Let's talk about the current season
This decline has been steadily happening for a while, but suddenly there was hope. Despite the rebuild not going as planned for me (I was never a fan of building around the running game and the ceiling of Kenny Pickett), everything actually looked like it was going well this offseason. Free agency saw some core names be added, a strong draft class filled out the roster, and this team looked smooth during the preseason.
Then the regular season began, and things went right back to how they have been. The offense was and continues to be horrible, and the defense has been below the bar. Even in wins against Cleveland and Las Vegas, this team still looks incompetent at times. Getting blown out by a talented 49ers team was hard, but having the same happen against the Texans is inexcusable.
While overreacting and making brash choices isn’t the best response, Tomlin has had these same issues on this team for a while now. He just doesn’t have the talent to overcome them. This team commits itself to a half of football in a conservative scheme and will only adjust it slightly if they are getting decimated at halftime. There are little to no in-game adjustments, as this team remains focused on doing just enough to scrape by.
This is equally true week to week. Despite an offense that hasn’t worked outside of arguably the Raiders game, this scheme remains constant. Part of that is on Canada, but the head coach is also in charge of setting the tone. The same can be said for the defense, as the secondary has been tough each week and the run defense is pitiful. The same players and the same concepts are the response.
Even in a week of “big changes” the only thing that has changed, according to Tomlin, is that this team is going to practice harder. That is a slap in the face for a team that has, to this point looked and played like one of the worst in the league.
I don’t anticipate a change either. This team will continue on at the lowly pace that they are accustomed to. The sky won’t fall, and this team will rebound at times. Heck, I almost expect them to do just that against the Ravens. That said, they will continue to fall short of the elite tier in the NFL and will flounder in the mid-tier of professional football.
Great coaches elevate their teams and adjust to the time. A bad season here and a bad season there are allowed due to their continued success. The Steelers don’t have that, and while they lack the bad seasons of other teams, they also lack the success. This is the Tomlin problem at its core, and I’m starting to get tired of it.