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Author Topic: Something is fundamentally flawed  (Read 1298 times)
Preacherman0
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« on: Dec 24, 2012 at 00:21 »

Well, let's get the "bad" out of the system before the official Christmas Eve celebration begins.

First, I don't think Tomlin will get fired, nor do I think he should. Barring some unknown, deep-seeded rift with management, he will be back. However, I do believe that they would be within their rights to ask him to make changes/improvements, as well they should. I believe that he is largely responsible for the piss-poor approach and lack of discipline this season.

Second, coaches can make improvements and re-invent themselves. Cowher did it to some degree in 2000, and did a better job in spite of his ongoing flaws.

Finally, there is something terribly wrong with this team. Their mental toughness, focus, and resolve are just not there. I think that falls on the coaches--but also on the captains, including the starting QB. No excuse for veteran team to make the kind of foul-ups that this team has this year.

So, I think we'll have Tomlin, Ben, and Haley back. No Wallace, but need to find someone to replace him. And there is a need to find some WRs who can play physical. We'll just have to see how the team reacts to such an obvious fiasco.
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 24, 2012 at 08:51 »

I'm finding it difficult to pinpoint what's wrong, since so much obviously is.  So how to fix?  I've lost faith in this team's ability to dominate.  Hell, to play solid fundamental football.  Good players are getting old and seem to be less effective, young players regress or show little, the coaching is all over the map, areas of strength are weakness.  It's a schizo team, a toothless lion.  I can't even think about it without my head hurting.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 24, 2012 at 10:21 »

Our o-line still sucks and we fumbled too much.  Ben had his worst year since the motorcycle incident.  I really thought that this year the offense would be excellent and our defense would lag.  Nope.  While they didn't do much to win games for us, the D certainly kept us within striking distance almost every week.  The O didn't come through.

I thought our receiving core would be excellent.  Nope.  They all underperformed when it counted.  Except for Heath, who gets it done every year.  Mendenhall is a bum who I'd never give the ball again in a big spot.  Send him packing.  Dwyer looked like Jerome Bettis against the Giants.  The rest of the time he looked like Frank Pollard. 

I wish they would pay me big bucks to stand on the sidelines and watch Steeler games like Willie Colon.  He probably has the highest ratio of $$$/false start in the history of the league.



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« Reply #3 on: Dec 24, 2012 at 10:34 »

Looking on the bright side: bad years happen from time to time. This team can bounce back. We had a shit-ton of injuries, and our skill players on offense turned out to be far worse than expected. We have an opportunity to draft two players in the top 50 or so picked, which should give us an opportunity we rarely have year-to-year, and there should be some money for a solid free agent pick-up or two.

My biggest concern now is Ben, though he was having a lot of success before getting hurt. After returning, he seemed to be pressing too hard, right about the time when Wallace, I believe, was checking out to preserve himself (watch him on the all-22 on NFL rewind if you have it -- you can see it) and Brown, Sanders, and even Cotchery took turns playing hurt.

Not to mention, our top four draft picks, all expected to play some kind of role this season, all suffered significant injuries, one of them mental incapacity. I think a healthy DeCastro and Spence, in particular, could have made this a different season.

Throw in the Mendenhall debacle, Troy's all-but-IR season, Woodley's speed disappearing, and Harrison's age and knee and it was somewhat amazing we got to 7 wins.

Another question to address might be our approach to conditioning, treating injuries, timing regarding bringing guys back from injuries, and depth in several areas.

We had some self-inflicted wounds, to be sure. Tomlin's gameday coaching has been abysmal in several games, as has been noted many times: attempting FGs when we should be punting, punting when we should be going for it (I thought going for it on 4th-and-4 made against Cincy made WAY more sense than attempting a 54-yard FG), challenging calls at bizarre times or for little reward, and, my god, using timeouts in the 1st and 3rd quarters over nothing.

A lot went wrong, but a lot of the problems can be fixed quickly, in my view.
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jonzr
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 27, 2012 at 13:15 »

Quote
watch him on the all-22 on NFL rewind

Whazzat?

We had some self-inflicted wounds, to be sure. Tomlin's gameday coaching has been abysmal in several games, as has been noted many times: attempting FGs when we should be punting, punting when we should be going for it (I thought going for it on 4th-and-4 made against Cincy made WAY more sense than attempting a 54-yard FG), challenging calls at bizarre times or for little reward, and, my god, using timeouts in the 1st and 3rd quarters over nothing.

Agreed on pretty much all of that.  Esp the Tomlin game-day coaching mistakes, but he should know better by now.

A lot went wrong, but a lot of the problems can be fixed quickly, in my view.

Some of the player errors are troubling though.  Very elementary things like not running oob when you're trying to kill the clock has to be understood by this level.  How can these guys make mental errors like that?  Some of them are just dumb.  Almost too dumb to live, amazing they've made it this far.

But yes, many of the issues are solvable.  And should be solved next season or changes are due imo.
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 27, 2012 at 15:56 »

Who are the core players?  Used to be an easy question back around 2008, when Hines was still clutch, Snacks was in the best shape of his career, guys like Pola and Ben had years ahead of them.

Too damned many question marks now.

Ben Roethlisberger (30), 8 yr/$102,000,000, final year:  2015.   A bad INT v. Denver in the opener, and game-killer picks v. Dallas and Cinci to  bookend the year.  Something tells me Ben wasn't quite right after the rib injury, but it was disappointing to see him and the WRs not on the same page so often.  Still, Big Franchise remains the core of the offense, and he has the potential to bounce back and be among the elite.

LaMarr Woodley (28), yr/$61,500,000, final year: 2016. Conditioning and sporadic production have seemed to dog Woodley the last couple of years.  Right now he looks overpaid and complacent, but have to hope he bounces back and keys the pass rush, with Harrison's time questionable.  Given production versus price tag, more a question mark than core player, IMO.

James Harrison (34), 6 yr/$51,750,000, final year: 2014.  James has a serious cap hit looming, and issues with his back and knees spell trouble.  Seemed to round back to form somewhat, but unless he restructures, James could be a cap casualty.  Either way, James isn’t a core to build around – and OLB will be a focus in the draft, as Worilds, Robinson, and Carter have yet to show dominance.

Lawrence Timmons (26), 6 yr/$50,000,000, final year: 2016.  Timmons had another good year, and while I don’t consider him an elite ILB, he is certainly part of the young core of players.

Antonio Brown (24), 6 yr/$43,040,000, final year: 2017.  If he only had a brain.  Showed bad judgment on offense and STs at key junctures, and isn’t anyone’s idea of a true WR1, but he should improve with coaching and is clearly a talented complementary receiver with upside in the system.  Core player.

Troy Polamalu (31), 4 yr/$36,500,000, final year:  2014.  The writing is on the wall.  Clearly, age and injuries will have the Steelers looking to bolster the SS position, even if Polamalu stays past 2014.  Cannot be counted on to be a core defensive player and in all likelihood 2014 will be the end, or close enough.

Heath Miller(3), 6 yr/$35,300,000 2014.  One of the hardest working and fundamentally sound players on the team.  Shitty way to end his season, but I’m pretty confident he will work his way back and remain a solid member of the offense despite being on the wrong side of 30.  Core player, but the FO would be wise to bolster the position with depth.

Ike Taylor (32), 4 yr/$28,000,000, final year: 2014.  There’s no denying what Ike brings to the table, even at age 32, but age and 2 years left on his contract spell it out:  Ike’s been a core player, but he’s not a core player for our future.  Hopefully the FO can retain Keenan Lewis and continue to develop Cortez Allen, but Taylor’s size and speed will be difficult to replace.

Casey Hampton (35), 3 yr/$21,300,000, final year: 2012.  Hampton could be back for a short-time deal, but he’s no longer a core player moving forward.  Steelers will need to see what McLendon can do or draft a NT of the future.  Ta’amu is on the practice squad, but I’m not sold.

Brett Keisel (34), 5 yr/$18,885,000, final year: 2013.  Diesel’s been a steady player, but it’s time for younger DL to take the reins.  He’ll likely be retained for depth this year and may sign a small extension in the future.

Maurkice Pouncey (23), 5 yr/$17,960,000, final year: 2014.  I’ve tried to temper my enthusiasm for Pouncey by noting that he plays less than the hype and has had injury issues.  That said, his play should improve as the IOL is bolstered with DeCastro and either Foster or Colon, and he’s only 23.  Definitely a core player on the line.
 
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 27, 2012 at 15:56 »

More later.
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Preacherman0
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 27, 2012 at 21:53 »

One thing in regards to the offense & receivers:  I said last year (as many of you did) that Wallace lacked toughness, and the receivers overall lacked the necessary physical stature. Even in the ticky-tack world of the NFL, having a beast at WR (see Thomas in Denver) makes a big difference in getting separation, creating matchup problems and opening up the field for our smaller, quicker pass catchers.

Wallace has great speed but few physical skills as a WR (timing, leaping ability, etc.). He obviously doesn't have the mental makeup to do things the "Steeler Way". Smells like Oakland or KC.

(Side note:  Just saw on the bottom line on ESPN that Dick LeBeau will return. Considering that this may have been his best coaching job this season considering all the injuries/deficiencies, I'm okay with that).

For the first time in Tomlin's career, he had a locker room without direction. No Hines Ward. TroyP is basically ineffective. Two headcases in Wallace and Mendenhall instead of veteran leadership. Ryan Clark and Heat transitioning into leadership roles. Pissing match between Ben and the new OC (that Tomlin apparently did not really want). And let's just say that Tomlin did a piss poor job of managing all that and keeping his head--as well as his players' heads--in the game.

He will have time to recover. He won't be and does not deserve to be fired at this point. But I do not know that the present administration will have the Patience of Rooneys Past. This team looked mentally tired and poorly prepared--both mentally and physically--from the first snap. That's absolutely unacceptable.

I do question one lineup decision. The Oline played lights out vs. Baltimore with Pouncey at guard and Legs at C. What was the reason for not sticking with that? Did Legursky get hurt and I just missed it?

Just another inexplicable decision in a rather inexplicable season.
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 28, 2012 at 11:24 »

The problem this season was the offense. If anyone should be blamed for that, it maybe should be Rooney, who it seems pretty clear called for Arians's head. So far, it looks to me like Arians is a better coach, at least for this team, than Haley.

I think we have to give Tomlin credit for one thing: our defensive backfield plays way better than it did under Cowher. The guy can clearly coach defense. The defense was prepared nearly every week, I'd say. Yes, they gave up some inexplicable drives in critical moments against crap teams (Tennessee sticks in my craw, for example), but it's hard to be perfect in this league. The Steelers displayed pretty damn good coverage despite seeing many weeks when 1/2 or 3/4 of our typical starters were out. They even played well when we were stuck with Mundy and Allen together at safety. And all this was accomplished without any kind of pass rush, really. Offensively, the team miscalculated in thinking that Redman or Dwyer would be ready to be a feature back this season. That was a dismal failure.

But in terms of defense, we lost two HOME games to DIVISION rivals in which neither opponent scored an offensive touchdown. That's fucked up. But it's Tomlin who didn't get the team ready? Is he supposed to draw up post-patterns for Wallace to run? He has room for improvement as a coach, but jeebus, look around the league. We have a gem here in my opinion, and Tomlin is not the problem.

The biggest problem on offense, I think, is that we are missing the big, physical receiver to help with two major weaknesses this year: two-minute offense, offensive touchdowns, and the red zone. Our Quarterback needs to quit improvising so damn much, we need to find a receiver and running back this offseason, and we can come back strong next year. Draft a shit-ton of pass rushing specialists, use free agency to bring in a RB and WR, and we'll be 12-4 next year.
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Preacherman0
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 29, 2012 at 09:27 »

Quote
But in terms of defense, we lost two HOME games to DIVISION rivals in which neither opponent scored an offensive touchdown. That's fucked up. But it's Tomlin who didn't get the team ready? Is he supposed to draw up post-patterns for Wallace to run? He has room for improvement as a coach, but jeebus, look around the league. We have a gem here in my opinion, and Tomlin is not the problem.

Yes, Tomlin did not get the team ready. He is the "Head Honcho" in this deal. Heavy is the head that bears the crown, because that makes you responsible for every aspect of the team. This ain't Wall Street. You don't get to duck out of the diving airplane with a big-ass Golden Parachute. You're the head man, you're responsible.

However...

The offense was clearly the issue, I agree. And Haley seemed to be "forced" on Tomlin, which means that some of this falls at the feet of the front office, IMHO.

I cannot fault the release of Arians, because I yelled and screamed for it for five seasons. And I thought that Ben needed to get a straw, suck it up, and accept what Haley was bringing. True, Ben seemed to take much less punishment and the running game picked up significantly under Haley.

But the disconnect after Ben returned was blatantly obvious. And I question why it took so long for Haley to adjust when Ben was injured. We executed an absolutely brilliant game plan in Baltimore. Why couldn't that happen in the first meeting at home? Why not against Cleveland? Why did they leave Lefty in against the Ravens when he couldn't throw the ball?

So maybe I was wrong on several levels. Maybe Haley should have reached out to Ben. Maybe the FO needs to realize that this isn't Terry Bradshaw's NFL, and you have to make nice with the Franchise rather than dictating things to him. And maybe Arians wasn't as bad as I thought he was.

Being wrong just sucks. But I believe that the Steelers are better than or equal to at least 10 of the 12 teams in the playoffs, and they're sitting at home. Would they be in with BA as OC? I don't know. But whatever Haley's issues are with Ben, big balls and bull-headed attitudes are going to have to take a back seat for this team to improve. And Tomlin is going to have to take responsibility for making that happen.

BTW, I also believe that Ben is not healthy at all right now--mentally or physically.
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