively calls for it. We've invested too much of our psyche into the people and personalities and not enough into the delivery of results.

Sometimes I think we think "We're the Steelers. It can't happen to us." and we get cocky yet complacent.

Don't get me wrong, I think that cult of personality can lift us to two SB victories in the last four years when it's driven and motivated properly. But, I also think it can expose us as pretenders when it's allowed to dominate without substance behind it.

I hate to say it, but I think that stems from coaching...you can have a stable of wild horses with all the potential for exceptional performance in the world, but if it's not measured, checked and harnessed properly, all you get is chaos.

Just my two cents....

cruzer8
12-16-2009, 12:56 PM
Go to other team's forums and you will see fans there also complaining that their team plays up or down to the level of competition.

Fans of every team have that complaint. This isn't fantasy football.

RuthlessBurgher
12-16-2009, 01:13 PM
I think sometimes the Steelers fall victim of their own self-imposed "cult of personality". I think it's the reason sometimes we let ourselves get beat but a team we should flat out dominate and why some players (read our current secondary) aren't benched when their play clearly and objectively calls for it. We've invested too much of our psyche into the people and personalities and not enough into the delivery of results.

Sometimes I think we think "We're the Steelers. It can't happen to us." and we get cocky yet complacent.

Don't get me wrong, I think that cult of personality can lift us to two SB victories in the last four years when it's driven and motivated properly. But, I also think it can expose us as pretenders when it's allowed to dominate without substance behind it.

I hate to say it, but I think that stems from coaching...you can have a stable of wild horses with all the potential for exceptional performance in the world, but if it's not measured, checked and harnessed properly, all you get is chaos.

Just my two cents....

We've gone from a "Cult of Personality" lifting us to two Super Bowl victories to becoming "Glamour Boys" the year after those championships. :wink:

http://www.rockpeaks.com/files/artists/l/Living_Colour/Living_Colour_body.jpg

JTP53609
12-16-2009, 01:35 PM
Go to other team's forums and you will see fans there also complaining that their team plays up or down to the level of competition.

Fans of every team have that complaint. This isn't fantasy football.

okay, so does that mean that we are not allowed to talk about it then...the fact is the Steelers have historically played to the level of their competion not just once but a few times per season (look at my last post to see examples). I could care less about the other teams, I am a Steeler fan so I dont go on other forums to look at what other teams fans say about their team.
I dont know what complaining has to do with fantasy football though, I will be the first to admit I dont know anything about fantasy football but I did not know complaining was part of it...

cruzer8
12-16-2009, 03:18 PM
Go to other team's forums and you will see fans there also complaining that their team plays up or down to the level of competition.

Fans of every team have that complaint. This isn't fantasy football.

okay, so does that mean that we are not allowed to talk about it then...the fact is the Steelers have historically played to the level of their competion not just once but a few times per season (look at my last post to see examples). I could care less about the other teams, I am a Steeler fan so I dont go on other forums to look at what other teams fans say about their team.
I dont know what complaining has to do with fantasy football though, I will be the first to admit I dont know anything about fantasy football but I did not know complaining was part of it...

You seem to be missing my point. The point is you're talking about something that fans of every team talk about. IE, it's not something that is exclusive to the Steelers because it happens to every team. Therefore you are welcome to talk about it, but it's like saying, "The sun comes up in my neighborhood". Know what I mean?

The fantasy football part was referring to people thinking that every game should be a blowout. I also could have called it a Madden mentality.

You're free to talk about whatever you want. Just don't get offended when someone makes a counter point or additional point to what you are discussing.

JTP53609
12-16-2009, 03:47 PM
Well Cruzer, we just agree to disagree. I dont think, nor do most fans, think the Steelers should blow out every inferior team they play. However, to constantly be in a struggle EVERY time you play a team that is way below average is something that not every good team deals with on a regular basis like we do. The steelers have just squeeked past the lions lost to the bears, and obviously lost the three afc bottom feeders, all while trailing in the early third qtr to the browns at home. I do not expect a videogame score every time we play an inferior team, but to play them the way we have this year the same way and years past becomes quite baffling and like I said, I am sure most good teams lose a bad game once every few years, but the steelers are good for one bad loss a year at least...

stlrz d
12-16-2009, 10:52 PM
Well Cruzer, we just agree to disagree. I dont think, nor do most fans, think the Steelers should blow out every inferior team they play. However, to constantly be in a struggle EVERY time you play a team that is way below average is something that not every good team deals with on a regular basis like we do. The steelers have just squeeked past the lions lost to the bears, and obviously lost the three afc bottom feeders, all while trailing in the early third qtr to the browns at home. I do not expect a videogame score every time we play an inferior team, but to play them the way we have this year the same way and years past becomes quite baffling and like I said, I am sure most good teams lose a bad game once every few years, but the steelers are good for one bad loss a year at least...

Have you gone back through their schedule every year to confirm this? I somehow doubt that.

Mel Blount's G
12-17-2009, 01:39 AM
The same thing that jumped out at Ruth also jumped out at me. LeBeau's philosophy has been "bend but don't break" meaning we give up the underneath stuff in the passing game, which of course has been that a good sure tackle is made by our DB's which limtes receivers YAC, but that the big, game breaking, TD producing plays are kept to a minimum (this year of course the exception). You said that Seattle, in the previous SB, moved the ball with regularity but wasted many scoring opportunities whereas I see it as our defense stopping them from putting up big points whilst allowing them to move the ball (with the exception of Holmgren's bumble-fvck of clock management at the end of the half which absolutely should have produced 3 points). Same thing but with a slightly different perspective. Good schematics, qb pressure and sure tackling by our db's (after opposition receiver receptions) had previously been in our favor. Those things lacked this year though and our defensive failures, I believe, have more to do with injuries and lack of player execution than a failure of LeBeau or his "philosophy". If anything, he failed to fully revamp his system to operate proficiently without Troy (if that's even possible?)

I also disagree on Farrior. While I think Timmons is going to get better and better for us, I think Farrior's best days are certainly behind him. His superior football I.Q. has kept him the brains of the league's top D for some time but the game may be surpassing him physically as evidenced by his faltering in coverage over the course of this year.

I do agree that clarke had an off year and that his game is based around Troy's but my response to that is - well of course it is. All our db's weaknesses were exacerbated when Troy left. But Clarke's center fielding you referred to, was damn near flawless when Troy was playing imo. He always seemed to arrive in time to separate a receiver from the ball down the field (unlike the slower Carter who always arrived too late) though when Troy is not there it did seem Clarke's impeccable timing down the field was lacking. Whether that is a reflection of LeBeau's scheming without Troy or Clarke's innate skill as a true FS, I'm not sure. However, you are right that Ike is not a playmaker (never has been, never will be) and we found out, unfortunately, that not one of our defensive backs, who saw the field this year, except for Troy, is a playmaker. Beyond that we saw that Gay's tacking skills fall way short of Steeler standards, in this system described where sure tackling on WR's after a catch is absolutely imperative. Let's pray that at least one of these recent picks has some potential as a playmaker and have tackling skills closer to Ike's than to Gay's.

Aside from those few things, I really enjoyed and agreed with most of your analysis Steel Life, especially regarding our offense. I think you've echoed a lot of our sentiments but you packaged it up and described very nicely here. Well done Steel Life! :Clap

Everyone’s wondering how a team that recently won 2 Super Bowls can fall apart so quickly. The truth is that the Steelers are really a team that has over-achieved, covering their holes with inspired QB play, tenacious defense & a little luck. And what I’ve come to realize is that the problem this year – aside from key injuries & bad breaks – is that those fundamental flaws have not been fixed because of the successes & this year been exposed by injury, familiarity & flawed team philosophy. Like special teams, for some reason it always seems like we struggle, we have kickers who can’t put the KO in the EZ, can’t handle the premier returners, etc. This isn’t to put the blame solely on the coaches, in fact I believe that the players are mostly to blame for the indifferent result we’ve seen this season. But when you couple these flaws with breakdowns in personnel or injury, the result is what we’ve seen so far this year. It goes without saying that when you lose your best player, the team is going to suffer. But to lose two of your best players is a blow I challenge any team to recover from. All that said, I do believe that we’ve been a bit unlucky with the bounces this year & with a few those breaks going our way, we’re looking at different results. But we expect better & how have we gotten to where we are?...

PROBLEMS: OFFENSE (ARIANS)
Congrats Bruce, you’ve turned the Steelers into the Martz Rams or the Holmgren Seahawks (the fast-food offenses of the NFL)…lots of numbers, but no power when needed. I know some will look at the numbers & say that offense is putting up some of the best stat we’ve seen in years, but we can all see that something’s wrong (like when Cowher & the Tommy-Gun offense) & we’ve lost the ability to dominate or close out games on the offensive side of the ball. Now I’m not regretting the development of a more dynamic offense or Ben’s development, but when thinking of Bruce, always remember the Browns…of how they beat the 2002 AFCC (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recapPlay ... =230105023 (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recapPlayoff2002?gameId=230105023)) & how they lost to the ’09 version. The interesting thing is that when you look closer, the three biggest issues are all related…

a) RUN GAME - It appears that we have a stud RB in Mendenhall, we just need to feed him the ball 20 to 30 times a game if that’s what’s needed. How many times have we seen games this year where the team faces one of the worst run defenses only to see a complete lack of commitment? But like the Martz/Holmgren offenses, the running game is an afterthought & because the lack of commitment, the line cannot generate any push or consistency. The running plays called lack both frequency & execution as we simply don’t run enough to get into a rhythm & as a result lack the ability to sustain drives or kill the clock. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that Heath is more involved & that our WRs are more of a threat, but it could be argued that your offense hurts our defense because of its quick-strike capability & the lack of clock-draining drives. Teams like the Jags & Titans turned their seasons around with renewed commitment to the run, it could be argued that some of these losses could’ve been avoided if Bruce had done the same. As for where Parker & Moore fit into the equation…well, it’s probably a foregone conclusion that Parker is gone & try to latch on as a starter somewhere else. And it’s a good thing too as now everything he’s adds to the offense, takes away from it as well. And Moore…well as impressed as I was last year, I’m equally unimpressed this one. For a guy with the “chain-mover” nickname, he has been stonewalled all too often & is clearly the slowest of the backs, though he isn’t used as much in the passing game as last year (again this could be a result of Ben/Bruce focusing downfield more). We’ll give the rest of the backs a pass as none of us really know what they have…though it wouldn’t surprise me to see a pick used to bring in a better talent (Toby Gerhart anyone?).
b) SACKS - The other critical issue is Ben’s sacks, whether he takes them for holding the ball too long or the line simply folds. Again the blame falls on the offensive philosophy as the WR routes are either to complex or take too long to develop & as a result Ben either has nowhere to go with it or the protection eventually breaks down. Unlike the Pats, we don’t seem to have the quick open play underneath & Ben doesn’t seem to check down to the RB much. Perhaps that’s been a result of his playing with Parker, but Mendenhall has good hands & seems to be an excellent blocker (time for him to be a 3-down back). Add in the sporadic running attack & constant used “Empty Backfield” formation & it is a recipe for getting your QB killed (as per Martz/Holmgren offenses). I know Bruce is trying to fashion an offense more like the Pats, but the difference between Ben & Brady may be that Brady is more willing to throw it away, but there’s a schematic issue that works to Ben’s disfavor & though he thinks Bruce is his guy, it’s his guy that’s getting him killed.
c) OFF. LINE: If the reason Bruce runs the offense like he does is because he’s trying to cover for his line then I understand, but then that means we either have a lack of talent or a poor scheme. Now I’m not a guy who believes that every lineman needs to be a high draft pick, but it’s clear that something is needed as they seem to either be unable to generate any consistent push or deal with blitzes all that well. If it’s the scheme, then sack (pun intended) Zeirline & if it’s talent then find better scouts or open the purse strings, because at this rate Mendenhall will go to waste, Ben is going to get killed & the window of opportunity will close. Max seems fine & Kemo should continue to improve, but the RG remains a position of concern & Hartwig can be seen for what he is – a stopgap at center. It will be interesting to see what the team does with Colon & whether they let the market determine his worth or they jump the gun (which he can show them how to do) & sign him, hoping he improves. Either way, the development of Urbik & Hills will be critical to this unit’s success as it’s hard to see the inclusion of Foster as an endorsement or indictment of the scouting department. Either way, as always, a stud center will need to be found for this line to be considered elite again.

PROBLEMS: DEFENSE (LeBEAU)
LeBeau’s defenses are built on creating, turnovers, scoring opportunities & favorable field position…so far this season they really haven’t done that. The question that everyone is asking is – how has our defense gone from dominant to doormats in the span of less than a year? And actually there’s a second question as a result – has LeBeau lost it? While premature, it’s a question that needs to be asked eventually & is who will be LeBeau’s successor & when will that take place? In the meantime we have to take an honest look at what we have - the scheme is solid, produces enviable stats & helped deliver 2 SB’s, but it has also been a source for frustration as it has at times disappeared against playoff contenders. The reality is that the LeBeau’s defense (& Capers before him) has always been prone to giving up big plays & displayed an inability to get off the field on 3rd down. So what was the difference this year?...or last year for that matter? Last year everything came together - run defense, pass defense, sacks, turnovers…even the special teams contributed by limiting field position. But even considering all that, we still put up a stinker of a game in the SB that was glossed over by the most amazing defensive play in SB history, a huge sack/fumble to win the game. In the previous SB, the Seahawks drove the field with regularity but wasted many scoring chances – again, a few highlight plays & the win made everyone forget the troubles. Now I’m not putting LeBeau in the same category as Arians – all numbers, no results – but it’s closer than any of us would like to admit & not the fault of Tomlin’s influence as the defense has had these same problems for quite a while. So what is it?

a) INJURIES –Troy’s absence goes without saying & proves how much he makes this defense go, but Aaron’s injury again shows how valuable he is as well - Aaron sets the line so that the LBs & Troy can attack. We’ve seen this before when we didn’t have him the playoffs against the Jags & the entire defense suffered. But to take it a step further, we have had to start our 3rd & 4th string DEs during this streak because our 2nd DE has been out too…who knew Kirschke was so important? Troy gets all the attention & erases a lot of mistakes, but as we’ve seen before, Aaron is the glue up front & we’re just not the same without him.
a) DB’s – Zero interceptions, missed tackles, poor coverage & blown assignments have become so common that no one is surprised anymore. Someone produced stats showing that Ike is the most targeted DB in the league, which isn’t out of the ordinary since he usually takes on the opposition’s best WR. But perhaps it’s also because the league knows he has hands of stone & that removes some of the fear one would have throwing his way. On the other side, William Gay was a standout nickelback who has struggled becoming the starter to the point where it is head being called for instead of Ike’s, despite Ike being beaten repeatedly by the lesser WRs. I still think that Gay can be salvaged, but Ike is at a point of his career where his habits are set in stone & clearly needs a safety of Troy’s caliber to let him play his best, with time, talent & salary cap working against him. Obviously the staff & front office feel the same as they’ve drafted 3 DBs since Tomlin took over. Regarding the safeties…Troy needs no breakdown, but it has been a bad year for his running mate – Ryan Clark – without him. I believe that Clark is a great compliment to Troy & is one of the hardest hitters we’ve seen, but without Troy his responsibilities are different & have only exposed his weaknesses as he less a true center-fielding FS & more of Troy-lite . Bad time for him to be a free agent, but I believe he’s found a home here & will sign a reasonable contract. As for Tyrone Carter, I’m still mystified why he’s on the team. I know he’s an aggressive solid tackler, but he’s slow, constantly out of position, takes bad angles & is a liability in coverage. They’ve tried to replace him but his knowledge of the scheme has kept them at bay for now…though I think they’ve got Mundy finally about ready. One last note about Deshea, we all like him, but it’s clear he’s done as he simply does not have the ability to close anymore, I think it’s time for him to hang’em up.
b) D-LINE – For all those convinced Farrior's best days are behind him & Timmons isn’t the answer, I would ask what they think those two would be like with Haloti Ngata occupying space in front of them? A great defense is built from the front, creating pressure to limit coverage time, but this detioration of the defense is directly linked to the defensive line which has gotten old & we’re seeing the OLBs double-teamed & the secondary exposed because the defensive line isn’t a force. We’ve already discussed Aaron, but he is on the downside of his career age-wise. But it’s Hampton – with his poor conditioning & mounting injuries – who’s a shadow of his former self & might get a contract offer from the team only because there isn’t anyone else to turn to, especially since his backup is older than he is. Keisel has given it all he’s got, but with a depleted defensive line, he’s man under siege – not to mention he’s on the wrong side of 30 as well. But with the collective ages of the starters on the line, this is why Tomlin brought Hood in & why more attention should’ve been paid before. And when you consider that both of the primary backups (Hoke & Kirschke) are over 30, it’s easy to see that the situation has become critical & that our first wave of defense is fighting the opposition as well as time.

I know others will point out other issues, other players to blame…including or excluding Ben, Tomlin, Hines or others - for now this is how I see this season breaking down. Just so you know, I hold others at fault too, but I’ll save the ranting & raving of Colbert, his drafts & signings for another day. I look forward to the discussion…

JTP53609
12-17-2009, 08:40 AM
Well Cruzer, we just agree to disagree. I dont think, nor do most fans, think the Steelers should blow out every inferior team they play. However, to constantly be in a struggle EVERY time you play a team that is way below average is something that not every good team deals with on a regular basis like we do. The steelers have just squeeked past the lions lost to the bears, and obviously lost the three afc bottom feeders, all while trailing in the early third qtr to the browns at home. I do not expect a videogame score every time we play an inferior team, but to play them the way we have this year the same way and years past becomes quite baffling and like I said, I am sure most good teams lose a bad game once every few years, but the steelers are good for one bad loss a year at least...

Have you gone back through their schedule every year to confirm this? I somehow doubt that.


well the part that you highlighted was speaking of this season, and like I posted this season we have played inferior teams and struggled with every one of them...The steelers have just squeeked past the lions lost to the bears, and obviously lost the three afc bottom feeders, all while trailing in the early third qtr to the browns at home.

and yes, I did not look at our schedule from years past, I just remember games that we have played dating back to our super bowl team in 95, in which we lost to BAD teams...(i even posted it a few posts ago)

stlrz d
12-17-2009, 09:54 AM
And all I'm sayin' is you can go through other team's schedules and find inexplicable losses as well.

stlrz d
12-17-2009, 10:08 AM
I think I should clarify. This season is clearly an aberration. There's no excuse for it.

I don't count 2006 due to the extraordinary circumstances with Ben.

But other than this season and 2006 (extraordinary circumstances) we lose a few WTF games here and there just like other teams do.

Steeler Mafia
12-17-2009, 10:41 AM
And all I'm sayin' is you can go through other team's schedules and find inexplicable losses as well.

Maybe so, but this year we have more (inexplicable losses) than any of the other teams in either conference. That is not excusable, for any team, in any league. Although I consider myself a life long Steelers fan, I have been more disappointed in this team, this year, than I have in a long time. The beginning of the 2002 season is a close second.

JTP53609
12-17-2009, 11:26 AM
[quote="stlrz d":3r74rex6]And all I'm sayin' is you can go through other team's schedules and find inexplicable losses as well.

Maybe so, but this year we have more (inexplicable losses) than any of the other teams in either conference. That is not excusable, for any team, in any league. Although I consider myself a life long Steelers fan, I have been more disappointed in this team, this year, than I have in a long time. The beginning of the 2002 season is a close second.[/quote:3r74rex6]

I agree, that begining to the 02 season was bad and the texan loss later in the year was worse...
stlrzd, I know you cant go through every teams schedule and find out their bad losses, but I do know the ravens who i hate, have never lost to a team with a losing record under john harbaugh, and there are other examples too

stlrz d
12-17-2009, 09:23 PM
[quote="stlrz d":b0w5ob2y]And all I'm sayin' is you can go through other team's schedules and find inexplicable losses as well.

Maybe so, but this year we have more (inexplicable losses) than any of the other teams in either conference. That is not excusable, for any team, in any league. Although I consider myself a life long Steelers fan, I have been more disappointed in this team, this year, than I have in a long time. The beginning of the 2002 season is a close second.

I agree, that begining to the 02 season was bad and the texan loss later in the year was worse...
stlrzd, I know you cant go through every teams schedule and find out their bad losses, but I do know the ravens who i hate, have never lost to a team with a losing record under john harbaugh, and there are other examples too[/quote:b0w5ob2y]

He's been their coach for 2 years.

JTP53609
12-18-2009, 09:25 AM
well he has been the coach for 2 years and played numerous teams with losing records and they never lost, im just giving facts here....dont shoot the messenger..

stlrz d
12-18-2009, 09:56 AM
In this war of attrition you win. I give up.

The Steelers consistently lose to lesser opponents and other teams only lose to them once in a great while. This season is not an anomaly for the Steelers...if their schedule was loaded with 16 dogs they wouldn't win a single game.

JTP53609
12-18-2009, 10:21 AM
In this war of attrition you win. I give up.

The Steelers consistently lose to lesser opponents and other teams only lose to them once in a great while. This season is not an anomaly for the Steelers...if their schedule was loaded with 16 dogs they wouldn't win a single game.

yesss....lets just agree to disagree with mutual respect, here :Cheers (even though I dont drink)