Despite playing last Thursday, the Pittsburgh Steelers were still a popular subject on NFL pregame shows yesterday. That tends to happen when you go from defending Super Bowl Champions looking strong in defense of their title to a lazy unmotivated team that’s lost five straight games in humiliating fashion. The rumor mill seems to be spinning although take this stuff with a grain of salt because it changes every week. Two months ago, Eric Mangini in Cleveland and Todd Haley in Kansas City were “on the hot seat” while today nobody ever talks about them being fired. Actually, now we know why the Steelers are one of President Obama‘s favorite teams.
They keep the unemployment rate down by saving coaches their jobs.
Anyway, I’d be inclined to ignore most of the rumors but this Adam Schefter dude seems to have good sources within the Steelers organization. He was the guy who first broke the story about Charlie Batch breaking his wrist and Dennis Dixon likely having to start against the Ravens. Our local putz media weren’t even aware of these facts until a day and a half after he reported them. So it does appear he has a mole within the team which would make his information somewhat reliable.
Some of it falls in the “Duh!” category. Special Teams coach Bob Ligashesky will probably be fired? REALLY? What a scoop! I never would’ve expected somebody who oversaw a unit which give up more kickoff return TDs than any team in history would get canned! Astounding!
And of course the offensive coaches are in trouble. Anybody with half a brain can see the offense has been our biggest liability this year. I know, I know, our defense has let us down in key situations. But, honestly, they’re fourth in overall defense, second in rushing defense, and third in sacks. The defense is only allowing 18 points per game which is not atrocious considering they’re thirteenth against the pass and near the bottom in turnovers. If anything, Dick LeBeau is making chicken salad out of chicken shit since he’s doing all this without two of his best defense players plus vastly inferior replacements for Bryant McFadden and Larry Foote. And let’s remember, all of our losses have been by seven points or less which can just as easily be blamed on a kick return TD or a Pick Six.
No, what’s happened this year is the defense went from all-time great to just good (except the last two weeks, where they’ve given up). The offense has failed to pick up the slack. We’re counting on the defense to stop the other team AND keep them from scoring AND get turnovers AND cover for any offensive mistakes. It’s not fair to expect them to do everything. The offense has to pull their own weight and we’ve seen time and time again that they can’t.
Those failures fall directly on the coaches. The prime suspect is, of course, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The man has absolutely no clue on how to call a game. Watch any decent team and you see they have a plan on offense. Usually it’s to identify a weakness in their opponent and then exploit it. Not Arians. If it appears they can’t stop a run to the right, rest assured he’ll call three runs to the left. If it appears they can’t stop a screen pass to the RB, rest assured he’ll dial up a 45 yard bomb down the sideline. Nothing he does makes any sense. And his obsession with turning Ben Roethlisberger into the second coming of Peyton Manning is absolutely ridiculous considering one is the greatest pocket passer of his generation and the other is a game manager.
What Pittsburgh native Mike Ditka says at the end of the clip hits the nail right on the head. It’s all about identity. You have to know what you are and embrace it. When you try to be something else, it all falls apart. For fourteen weeks, the Steelers offense has tried pretending they’re the Patriots or Colts and we see where that has gotten them. Hopefully, the team will know enough to pack up the Flying Circus and bring back Stiller Football before another season is flushed down the drain.