Football Nation’s Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider is Extraordinary INSIDE INFORMATION for Betting on Pro Football. CHFF quality stats, Pre and post-game reports and ATS picks for every NFL game week 1 to Super Bowl. If you want to win each week, Click here to check out Insider now.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are easily one of the greatest sports franchises in the world, and with six Super Bowl rings they’ve proven to be the most winning NFL franchise. But with this season’s 0-2 start, things look as dismal as they’ve been in years. This team is looking worst than the Bubby Brister years, but even those teams did reasonably well. This year’s Steelers team is entirely, unequivocally, offensively inept. Seventy five percent of the team’s problems lie in their inability on offense. That has a lot to do with the offensive line being that everything starts up front, yet their skill position players have really struggled and that's our focus today.
The Steelers organization has always been known for being very physical and having a ferocious defense. Their physical play has lent itself to the Steelers always having a very formidable run game. Ever since Franco Harris and Rocky Bleir ran through the league in the 1970s, very solid to great backs have followed. These are names like Walter Abercrombie, Barry Foster, Merril Hoge, Willie Parker, Jerome Bettis and Rashard Mendenhall amongst others. The Steelers have had a factory line of backs but with the departure of Mendenhall to Arizona, there seems to be no one to carry the load. Granted, second round pick Le'veon Bell is hurt, but it’s sickening to watch Isaac Redman, Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer be nonexistent in the run game. Someone has to step up. Granted the offensive line can be better but right now my focus is on backs not making anyone miss, not breaking tackles, not making plays.
As teams have focused on stopping the Steelers traditionally exceptional running attack through the years, that has set up a ton of big plays through the air with Swann/Stallworth, Louis Lipps- one of my favorites, Yancy Thigpen, Hines Ward, Plaxico Buress, Santonio Holmes and Mike Wallace amongst others. Wallace jettisoned to South Beach for a blockbuster contract this year, and it seems the Steelers big plays went with him. The Steelers receivers simply aren’t making enough plays. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t ‘New England Patriots receivers versus Jets last Thursday night’ bad, the Steelers receiving corp just has to be better and play to their ability. They also must be utilized better by Coach Tolin and coordinator Todd Haley. This is a receiver group that’s small and very quick. Therefore use them on slant patterns, in routes, crossing routes where you play to the strength of the receivers which is their quickness and explosive bursts. From there then they need Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery and more to make plays. This should be a top ten to twelve group in the league. None of them have proven to be great but they all are talented players led by Brown who is a good receiver but must play better.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the legendary franchises in sports but could be en route to a very humbling 2013 season. The offense is worse than it’s been in years and in need of players stepping up. Other than the great Troy Polamalu, the defense needs someone to step up and make plays and create turnovers as well. But that’s a whole other column. For now Coach Tomlin has his hands full to try and continue the great Steelers winning tradition.