The Killer Instinct is Missing
Throughout our storied history, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had some very violent players that have bordered on crazy. From Mean Joe to Ernie Holmes to Jack Lambert to Joey Porter to Hines Ward to James Farrior to James Harrison and on and on. We've had guys that had the mindset of we're going to beat you and we're going to bring pain. We've had so many guys on the roster over the years with a nasty disposition that have not only been great football players, but have reveled in the violence of the sport. Guys that took the game to a level beyond just the sport.
As it stands today, this team seems to be missing those types of players. We have very talented guys on the roster in Ben, Troy, Timmons, Heath, etc. But I'm not sure any of those guys have that killer instinct that changes the complexion of the game. By all accounts, many of the guys are on roster are supremely talented and fierce competitors. But I can't think of a single player on the current roster that instills fear.
Thinking back to even a short few years ago, any time the Steelers played their division rivals in Baltimore, the week leading up to the game, you knew Hines was inside every defenders head. He was all they talked about. They were all worried he was gonna "cheap shot" them during the games. They were so worried about him, they had bounties on his head. No one wanted to deal with getting hit by James Harrison. That dude is one mean SOB that just might hurt you real bad during a game. He wasn't just a great player. He was a man that could hurt you and he probably would enjoy doing so.
Even guys like Hampton and Bettis wear these mammoth beasts no one wanted to deal with. It was demoralizing thinking about having to block Hampton or tackle Bettis because even if you go the best of them on a single play, it's something you were gonna feel the physical ramifications for the rest of the game and beyond. Those 2 might not have been so crazy, but you were gonna feel that you were in a battle with guys like that.
Take a look at our current roster. Which player do other teams fear? Ben's a pain to bring down, but he's not scary or gonna cause you any physical pain. Troy is fast and he's going to mentally challenge you and probably force you to make some mistakes, but he's not scary or intimidating in any way. I look up and down the current roster and there's not a guy that strikes fear into the competition. Maybe Timmons a little because he's got a freakish combo of size, speed, and acceleration in short spaces that he could deliver a blow that may bring some pain. But he's a nice, level headed guy that's just a competitor that doesn't seem like a loose cannon, so he's nothing dangerous to worry about.
We just need a couple guys that put the fear of God into other teams. Guys that keep opponents up at night. Guys that are just a little off that take away the competitive spirit of the opponent before they even step on the field. The Steelers just don't have any of these killers any more.
I think we have more character on this team under Tomlin than we've ever had. And we seem to have weeded the crazy out of the roster. I think the character of the guys on the roster might be holding us back. We need a player or two at least that make opposing teams feel a little uneasy or uncertain. Seems like that's missing from the current roster.
Killer instinct? Heck, I'd settle for a few guys who can execute a block...