View Full Version : Is Stubbornness to blame for current Steelers' woes?

10-04-2011, 01:56 AM

Sunday, October 2, 2011
by Chris Mack


Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison, Aaron Smith, Jason Worilds, and Rashard Mendenhall all were injured at some point in the Steelers' loss to the Houston Texans. They'll all, more than likely, be re-evaluated tomorrow.

While we're re-evaluating things though, how about our expectations for a team with just 2 1/2 NFL caliber starting offensive linemen, a running back who looks like he's auditioning to be the next Steeler on "Dancing With the Stars" the way he cha-chas at the line of scrimmage and a defense that looks not only "old, slow, & over" (Yes, Warren Sapp, it appears we all owe you a bit of an apology.), but unforgivably undisciplined in the arts of getting off the block, tackling, and pursuit.

That's a lot to fix, especially if you're trying to fix it without your franchise QB. Until we know otherwise though, let's assume Roethlisberger will be ok to play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. What kind of protection will he get?

Maurkice Pouncey can be stellar at times, and Marcus Gilbert will be as well someday. Chris Kemoeatu is a beast of a run blocker - when healthy - but has some of the slowest feet in the league when pass blocking. Doug Legursky, out with an injury, is serviceable.

Ramon Foster, Trai Essex, and Jonathan Scott aren't NFL-level starters and barely capable as reserves. This is a Super Bowl team whose hopes for bolstering their O-line rest on either Flozell Adams, Max Starks, or some other street free agent. And therein lays this organization's two biggest problems: A trip to the Super Bowl, and their quarterback's history of success outside the pocket, have instilled the false belief that they don't need to drastically improve their offensive line. So they'll refuse to do so. And their QB may have some shredded knee ligaments to thank for it.

If they had a running back willing to try and take advantage of what few, tiny holes he has to run through rather than tiptoeing around, it may take some pressure off of Roethlisberger. When Isaac Redman, a straight line runner, got time against Houston he did just that. Rashard Mendenhall has looked tentative again this season.

And on the defensive side of the ball, as I said last week, it's time to start refreshing.

Keenan Lewis has looked pretty good in the time he's seen with Bryant McFadden out. It's time to stop kidding ourselves into believing William Gay can play anything other than nickelback. Cameron Heyward needs to get more time. Now. Despite who is or isn't healthy. The same goes for Ziggy Hood. Perhaps if a few veterans lost some playing time, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons wouldn't feel so secure as they spend Sundays sleeping on their piles of contract extension money.

This team has a lot of problems. Most of them stem from something that can leave you in the dust if you don't adapt: Stubborness. This coaching staff and front office has been so successful the past four years (Tomlin still hasn't had a season without a winning record, and has missed the playoffs just once) that they're absolutely CERTAIN they know what they're doing, and that it's the right way. From not adding any new wrinkles to D!ck LeBeau's Hall of Fame defense to keeping a few players around a year or two too long to refusing to make the personnel moves necessary to keep their QB from getting smeared.

Stubbornness does not win championships. Refreshing, innovating, and evolving wins championships. There's plenty of football left in the 2011 NFL season, and plenty of opportunities for Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin, & the Steelers to turn things around, at which point they'll feel validated about their approach and the criticisms will die down.

I'm hear to tell you though, in the long term, to keep this franchise from having to go through any kind of rebuilding, it's time to re-evaluate.

http://www.thechrismack.com/2011/10/ste ... luate.html (http://www.thechrismack.com/2011/10/steelers-lets-re-evaluate.html)

10-04-2011, 02:09 AM
Beautiful article.

It's kinda depressing. But maybe a wake-up call is needed and has been delivered with the Texans game.

10-05-2011, 08:21 PM
Maybe. But let's be a little realistic here. Regardless of whether they had drafted 4 OL in the top 4 rds of the draft, with the shortened preseason, it is highly likely the line would look just as bad for the first half of the season. And that assumes we hit on all 4 selections, which, given our OL draft history is no slam dunk. We are at least two years away from having a decent OL again unless we can find a vet on the scrap heap that still has something left (aka Starks).

10-06-2011, 08:07 AM
Beautiful article.

It's kinda depressing. But maybe a wake-up call is needed and has been delivered with the Texans game.

Wasn't the same thing said after the Baltimore game?? After they completely dominated us in all 3 phases of the game. Nothing much changed after that, unfortunately......

10-06-2011, 09:53 AM
The problem is the stubborness of our two coordinators.

Understand you had to keep them because there was the realized potential of no off season to introduce anything new. However, both Arians and LeBeau need to be gone after this season.

Tomlin needs to bounce both guys out at the end of the season or they will drag him down with them.

10-06-2011, 11:07 AM
The problem is the stubborness of our two coordinators.

Understand you had to keep them because there was the realized potential of no off season to introduce anything new. However, both Arians and LeBeau need to be gone after this season.

Tomlin needs to bounce both guys out at the end of the season or they will drag him down with them.


It's hard to justify jettisoning your OC & DC after going to the Super Bowl. But even back then plenty of fans knew we had problems.

We need a DC that won't sit young talent in favor of vets that "know the system".

We need an OC that isn't Ben's buddy -- someone to push him to improve his game. And someone that actually looks at this team's strengths and weaknesses and tries to plan around them, rather than deciding to call their game come hell or high water.

And if this doesn't happen, I dare say we need to find a head coach that is willing to step up and make the changes needed to make our team great again.

10-07-2011, 07:23 PM
Did Steelers let sentiment overule sense in selecting 2011 roster?


Did the Steelers allow sentiment to stand in the way of putting the best roster together for the 2011 season?

That's a much-discussed question this week and understandably so. A lot of people are comparing what is happening this season to what happened at the end of the Dynasty, when many believed the Steelers allowed sentiment to stand in the path of restocking the roster.

Itís easy to second-guess four games into the season. I donít recall many suggesting the Steelers were too old or that management was too sentimental back in early September. Back then, the talk was Super Bowl, not a failure to recognize an aging team.

There are five players who might fall into the category of ``should have been cutíí to make room for younger players or so other positions could be better manned.

Aaron Smith (defensive end, 35 in April, 13th season): Smith had multiple injuries over the past four seasons and missed 26 of 64 games. The case could be made he was injury prone and should have been cut. Or the case could be made his body hadnít taken the beating of most players his age and he still had at least one good season left.

What the Steelers should have done: With two No. 1 draft choices, Ziggy Hood (2009) and Cameron Heyward (2011) at the position and not starting, the Steelers were too at deep defensive end at the expense of other positions. Hood, who played very well last season in place of Smith, was an unnecessary luxury as a backup. He should have been promoted and Smith released, with his history of injuries being the perfect excuse.

Casey Hampton (nose tackle, 34 last month, 11th season): If any player appears to have slipped significantly this season, itís Hampton. That shouldnít be totally surprising because heís played a long time at a position where thereís usually a short shelf-life. But there were very few, if any, indications last season Hampton was slipping. Just as important, there was no one ready to step in and do the job he was doing.

What the Steelers should have done: Hampton deserved to be brought back without a second thought.

Brett Keisel (defensive end, 33 last month, 10th season): Keisel played well last season. He missed five games because of injury, but there never was any speculation he was finished as a productive player.

What Steelers should have done: Bring him back.

James Farrior (inside linebacker, 36 in January, 15th season): The Steelers probably believed 2010 would be Farriorís final season. No one expected him to play the length of the contract he signed in 2008. But he surprised everyone by playing very well last season. He had six sacks, third on the team and second best in his career. He was second in the team in tackles. It looked like he had discovered the Fountain of Youth.

What Steelers should have done: With Larry Foote, a more-than suitable replacement ready to step in, the Steelers should have released Farrior. It would have been a tough call. Heís a captain and a highly respected leader.

Hines Ward (wide receiver, 35 in March, 14th season): He caught only 59 passes last season, 36 fewer than the year before. His numbers indicated decline, but he still looked like he had game.

What Steelers should have done: Another difficult call involving a respected leader and popular player. With only two second-year players available to replace him and with third-year receiver Mike Wallace as the other starter, it was the right thing to bring back Ward.

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazet ... 011-roster (http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/30339-did-steelers-allow-sentiment-overule-sense-in-putting-together-2011-roster)

10-08-2011, 02:12 PM
Smith shouldn't have been brought back... but given our youth up front I would feel better if Smith was a reserve and Hood started this year. The loss of Kiesel puts us in a tough spot since Ironhead II is a rookie. The fact that Smith was prepared to take a pay cut to stay with the team said a lot IMO.

Farrior played well last year and he runs the D. I didn't have a problem bringing him back but it's obvious this is it for him.

Hampton didn't show signs of rust and the cut blocks are a big reason he looks bad this year. Do something about the cut blocks and let's see if Hampton improves.

Keisel.. that's a tough one but my real frustration with Keisel is his jokes about our teams age, especially him and Smith. It's almost like he is joking to keep himself from taking an honest look in the mirror.. I know you can't control injuries but our geezers have missed a nice amount of games... who's laughing now?

McFaddy and Smith... while I don't mind having them around for one more go I think we all knew this was a possibility, being injured and ineffective that is...

My real frustration is walking these guys to the front of the line when our youth outplayed them in the preseason. Play the best players on your team and stop giving vets sympathy starts based on past glory.