Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
"We’re going to keep working. We’re not going to change nothing, … Eventually, things will start to go our way. We’ve got to keep chipping away. Nothing is easy in the NFL, so we’ve got to keep chipping away.-Le’Veon Bell (via Pro Football Talk via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)"
Pittsburgh’s rookie running back probably feels the exact same way as most of his teammates do at the moment. An 0-4 record is a tough pill to swallow for any NFL franchise, particularly one that has enjoyed as much success during the 2000’s as the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Waiting for things to happen to you and good fortune to “go your way” might be nice if I was writing a fairy tale, but it is a recipe for disaster in the NFL. Now I am not saying that the Steelers need to make incredibly drastic changes during the bye week.
Yet how are the Steelers supposed to “chip away” at their problems if they are unwilling to “change” or be accountable for their mistakes and chalk their issues up to waiting for their bad luck to end? Just consider the following, readers:
- The offensive line is not going to begin to “magically” gel if Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert do not improve. And no, the recent acquisition of Levi Brown is not an “upgrade” either.
- With the offensive line in mind, Ben Roethlisberger will not stop running for his life on a weekly basis if those two are protecting the edges.
- Games will get out of hand unless the Steelers capitalize on their chances in the red zone with better play-calling and execution.
- The defense is not going to be in “prime” turnover situations if quarterbacks know that six easy yards can be gained against Dick LeBeau’s soft zone, or four yards can be gained per carry with the run.
- Opposing offenses will not stop running the ball against the 29th ranked rushing defense.
- Opposing quarterbacks do not fear the defense that is tied for last in the league in sacks.
- Ryan Clark and the rest of the defense are not going to stop anybody if they continue to take poor angles and miss tackles.
- Mike Tomlin will never shed the label of “winning with Bill Cowher’s players” until he can steer the Steelers out of their 2-9 slump.
Although these problems are not “quick fixes” by any means, to not address them or at least attempt to address them in the very near future could be disastrous for this franchise. Simply “chipping away” and waiting for positive things to happen while not changing anything from personnel and preparation perspectives does this team no good.
While I like the attitude expressed by Bell and other members of the franchise, their rhetoric about improving will mean nothing unless at least some changes are made. In a warped way, the Steelers are actually in an advantageous position at 0-4.
With the “status quo” not working, the franchise has the next 12 games to make improvements and change things for the better now. Without the postseason on the horizon, the coaching staff and front office have the latitude to try new and different things to upgrade their currently downtrodden team.
Of course, the coaching staff, front office, and players alike actually have to “buy into” future changes. Otherwise, we will continue to stare at the same downward spiral we have watched over the last two seasons.
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