For the first 2 quarters of the 2014 football season the Steelers looked great. For the last six, however, they have looked far less than that. If they want to return to the form they held during the first 2 quarters of the season, they need some significant improvement in certain areas. Here are three areas that need improvement the most.
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Yeah, the run blocking hasn’t been good. But it hasn’t even come close to the awfulness of the pass blocking. All around they have disappointing. No one has been great, but Marcus Gilbert has been by far the worst. He hasn’t been anywhere near what anyone, even the biggest of pessimists, had expected when the Steelers signed Gilbert to an extension. If Gilbert and the rest of the offensive can’t step up their play then Ben Roethlisberger is almost guaranteed to not make it through the season healthy. If he does make it through the season healthy, they still won’t be in the playoffs if the offensive line doesn’t step up their play fast.
This is one area that the Steelers were expected to be less than stellar at entering the season. They haven’t done anything to prove that assumption wrong yet. Ike Taylor is still awful and Cortez Allen hasn’t shown any reason to think that he should be considered a starter on anything less than the worst secondary group. The safeties haven’t been much help, either. Yes, Troy Polamalu is still going strong at his advanced age, but he can’t make a secondary. He isn’t playing that good anymore. I’m also not surprised that Mike Mitchell has been anything but good this year. I said it before the season started and I’ll say it again now, the Carolina front seven did a lot to make Mitchell look better than he is. The Steelers front seven won’t do that.
This has been by far the most disappointing part of the team this year. Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier, the tandem who was supposed to tear it up at inside linebacker, haven’t been as advertised. The defensive line and outside linebackers haven’t been anywhere close to perfect either. The secondary has had to clean up a lot of the mistakes that the front seven has made with their sloppy tackling. They haven’t been great with their tackling either. No matter how good you play with the other aspects of defense, if you can’t tackle you won’t be able to stop anyone. The only problem is, the Steelers haven’t been that good in any other areas either.
If the Steelers don’t improve in these three areas, at least, we could be in for a long season.