I just finished reading an article about the Pittsburgh Steelers and their 2012 season. Television’s “expert analysts” couldn’t have written it any worse.
I am a Pittsburgh Steeler fanatic. Our second bedroom is nearly a shrine. Thirteen years ago my wife purchased the entire satellite television package for me so I could get the “NFL Sunday Ticket”, and never miss a game. She was tired of me complaining that here in Reno I seldom got to see their games. All that was broadcast locally were games played by the Raiders and the Forty Winers. She usually works on Sundays, and when the Steelers lose, she hates to come home.
The 2012 season was a debacle. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley had promised a new offense that would include more screen plays to protect Ben Roethlisberger and take advantage of the youth and speed of the team. With three young and very fast wide receivers, and a bevy of big, talented running backs, the offense was going to be lethal. It didn’t happen.
The offensive line was offensive. Penalties, missed assignments, and the inability to consistently block for the running game allowed defenses to nullify the team’s offensive talent. The three potentially great wide receivers forgot that their job was to catch the football. First string running back Rashard Mendenhall became more of a problem than an asset. “Big Ben” was sometimes great, but more often appeared confused.
Dick Lebeau’s defense was once again ranked number one. That didn’t mean much because they were at the lower rankings in both sacks and takeaways. On third down plays they allowed opponents to complete far too many passes of fifteen yards or more.
Sure, there were lots of injuries, especially to key players. Polamalu missed nine games. Woodley missed all or part of seven games. The offensive line was so banged up that Maurkice Pouncey, their all-pro center was forced to play guard for a game. Ben missed three games, but they only lost two of them.
The worst of 2012 was that they played down to their opponent’s ability. Losses to some of the worst in football such as the Raiders, Titans, Browns, Chargers, and Cowboys, (yes they are a bad team), were unforgivable.
So, who’s to blame for a season that ranks among the worst I have ever witnessed? It’s obvious to real fans like myself. The team lacked discipline and imagination. The coaching staff did not have their players ready to play every game.
I believe that Mike Tomlin is an excellent coach. But he is far too ‘easy’ on both his coaches and players. He needs to expect from them what we fans expect, 100% effort 100% of the time. No excuses. Todd Haley showed me nothing new, exciting, or effective with the offense. It appears that he and Ben have an “unsettled” relationship. As far as Dick Lebeau is concerned, I believe it’s time for retirement. He has probably the top one or two defensive coordinators in the history of the game, but his creativity in crucial situations is lacking. It’s okay to retire, Dick, I was forced to, and it’s not too bad.
Last Sunday’s game, at home, against the Bengals summed up the entire season. The Steelers’ defense allowed six points. Cincinnati ended up with 13, thanks to “Big Ben’s” inability to see the defense near his own end zone. The “new and exciting” offense scored ten points in four quarters. In a ‘win or stay home for the playoffs’ game, the defense allowed a long pass with seconds left, giving the game to the Bengals. A 43 yard field goal ended their 2012 season.
Coaches Knoll and Cowher must have been shaking their heads all season long. Please, coach Tomlin, no more mister nice guy. The Steelers must return to being a team that is feared by everyone else. They have to stop losing home games, that’s not their style. I know how much talent is available to you, all they have to do is give maximum effort on every play. That’s why they make the “big bucks”.
News Correspondent-The Guardian Express