This just isn't a very good football team. And it starts from the top. The decision to bring in Haley as the coordinator, and ask Ben to fit what he does into Haley's system, was a huge mistake. I said it when Haley was hired...his lack of never playing any football at any level was going to be what it is. A major disconnect with the players he is coaching. The management of the Steelers made a huge mistake asking their franchise QB to change his style and fit what Haley runs. It was suppose to keep Ben healthy. To protect him. To get rid of the ball quicker. Well it hasn't worked. Ben is being hit just as much as he ever has. Then to think that this team could run the football behind a line that isn’t built to run the football is another mistake this management has made. Look at the line. They have 4 guys who are generally smaller than the guys they are trying to block. David DeCastro is getting abused. The only O-lineman with some size, is Foster. Adams, Gilbert, DeCastro, and even Pouncey are all built to pass block more so than run block. And they don’t even do that well.
Then to put all your marbles into a 2nd round RB (Bell), as if he is going to save your team is ridiculous.
This team has two play makers on the entire team. Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger. To get rid of Ben’s only playmaker ( Mike Wallace), was a mistake regardless of what Steeler fans thought of him. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are decent receivers at best. Neither one of them are play makers. Neither one of them can find the end zone. And to continue to try and stretch the field with these two, when neither of them can get separation, is ridiculous. Why do they insist on throwing the deep pass to Antonio Brown? He cannot get the needed separation for that. Makes no sense.
Who’s idea was it for Cameron Heyward to lose weight? We get on players all the time for them showing up out of shape, why does Cameron Heyward get a break? He is not suppose to be a pass rusher. He is suppose to be a run stuffer/gap plugger. Now at his current weight, he isnt going to stuff anything. But it isn’t his fault. It is managements fault because their defensive coordinator has gotten so far away from the 3-4 zone blitz. LeBeau was quoted as saying he wanted more of a pass rush from his D-line this year. Why? That goes completely away from the whole 3-4 zone blitz scheme. He now wants a pass rush from the front 3 and his OLB drop into coverage more than they go after the QB. Look at last night’s game. Hardly any pass rush what so ever on Andy Dalton. And they couldn’t stop the run either. LeBeau, as great as he’s been, as fallen in love with trying to be creative and as a result he has gotten away from what his 3-4 zone blitz is suppose to be. It is sad. This isn’t working the way he is running this defense. He is now allowing opposing teams to dictate what he runs. Can you imagine Aaron Smith showing up to camp 15-20lbs lighter, and being ask to go get the QB? Makes no sense. Standing up Heyward or Keisel and even having them stand up outside of the tackles is mind boggling. Once in a while as a wrinkle is one thing but to change the scope of your 3-4 defense is ridiculous. Plain and simple, LeBeau is allowing teams ( and the league), to dictate what he does on defense. He is no longer running a 3-4 zone blitz at it's core.
This team has gone as far as it can under Mike Tomlin. Not being a good football team is one thing but to also lose its toughness is hard to swallow. This would have never happened under Bill Cohwer. The Steelers need to get him back as their head coach. He will regain the identity of this franchise. Whenever his teams were bad, he guaranteed in his press conference’s that he would get it right. And every time he did.
If this team is headed for a re-building ( and I see no way they aren’t), then trading Ben in the offseason is something that has to be considered. A Herschel Walker type trade. Getting the first, second, and maybe the third round picks along with Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals would be a huge step in re-building. A.J. McCarron is a winner. And he is the perfect QB to have in a run first/power attack offense. As important as an offense is, if the Pittsburgh Steelers do not have a dominating defense, then they are not the Pittsburgh Steelers. A shut down defense and a power running game will always work for this franchise. Regardless of what the rest of the league is doing.
Wanna know just how bad this team is right now? Wait until they actually play an upper-echelon team. Tennessee and Cincinnati are not.