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Oviedo
12-14-2009, 08:58 AM
Very good read and accurately sums up the situation. While the internet know-it-alls are having a field day this need a rational, detailed assessemnt at the end of the season. This season is a blip not a long term trend.


Junker: Steelers don't need panic
Buzz up!By Guy Junker, FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, December 14, 2009

Panic, it's what most fans and many media members have done. It's what the Steeler's organization rarely does and they are rewarded for their patience with one of the most consistently stable and strong franchises in the NFL.

While changes need to be made for next year, knee-jerk reaction brings with it only instant satisfaction and rarely long term improvement. The e-mails have poured in. Fire offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Fire special teams coach Bob Ligashesky. Fire head coach Mike Tomlin. I assure you the last one won't happen. The first two might be considered at the end of the season.

For now the Steelers are a team that fell from the penthouse to the outhouse in such a short period of time that it has many in the organization scratching their heads; but not losing them. There are three games left and the re-evaluating and perhaps elimination of playing and coaching personal can wait until the offseason.

The very first thing to consider is how much better would this team be if Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu were healthy. In the press box last Thursday night, a Cleveland TV reporter asked me what was wrong with the Steelers, considering they have basically the same players that won the Super Bowl. That is far from the truth on defense where four of the 11 starters have changed. Polamalu and Smith have been hurt much of the year and cornerback Bryant McFadden and linebacker Larry Foote are gone.

No one can replace Polamalu or Smith. Polamalu is not only a pro bowler but as unique a talent as the league has ever seen. Smith was just named to the all-decade team in Sports Illustrated.

William Gay and Lawrence Timmons have replaced McFadden and Foote after doing a good job as their situational replacements last year. Playing nearly every down has exposed both. It doesn't mean they can't get better. Nor is there a guarantee they will. But it's a big part of why this team isn't as good as it was last year. It's certainly a big reason why this team hasn't been able to close games out defensively in the fourth quarters.

The Steelers have lost seven games by a total of 28 points. They never trailed by more than a touchdown until the first half against Cleveland last week. Five games have been lost by three points. Two have been lost in overtime.

I believe that losing a lot of close games just means a team is just no good. Most NFL games swing by a field goal or touchdown. But you know this team is better than this and even going 3-4 in those close losses would have them sitting pretty ready for another playoff run.

Instead, the Steelers are only the second defending Super Bowl champion to lose five straight games. And the other time it happened, the 1987 New York Giants used replacement players during a strike.

The Steelers should be so lucky. There is no doubt they have underperformed and heads may roll. There are suddenly cracks in Mike Tomlin's slick presence. James Farrior looks his age. Some others don't act theirs and there is locker room unrest. It looks like they made mistakes on players they allowed to leave. Some like Anthony Madison they got back to help their awful special teams. The real key is not to make those evaluation mistakes again.

Changes are necessary and perhaps the whole thing needs to be blown up and reworked. But luckily all that will be dealt with in a timely manner which does not appease angry fans right now.

Making the playoffs 12 of the last 16 years and winning more Super Bowls than anyone in NFL history does not happen if the Steelers fired people and cut players every time the team is in a funk. As Rudyard Kipling wrote so well in his poem "IF" in the late 19th century: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you ..." It is the mantra of the Steeler organization. And right now it is being held to the test.

aggiebones
12-14-2009, 12:04 PM
hey we agree on something!

I barely skimmed the article, cause I know what it said most likely.

And it is true. This season is a blip. Luckily we don't have knee jerk reaction owners.
I do think we'll have some changes on the coaching staff. I'm quite sure that Tomlin made almost zero calls on filling his opening staff. Lebeau is not in question and wasn't a Tomlin hire. The offense coaches are not really Tomlin people either, so likely these were GM hires. My Dad thinks because Arians was in Cincinnati for the one year Tomlin coached at Cinn U that that's how we got him. More likely a Lebeau friend (but speculation on my part). Hopefully changing OC doesn't send Lebeau into retirement.
I will say that the STs guy 'may' have been a Tomlin mistake and one that I think he will correct his offseason.
Tomlin has been through a few seasons now and I think he'll get more leeway in the decision making process, but the Rooneys don't give all he rope to ANYONE, so I imagine only a little more rope goes his way.

BradshawsHairdresser
12-14-2009, 12:19 PM
The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night did NOT look like a team that was a tweak or two removed from Super Bowl contention. The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night looked like the WORST team in the NFL.

The Steelers have been getting beat by the NFL's bottom feeders. While panic might not be necessary, status quo is not going to cut it either. It's obvious that some significant changes need to be made. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, you don't have a strong defense. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, that's just stupid in today's NFL. Some combination of changes in schemes, playcalling, and personnel is in order.

If MT promises to unleash anything, watch out...probably means little to no change at all.

Oviedo
12-14-2009, 01:36 PM
The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night did NOT look like a team that was a tweak or two removed from Super Bowl contention. The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night looked like the WORST team in the NFL.

The Steelers have been getting beat by the NFL's bottom feeders. While panic might not be necessary, status quo is not going to cut it either. It's obvious that some significant changes need to be made. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, you don't have a strong defense. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, that's just stupid in today's NFL. Some combination of changes in schemes, playcalling, and personnel is in order.

If MT promises to unleash anything, watch out...probably means little to no change at all.

Other than your normal scripted backhanded criticism of Tomlin I agree with you.

This team needs to do a real top to bottom assessemnt. I have been saying all season that if our defense is predicated on one or two players than LeBeau isn't really a genius.

I think the following needs to be done:

1. Evaluation of our defensive scheme and the players we have. All options should be on the table including the 4-3. If LeBeau can't get on board then he needs to get off board.

2. Evaluation of our offensive scheme and here Tomlin needs to "put some guardrails on the highway" so Arains or his replacement don't go off into a ditch. This would include few if any no-back sets, more two back sets, complete review of blocking schemes, Increased emphasis on passing out of play action, increased use of the no huddle, etc. Personally, I think the train has left the station with Arians. He is damaged goods, some fair and lots of unfair criticism, and the team needs to move on.

Bottom line is that status quo should not be good enough going into next season. The team has a window of opportunity and the impetus to go into new directions. Hopefully they do.

BDESteel
12-14-2009, 01:41 PM
The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night did NOT look like a team that was a tweak or two removed from Super Bowl contention. The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night looked like the WORST team in the NFL.

The Steelers have been getting beat by the NFL's bottom feeders. While panic might not be necessary, status quo is not going to cut it either. It's obvious that some significant changes need to be made. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, you don't have a strong defense. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, that's just stupid in today's NFL. Some combination of changes in schemes, playcalling, and personnel is in order.

If MT promises to unleash anything, watch out...probably means little to no change at all.
You don't sound very optimistic. If the reported coaching changes do happen, I think we could be right back in contention next year. I might be knee jerk to start firing coaches, but if you think about it, we lose coaches all the time. Usually it's do to them getting promotions from other teams, but we do deal with coaching changes often.

Also, don't forget, albeit very slim a chance we have to go to the playoffs, we do have a chance. If Troy comes back and we get in, our chances will be as good as anyones.

Oviedo
12-14-2009, 02:11 PM
The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night did NOT look like a team that was a tweak or two removed from Super Bowl contention. The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night looked like the WORST team in the NFL.

The Steelers have been getting beat by the NFL's bottom feeders. While panic might not be necessary, status quo is not going to cut it either. It's obvious that some significant changes need to be made. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, you don't have a strong defense. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, that's just stupid in today's NFL. Some combination of changes in schemes, playcalling, and personnel is in order.

If MT promises to unleash anything, watch out...probably means little to no change at all.
You don't sound very optimistic. If the reported coaching changes do happen, I think we could be right back in contention next year. I might be knee jerk to start firing coaches, but if you think about it, we lose coaches all the time. Usually it's do to them getting promotions from other teams, but we do deal with coaching changes often.

Also, don't forget, albeit very slim a chance we have to go to the playoffs, we do have a chance. If Troy comes back and we get in, our chances will be as good as anyones.

He won't acknowledge the possibility for anything good as long as Tomlin is the coach so you are speaking on deaf ears. But given the Rooney's penchant for stability in head coaches, it likely does give him seven more years and thousands more posts letting us know he doesn't like Tomlin and Tomlin is the football version of the antiChrist.

aggiebones
12-14-2009, 02:18 PM
Take a couple top players out of any scheme (O or D) and see what happens. In particular those 2. Lebeau has done it with MANY rosters and lineups, so don't embarrass yourself by demeaning him.
We are indeed in a bit of defensive roster flux. Change at CB didn't pan out, Carter playing too long at SS. New ILB, who played well, but maybe the speeds have changed and its not as synchronized. Top run stuffing DE goes IR. That's 4 out of 11 spots. DE has a geezer and a future guy there, so we clearly were gonna have a drop off at his spot. Carter is nowhere near Troy (who is). Timmons maybe better at some things, but not at others compared to Foote, so he and Farrier may not mesh. Gay is either not gonna make it or need to really rebound in the offseason. Its not been pretty on his side.
Sometimes, things go up and down. Frankly, I'd just blow off this season and bring it all back again next season. Another offseason and guys may be back up on top.
I'm sure some here would have blown up the whole roster after 2006 too. We didn't win all of the first 40 Super Bowls and we won't win all of the second 40. If we stay in a dip all through next season, then there's a bigger problem.
Good thing is, we should have a decent draft pick and not number 32.

RuthlessBurgher
12-14-2009, 02:24 PM
hey we agree on something!

I barely skimmed the article, cause I know what it said most likely.

And it is true. This season is a blip. Luckily we don't have knee jerk reaction owners.
I do think we'll have some changes on the coaching staff. I'm quite sure that Tomlin made almost zero calls on filling his opening staff. Lebeau is not in question and wasn't a Tomlin hire. The offense coaches are not really Tomlin people either, so likely these were GM hires. My Dad thinks because Arians was in Cincinnati for the one year Tomlin coached at Cinn U that that's how we got him. More likely a Lebeau friend (but speculation on my part). Hopefully changing OC doesn't send Lebeau into retirement.
I will say that the STs guy 'may' have been a Tomlin mistake and one that I think he will correct his offseason.
Tomlin has been through a few seasons now and I think he'll get more leeway in the decision making process, but the Rooneys don't give all he rope to ANYONE, so I imagine only a little more rope goes his way.

Arians was never in Cincinnati (he was the O.C. in Cleveland before coming to Pittsburgh to be the WR coach on Cowher's staff from 04-06...well before Tomlin showed up).

BURGH86STEEL
12-14-2009, 02:28 PM
I agree, there is no need to panic. I hope they can finish out the season with 3 wins.

RuthlessBurgher
12-14-2009, 02:31 PM
http://logn.org/uploaded_images/Don%27t-Panic-795930.png

aggiebones
12-14-2009, 02:34 PM
My bad, I was referring to Anderson in that comment, but people were disturbing me at work (how dare they) and I got off track and barely finished my thoughts. Thanks for the correction. My main point was that I doubt Tomlin had much say in the draft or frankly most of the personnel choices. He has some say and that some will grow as they develop him as a head coach.

BradshawsHairdresser
12-14-2009, 09:09 PM
The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night did NOT look like a team that was a tweak or two removed from Super Bowl contention. The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night looked like the WORST team in the NFL.

The Steelers have been getting beat by the NFL's bottom feeders. While panic might not be necessary, status quo is not going to cut it either. It's obvious that some significant changes need to be made. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, you don't have a strong defense. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, that's just stupid in today's NFL. Some combination of changes in schemes, playcalling, and personnel is in order.

If MT promises to unleash anything, watch out...probably means little to no change at all.
You don't sound very optimistic. If the reported coaching changes do happen, I think we could be right back in contention next year. I might be knee jerk to start firing coaches, but if you think about it, we lose coaches all the time. Usually it's do to them getting promotions from other teams, but we do deal with coaching changes often.

Also, don't forget, albeit very slim a chance we have to go to the playoffs, we do have a chance. If Troy comes back and we get in, our chances will be as good as anyones.

He won't acknowledge the possibility for anything good as long as Tomlin is the coach so you are speaking on deaf ears. But given the Rooney's penchant for stability in head coaches, it likely does give him seven more years and thousands more posts letting us know he doesn't like Tomlin and Tomlin is the football version of the antiChrist.

You don't know what you are talking about. Go back and read all my posts. I'm not a Tomlin hater. In fact, I've been nothing but positive about Tomlin until this season. I have called for Arians, Ligashevsky, and LeBeau to be fired or retired (whichever moves them out of here), but I haven't called for Tomlin to go...UNLESS he refuses to make needed changes, in which case, he probably SHOULD be fired. But I HOPE he succeeds big time here.

I've just been extremely frustrated because I think he's done a pizz-poor job this season.
I think he was satisfied and complacent after the Super Bowl win, and I think that attitude filtered down from the HC to the whole team. I think he was painfully slow to recognize that changes needed to be made, and even slower to implement changes (he really hasn't done anything in that regard yet). I'm disappointed that he's said he's going to do things and hasn't followed through. That has lost him some respect with the players, IMO, and it may take some time to regain it.

I hope he does regain it, and leads the Steelers back into Super Bowl contention. Hopefully he's learned that he better follow through when he says he's going to do something, or not say it at all. Hopefully he makes his mark by making needed changes that improve the team. Hopefully he gets hungry for more Super Bowls. I hope MT becomes the best coach in the NFL, and earns a place in the hall of fame. But it's going to take better work than he's done this season, by far.

buckeyehoppy
12-15-2009, 02:04 AM
LeBeau isn't going anywhere unless he simply isn't up to the coming reconstruct of the D. And he very well might not be. He's in his 70s. I believe he's earned a "retirement". If he's gone, that's the way the team will handle it.

Remember that LeBeau gift-wrapped SBXLIII for us last year. His D was absolutely healthy and nothing short of sensational. His D covered for a very average O. Benjamin's #s were anemic, especially in relation to this year's which are, in fact, pretty good.

But, there's the rub. Benjamin can win a SB in an "average" year, then get castigated in a year when things go badly, but he is, ironically, statistically sound. It's a testament to the schizophrenia that is BA's offense.

feelthesteel
12-15-2009, 06:32 AM
If we get rid of BA
get stronger in the trenches
get back to a punishing run game to compliment the pass.
Add some youth at LB
And get some good CBs that can cover great and intercept.
And put together a better STs

i'll be happy.

steelblood
12-15-2009, 03:31 PM
The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night did NOT look like a team that was a tweak or two removed from Super Bowl contention. The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night looked like the WORST team in the NFL.

The Steelers have been getting beat by the NFL's bottom feeders. While panic might not be necessary, status quo is not going to cut it either. It's obvious that some significant changes need to be made. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, you don't have a strong defense. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, that's just stupid in today's NFL. Some combination of changes in schemes, playcalling, and personnel is in order.

If MT promises to unleash anything, watch out...probably means little to no change at all.


Other than your normal scripted backhanded criticism of Tomlin I agree with you.

This team needs to do a real top to bottom assessemnt. I have been saying all season that if our defense is predicated on one or two players than LeBeau isn't really a genius.

I think the following needs to be done:

1. Evaluation of our defensive scheme and the players we have. All options should be on the table including the 4-3. If LeBeau can't get on board then he needs to get off board.

2. Evaluation of our offensive scheme and here Tomlin needs to "put some guardrails on the highway" so Arains or his replacement don't go off into a ditch. This would include few if any no-back sets, more two back sets, complete review of blocking schemes, Increased emphasis on passing out of play action, increased use of the no huddle, etc. Personally, I think the train has left the station with Arians. He is damaged goods, some fair and lots of unfair criticism, and the team needs to move on.

Bottom line is that status quo should not be good enough going into next season. The team has a window of opportunity and the impetus to go into new directions. Hopefully they do.

You sound like an internet know it all. :lol:

Generally, I agree with your assessment. Of course, after a collapse a reassessment is generally in order.

I'm not sure what you mean about Arians being "damaged goods" though. Are you saying the media and fans have ruined him?

Oviedo
12-15-2009, 04:16 PM
The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night did NOT look like a team that was a tweak or two removed from Super Bowl contention. The Steelers team I saw in Cleveland last Thursday night looked like the WORST team in the NFL.

The Steelers have been getting beat by the NFL's bottom feeders. While panic might not be necessary, status quo is not going to cut it either. It's obvious that some significant changes need to be made. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, you don't have a strong defense. If your defense is that dependent upon one or two star players, that's just stupid in today's NFL. Some combination of changes in schemes, playcalling, and personnel is in order.

If MT promises to unleash anything, watch out...probably means little to no change at all.


Other than your normal scripted backhanded criticism of Tomlin I agree with you.

This team needs to do a real top to bottom assessemnt. I have been saying all season that if our defense is predicated on one or two players than LeBeau isn't really a genius.

I think the following needs to be done:

1. Evaluation of our defensive scheme and the players we have. All options should be on the table including the 4-3. If LeBeau can't get on board then he needs to get off board.

2. Evaluation of our offensive scheme and here Tomlin needs to "put some guardrails on the highway" so Arains or his replacement don't go off into a ditch. This would include few if any no-back sets, more two back sets, complete review of blocking schemes, Increased emphasis on passing out of play action, increased use of the no huddle, etc. Personally, I think the train has left the station with Arians. He is damaged goods, some fair and lots of unfair criticism, and the team needs to move on.

Bottom line is that status quo should not be good enough going into next season. The team has a window of opportunity and the impetus to go into new directions. Hopefully they do.

You sound like an internet know it all. :lol:

Generally, I agree with your assessment. Of course, after a collapse a reassessment is generally in order.

I'm not sure what you mean about Arians being "damaged goods" though. Are you saying the media and fans have ruined him?

Since I know you have read all 3200+ of my posts you should know that I'm the only one who does "know it all" :D

"Damaged goods" = IMO lack of credability

Chadman
12-16-2009, 07:46 PM
How many times has Arians been handcuffed, or has arians' gamecalling been blown up, specifically, because the Steelers OL couldn't do what was asked of them?

How many OC's have been able to run on Offense that wins a SB right on the death with an OL like what the Steelers put forward last season?

Ask yourself this- if the OL gave arians the opportunities he needs for his system to work, are we down on Arians?

Statistically, the Steelers O is pretty good- except on all OL stats.

How many times has the crucial 3rd down bungles been a result of poor OL play?

Don't get Chadman wrong- it's Arians job to work with the tools he has in place- but it would be interesting to see how effective Arians' playcalling would be if Ben wasn't getting sacked every third throwing attempt, and if Mendenhall could get some holes opened on 3rd & short..