These are my disjointed thoughts about these hard times in Steeler Nation.
Beating the browns in the closing moments of the game last week should have told us something is desperately wrong. But the spanking that the Ravens gave them this week confirms it. Something is wrong.
Where’s the Blocking?
In my estimation, the biggest problem with the Steelers on the field is the offensive blocking scheme. Maybe it’s the linemen. Maybe it’s the coordination. Maybe it’s the play-designs. The coaching. In any case, it’s not working. Nine sacks. Wow. Gerry Dulac grades the Steelers each week in several areas. This week he gave Ben a “D”. Come on, Gerry — did you see the game? Ben was running for his life all day. Last evening at church, a hunter was saying how poorly Ben performed and I said, “Tomorrow, on the first day of buck season, when that 8-point walks out in front of you, don’t just stand still and shoot at it. Start running laterally and shoot as you are running. Then let me know how well you do.” Ben’s performance yesterday is pretty much ungradable. You can’t grade someone to whom you gave no legitimate test. And the thought that Batch would have done better, based on his one play, is just silly.
Where’s the Leadership?
It seems that there is no offensive leadership on the team. While Hines may fill that position by his tenure, his personality is not really of the nature that Jerome’s was. And while Ben may be a leader, it’s hard to lead while you’re lying on your back most of the day. It’s unimaginable that Willie or Najeh are leaders. By the way, did those running backs have terrible days, or what?. While one might excuse their performance by saying they were asked to run through the non-existent holes, there is no excuse for their failure to stop a couple blitzers.
Where’s the Gadgets?
Last year we saw lots of gadget plays, but this year — where are they? I know, I know — you don’t do gadget plays unless you are doing well in other areas of the game. But when you are doing so pathetic, why not run a couple just to give the fans something to talk about beyond your poor performance. While we don’t have Randel El to throw it, we’ve had others throw it in the past. I think I remember Bettis throwing a ball that soared like a crippled chicken into the endzone. And I also recall that Hines was a QB in a former life. Why not try something like that just to make their defense spread out a little and take some pressure off Ben?
Where’s the Defense?
On the field all day long. Toward the end of the game I heard an announcer say, “These Steeler defenders look tired.” No wonder — they were on the field about ten minutes longer than their counterparts. Where was the defense? On the field all day long.
Where’s the Jaw?
Cowher called it a “pitiful performance”. Indeed it was. The question in my mind is this: Where’s that Cowher jaw? You used to see it on every-other play. Now, you see it once in a blue-moon. Has he lost his passion for performance? The media wants to say that he left his heart in North Carolina. I don’t know that I believe that, but I do think his heart is not in the game as it was years ago. When was the last time you saw him hunkered down in front of a player who was sitting on the bench, coaching him? That picture of him doing that with Greg Lloyd and others was timeless. But it’s not been his style this year. Not at all.
These are hard times for Steeler Nation.