Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Steelers 911

Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers were 0-2. This doesn't happen a lot here in Pittsburgh.  The player leadership of the team didn't have much of an idea of what to do in response.
Now they're 0-3.

So I guess maybe the team's troubles aren't related to rookies playing 8-ballThat's weird and surprising! The correlation between snooker and crappy football play is well-documented in precisely nowhere.  Perhaps the relationship is too subtle to be detected by modern science. We need better footballoscopes.

Maybe the vets will double down. Maybe next, guys with three years or fewer won't be able to play Battleship, cribbage, or Vampire: the Masquerade.  (Meanwhile Roethlisberger's standing on the trainer's table shouting, "I call a Blood Hunt upon thee, outcast Kindred Ryan Clark!")

Guys, you are a team. The standings don't say "Pittsburgh Steelers New Dudes: 0-3."  You want to refocus the team, refocus the team. Don't pretend that the problem is that the new guys are distracted while the wily vets are pure professionals.

There are some specific, concrete problems that can be addressed.
* Ben Roethlisberger is personally responsible for 7 of the Steelers' 10 turnovers (4 picks, 3 lost fumbles).  He should, uhh, hold onto the ball.
* The offensive line is atrocious. The Steelers' O-line hasn't been great since Russ Grimm left, but the current line gives swiss cheese a bad name. As of this writing, Football Outsiders' advanced stats rank the Steelers' offensive line 30th. I don't know enough about the trenches to know whether this is schematic problems or personnel problems, but with a rank that bad it's almost certainly both.
* Related, the coaches must stop substituting guys in and out of the offensive line from play to play. The linemen must learn to play together, and that requires actually playing together.

The team's not the Titanic. Most observers thought this was going to be a rough year for the Steelers. It's OK to have those once in a while, so long as the team uses this opportunity to get what they can out of the personnel they have, and learn.

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