Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
"It might be too late to salvage Gregg Rosenthal’s MVP prediction [for Ben Roethlisberger], but a playoff spot isn’t out of the question.–Chris Wesseling NFL.com (on the Pittsburgh Steelers)"
“Wow.” Just wow. That’s really all I could say after I read Chris Wesseling’s attempt to polish the turd known as the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Of course, after I read the article, I immediately watched this gem of a video for a good chuckle about the floundering Steelers and Wesseling’s notion that they could actually qualify for postseason play:
In all seriousness though, I cannot fault Wesseling’s for trying to shine some positive light on Pittsburgh’s sorry football team. In fact, Wesseling is correct that the Steelers are only two and a half games back in their division and the returns of Le’Veon Bell and Heath Miller will help the offense.
Yet competent skill-players mean very little if the offensive line cannot adequately protect the signal-caller on a consistent basis. With 15 sacks already surrendered, Ben Roethlisberger is on pace to be dropped 60 times this year! Of course, that number doesn’t include how many times he will inevitably hit the deck after he throws the ball.
In addition, Wesseling also forgot to mention that Pittsburgh’s defense has been absolutely curb-stomped during the 2013 campaign’s first four weeks by the likes of Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler, and Matt Cassel.
Overall, the Steelers’ defense has proved that they are unable to stop opposing ground attacks as they currently rank 29th overall in rushing yards allowed. Oh, and did I mention that they have surrendered the most rushing touchdowns (six) and displayed an inability to tackle on a consistent basis as well?
The pass-defense is a mess since the pocket collapse from their front seven has been scant and most members of the defense are either slowly calcifying or are youngsters who are still learning the defensive scheme. The Steelers are tied for last in the league with only four sacks, rank 24th in points per game allowed (27.5), and have most importantly failed to force a single takeaway during 16 quarters of play!
Opposing offenses have been content to pick apart Dick LeBeau’s defensive scheme by gashing the Steelers with short passes and runs for four-to-seven yards on first downs on a consistent basis. The defense has looked hapless to stop their opposition, and many like Tony Dungy believe that the unit’s “lack of playmakers” make their problems entirely too large to fix.
The Steelers will need to go 8-4 over their remaining 12 games to finish the season with a .500 record. No amount of Mike Tomlin sound-bytes and garbage rhetoric can save this team.
In fact, I see no chance in hell of Pittsburgh finishing 8-8 when I look at their upcoming opponents.
With a schedule that still includes the Bengals once, the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens twice, the improved Browns twice, as well as matchups versus the high-powered offenses of the Packers, Patriots, and Lions, the Steelers will be lucky to come out with a 3-5 mark against those foes unless a rash of injuries strike each and every one of them.
In addition, upcoming games versus the Jets, Bills, Dolphins, and Raiders will not necessarily be “walks in the park” either for the struggling Steelers.
So I must say that I am sorry, Mr. Wesseling. I am not drinking the “postseason Kool-Aid” when it comes to the Steelers. And neither are most people who have watched this team as well.
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