View Full Version : Steelers take steps to address lackluster play

10-05-2011, 01:29 AM
Steelers take steps to address lackluster play
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Room for improvement
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 60211.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_760211.html)

Fans clamoring for change after the Steelers' 17-10 loss in Houston will have to settle for an adjustment to the team's practice routine.

Coach Mike Tomlin all but said Tuesday that the Steelers will practice twice in pads this week -- one more than usual -- as they work on fundamentals such as blocking and tackling.

The collective bargaining agreement ratified in August permits 14 practices in pads during the regular season. Teams are allowed two padded practices in the same week only once during the season.

"There's no time like the present, given how we've performed," Tomlin said at his weekly news conference.

Indeed, the Steelers' two victories have come against teams that have one win combined. They have 10 more turnovers than takeaways -- they are last in the NFL in that category -- and an offense loaded with talented skill players ranks near the bottom of the league in scoring.

Tomlin said his players "better have a sense of urgency" as they prepare for a 1 p.m. game Sunday against the visiting Tennessee Titans, and that "they are hacked off, and they should be."

But he didn't waver from his postgame comments in Houston, reiterating that the Steelers' problems can be fixed with a back-to-basics approach this week at practice.

"We are not going to make something out of this that it's not," he said of the Steelers' 2-2 start. "We understand that we are capable of playing better. We know where the solutions lie -- within us and how we prepare, and ultimately how we perform. We have to get better technically. We have to get better from an assignment standpoint, not only on defense but also on offense and special teams."

Cornerback William Gay said shoddy tackling contributed to the Steelers allowing 155 rushing yards to Arian Foster last Sunday. Foster became the third running back to average more than 5 yards carry against the Steelers this season.

They yielded just 3.0 yards per carry in 2010.

"We just missed tackles," Gay said of the Steelers' play against the Texans. "If you look at the film, that's all you see. We are going to correct that. That's a must for our defense."

Tomlin said some of the Steelers' problems have been magnified and perhaps even blown out of proportion because of high expectations that are a product of past success.

"There is a fine line in performing well and sub-standard," he said, specifically in regard to the Steelers' run defense. "Some of the mistakes are mental, some are physical. They are not all centrally located in one person or position. But when you add those things up over the course of a football game, you get eight to 10 snaps where someone is letting you down either mentally or physically. Then you have the opportunity to give up some big yards."

There is a limit to what the Steelers can do in practice because there is no actual tackling. But veteran free safety Ryan Clark said the Steelers can make necessary corrections through a renewed commitment to getting better.

"Take practice seriously when you get opportunities with your coach in individual periods, and also when you're going through your team periods," he said. "When we have our pads on we need to carry them in a way that we're getting better. As veterans and guys that play really hard on Sunday, sometimes you're all sore on Wednesday or sore on Thursday. These are things we have to work through and be ready to come out and play and be ready to practice hard."

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