After a 3-2 start that includes terrible losses to the Bears and the Jaguars; it’s apparent the Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of problems and few solutions.
As the team prepares for their upcoming game in Kansas City on Sunday, Mike Tomlin better look around and figure out the solutions. Then again, he’s one of the problems, so I’m going to provide the solutions for him.
The coaching has been awful. Tomlin’s clock management, use of challenges and most of all inability to motivate the team for games they should win has been horrific. Couple that with Todd Haley calling bad games, including throwing 55 times vs. a team who’s great against the pass and running Le’Veon Bell 15 times against that same team who was dead last against the run and Keith Butler not prepping his team for the obvious; such as preparing for teams with bad quarterbacks by stacking the box and forcing them to throw the ball (see the Chicago and Jacksonville Games).
Solution: Tomlin should hold his teams accountable for poor play and not allow them to assume they are going to win anything. He needs a clock coach and a challenge coach because he can’t handle those duties. Haley must scale back his desire to throw and study the opponent and Butler must realize he doesn’t have the Steel Curtain and set his defense based on the players he has, not the players he wishes he has.
Ben Roethlisberger has been an average Quarterback until the Jags game, in which he was horrific. His confidence appears shot, his throws are off and his timing with his receivers is not there. He needs to do a couple of things; look in the mirror and remember who he is and what he’s done, practice extra with his receivers and tight ends (yes, they exist Ben) and remember that Antonio Brown is not his only option.
Brown needs to remember he’s not the only player on the team. If he gets his catches, he doesn’t care if the team loses. He needs to become a team leader, like Hines Ward used to be and begin to mentor Martavis Bryant and JuJu-Smith Schuster.
The offensive line needs to stay on their blocks, open holes for the running game and give Ben time to throw. They have done none of that very well this year.
Le’Veon Bell needs to find a better way to run, his patient attack may have finally been figured out. He may need to try to burst through the holes immediately.
Surprisingly, the defense has been the best of the bunch but they aren’t without their issues. They give up the run way too easily, the secondary is still not trustworthy and they aren’t making too many impact plays thus far.
The linebacking rotation needs to change. For starters, James Harrison needs to dress, let alone play. He can make an impact out there vs. the run, vs. the pass and make the splash plays needed. Bud Dupree should be benched in favor of Harrison.
The defense needs to tame the rush as well, it’s costing them too many big plays right now. Drop back, stop the run, defend the pass and go for turnovers that way vs. sacks that are relatively elusive lately.
These are just the most glaring of many issues the team has and they better hope to improve upon at least some of these when they face the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday, if they don’t, they will be staring 3-3 right in the face.