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Thread: Remedies to turn Steelers around

      
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    Default Remedies to turn Steelers around

    12/14/2009
    Remedies to turn Steelers around
    By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer

    Mike Tomlin has tried the nice-guy approach. He's tried the fire-and-brimstone speeches. He's even threatened and made - at least minor - changes.

    Nothing has pulled the Pittsburgh Steelers out of their current five-game losing streak, the longest by a defending Super Bowl champion in a non-strike season.

    "He's the head coach. It's his job," said wide receiver Santonio Holmes of Tomlin's different approaches.

    "And it's our job to go out and perform the way he wants us to. If we don't go out and perform, it's almost like he's got to go out and eat those words."

    Lately, Tomlin's been eating so many words, he's likely skipped a lot of meals.

    The question is simple: [HIGH-LIGHT]How do you turn around the Steelers?[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    At 6-7, the playoffs are only a dream, a situation that didn't seem possible after a 6-2 start. With just three games remaining, there's not a lot Tomlin and the front office can do to initiate change. [HIGH-LIGHT]The final three games will be used to assess who stays and who goes after this season[/HIGH-LIGHT].

    "We still have the same makeup of the team from last year, and people are going to question what happened," said wide receiver Hines Ward. "I don't know. I really can't say. But you're going to find out these last three games who wants to quit and who wants to fight their tail off."

    The Steelers aren't dead in the AFC playoff race. If they can win their final three games, they'll have a shot at sneaking into the postseason. Given the recent slide, there's no reason to believe that will happen.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]So what has happened?[/HIGH-LIGHT] How could a team that beat San Diego, Minnesota and Denver, who have a combined record of 27-9 heading into this week, lose to Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland, three teams with a combined 9-27 record?

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Let us count the ways?[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] Bruce Arians' offensive game plan has gained plenty of yardage, but the main offensive statistic - scoring - hasn't followed suit.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] Despite being fourth in the NFL in total offense at 362.5 yards per game, the Steelers are 15th in scoring, averaging 21.4 points per game.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] And the offense has been incredibly spotty. After scoring 27 or more points in every game during a five-game winning streak, the Steelers haven't reached that level once in its five-game losing streak. The Steelers have been held under 20 points in six of their 13 games.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] Turnovers have played a part in that, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 11 interceptions. Entering the weekend, only seven quarterbacks had thrown more.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] More important, however, the performance in the red zone offense is bad. The Steelers are tied for 18th in the league in touchdown percentage inside the 20, getting into the end zone on just 50 percent of those trips.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] Add to that the NFL-record eight consecutive games in which the Steelers allowed a touchdown on a return - four on kickoffs, two on interceptions and two on fumbles - and you have a defense that has repeatedly been put in difficult situations.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] That added pressure on an aging defense has led to giving up fourth-quarter leads five times.

    The Steelers have given up 99 fourth quarter points. That's more than they've allowed in the first half.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] Injuries have been a factor. Defensive end Aaron Smith, one of the key's to the run defense, has missed the past eight games. Strong safety Troy Polamalu has been limited to five games.

    The Steelers have had injuries in the past and succeeded. Smith's primary backup, 35-year-old Travis Kirschke, has missed four games with a calf injury. Polamalu's backup, Tyrone Carter, is OK as a spot player, but the more he plays, the more his lack of playmaking ability is exposed.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] The defense has not forced turnovers. No cornerback has an interception. Polamalu leads the team with three interceptions. Only Cleveland - with six - has fewer than Pittsburgh's eight interceptions.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] The cornerbacks are allowing receivers to get behind them. The Steelers have allowed 10 passing plays of 25 yards or more, seven of which have come in their current losing streak. Opponents know that without Polamalu, there's little to fear in Pittsburgh's secondary.

    Then, there are the special teams.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]*[/HIGH-LIGHT] Tomlin released fullback Carey Davis and cornerback Anthony Madison - two of the best special teams players in 2008 - in training camp.

    Davis was re-signed by the end of September and Madison - after stops in Cleveland and Indianapolis - was brought back two weeks ago.

    But it's too late. Pittsburgh ranks 31st in kickoff return average at 25.4 yards - its highest since the 1970 NFL merger - and 23rd in punt return average allowed.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]So where do the Steelers go from here?[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Changes are coming regardless of what happens in the final three games.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]The first will probably come on the coaching staff as Arians, special teams coach Bob Ligashesky, offensive line coach Larry Zierlein and defensive backs coach Ray Horton could be replaced after the season.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    [HIGH-LIGHT]A host of veterans could also be playing their final games here. Nose tackle Casey Hampton, safeties Ryan Clark and Carter, defensive ends Nick Eason and Kirschke, running back Willie Parker, cornerback Deshea Townsend and placekicker Jeff Reed will be unrestricted free agents at end of the season. Right tackle Willie Colon, cornerback William Gay, punter Daniel Sepulveda and tight end Matt Spaeth will be restricted free agents.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Of the unrestricted free agents, a strong pitch will be made to keep Hampton, though others could be brought back after testing the market.

    Some other veterans, most notably inside linebacker James Farrior, could see reduced roles in 2010. At 34, Farrior has lost a step and though neither Lawrence Timmons nor Keyaron Fox would be considered thumpers in the middle of the defense, that duo might be paired at times next season.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]If Clark and Carter leave, acquiring a veteran safety to play next to Polamalu will be a necessity.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    [HIGH-LIGHT]The Steelers also will take long looks at rookie cornerbacks Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis now to get a better idea if either has the potential to push Gay and Ike Taylor out of the starting lineup next season or whether a cornerback needs to be drafted or signed.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    The Steelers made a big deal of having largely the same roster from 2008 back for 2009. And many of those players were key contributors during the 2005 Super Bowl run.

    But change can be good, and we'll definitely see some with the Steelers next year.

    With cornerstone players such as Roethlisberger, Polamalu, running back Rashard Mendenhall and linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley in place, the Steelers don't need to make wholesale changes.

    A subtle makeover will do.

    http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/...g-the-Steelers
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    * Bruce Arians' offensive game plan has gained plenty of yardage, but the main offensive statistic - scoring - hasn't followed suit.


    This along with the fact that Ben endorses him is the reason I believe Bruce will be back. If the hiring/firing is left to Tomlin I don't see him making this move. First, because he is ball-less. Second, he is not going to go up against the franchise quarterback. Whenever we have seen rifts develop between the head coach and quarterback the coach is usually the one on the outside looking in and Tomlin doesn't need that heat right now.

    I see special teams, defensive back and offensive line coaches being the scapecoats along with a few players sprinkled in. Arians and Lebeau will be back next year unless Lebeau retires or joins Cowher.

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by LasVegasGuy View Post
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    * Bruce Arians' offensive game plan has gained plenty of yardage, but the main offensive statistic - scoring - hasn't followed suit.


    This along with the fact that Ben endorses him is the reason I believe Bruce will be back. If the hiring/firing is left to Tomlin I don't see him making this move. First, because he is ball-less. Second, he is not going to go up against the franchise quarterback. Whenever we have seen rifts develop between the head coach and quarterback the coach is usually the one on the outside looking in and Tomlin doesn't need that heat right now.

    I see special teams, defensive back and offensive line coaches being the scapecoats along with a few players sprinkled in. Arians and Lebeau will be back next year unless Lebeau retires or joins Cowher.
    Pretty much my belief. I'd love to be wrong, don't get me wrong, but I agree with all that you wrote. Especially the part about the rift between HC and QB. You can't deny it, cancerous players can kill a coach. If anyone thinks that ben won't throw a ***** if he doesn't approve of Bruce getting ****canned, I'd love to know why. we're talking about the same guy that cried like a little girl to the media about him not liking Whisenhunt because Whisenhunt would yell. Ben doesn't like it when a coach is pushing him to be better than he is, pushing for him to shake bad habits and run successful offenses. Ben likes to be coddled and babies and wants the share of control. Arians knew this. He likely saw anything and everything between Whisenhunt and Ben and saw his best personal job security

    Also makes you wonder if Ben had any say in not Whisenhunt not getting hired? At this point, anything is possible

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Gay is a restricted free agent, eh?

    Hope he studied in college and obtained an employable degree.

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    How about an exorcism?

    'I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ***-kickers, ****-kickers and Methodists.'

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Pretty much my belief. I'd love to be wrong, don't get me wrong, but I agree with all that you wrote. Especially the part about the rift between HC and QB. You can't deny it, cancerous players can kill a coach. If anyone thinks that ben won't throw a ***** if he doesn't approve of Bruce getting ****canned, I'd love to know why. we're talking about the same guy that cried like a little girl to the media about him not liking Whisenhunt because Whisenhunt would yell. Ben doesn't like it when a coach is pushing him to be better than he is, pushing for him to shake bad habits and run successful offenses. Ben likes to be coddled and babies and wants the share of control. Arians knew this. He likely saw anything and everything between Whisenhunt and Ben and saw his best personal job security

    Also makes you wonder if Ben had any say in not Whisenhunt not getting hired? At this point, anything is possible
    Finally you're seeing the light. Ben runs the team, is spoiled rotten and will continue to run the team until he is canned by the rooney's. If it were not for batch intervening 3 years ago most of the team would not like Ben. Batch had to sit Ben down and tell him that he was 'prideful' and standoffish and the fact that he did not hang out with teammates really hurt the team. This was reported recently on a show ESPN did about Ben and his off the field antics (read lawsuit). He makes or breaks games. Remember how accurate he was through the MNF game and since then how has his throwing accuracy been? How many times does he throw short grounders on wide open screen passes or little flare passes that if he took his time and concentrated like Peyton does we'd be so much better.

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by steel0710 View Post
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    Finally you're seeing the light. Ben runs the team, is spoiled rotten and will continue to run the team until he is canned by the rooney's. If it were not for batch intervening 3 years ago most of the team would not like Ben. Batch had to sit Ben down and tell him that he was 'prideful' and standoffish and the fact that he did not hang out with teammates really hurt the team. This was reported recently on a show ESPN did about Ben and his off the field antics (read lawsuit). He makes or breaks games. Remember how accurate he was through the MNF game and since then how has his throwing accuracy been? How many times does he throw short grounders on wide open screen passes or little flare passes that if he took his time and concentrated like Peyton does we'd be so much better.
    Between Ben not needing coddled anymore... he needs a true QB coach.. not Ken Anderson.... the strangest thing... we have Peyton's QB coach as our OC

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Between Ben not needing coddled anymore... he needs a true QB coach.. not Ken Anderson.... the strangest thing... we have Peyton's QB coach as our OC
    And how much input do you really think Arians had in Peyton's development?

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by Les View Post
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    And how much input do you really think Arians had in Peyton's development?
    Peyton is a naturally talented QB. Tony Dungy's presence didn't hurt, either.
    I have to agree with you there.

    But you'd think just by sniffing the same air a P-town, Arians would be better than he is.

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by Les View Post
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    And how much input do you really think Arians had in Peyton's development?
    I was actually talking to a friend about that the other day and he reminded me that Peyton actually had a **** ton of INT's in his first year (maybe his second year as well). Was Arians his QB coach THAT year? That would explain a lot.

    As for vets potentially playing their final games with the Steelers, I hope these guys are gone -

    - Ryan Clark
    - Willie Colon
    - Matt Spaeth
    - Willie Parker

    I love Parker but what's the point of re-signing him? Even cheaply? He looks washed up and timid out there this year. He's not even being used that much at all.

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryGlanville View Post
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    I was actually talking to a friend about that the other day and he reminded me that Peyton actually had a **** ton of INT's in his first year (maybe his second year as well). Was Arians his QB coach THAT year? That would explain a lot.

    As for vets potentially playing their final games with the Steelers, I hope these guys are gone -

    - Ryan Clark
    - Willie Colon
    - Matt Spaeth
    - Willie Parker

    I love Parker but what's the point of re-signing him? Even cheaply? He looks washed up and timid out there this year. He's not even being used that much at all.
    I'd say that Colon and Spaeth both stay.

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by Les View Post
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    I'd say that Colon and Spaeth both stay.
    I hope not, Spaeth is useless is every facet of the game and Colon is average at best and is always good for at least 1 or 2 penalties a game.

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryGlanville View Post
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    I hope not, Spaeth is useless is every facet of the game and Colon is average at best and is always good for at least 1 or 2 penalties a game.
    Oh,I agree about Colon.Spaeth is a good receiver,but thats about it.I just think that both will be back(moreso Colon)to provide stability.

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    Default Re: Remedies to turn Steelers around

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryGlanville View Post
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    I was actually talking to a friend about that the other day and he reminded me that Peyton actually had a **** ton of INT's in his first year (maybe his second year as well). Was Arians his QB coach THAT year? That would explain a lot.

    As for vets potentially playing their final games with the Steelers, I hope these guys are gone -

    - Ryan Clark -would like to see him stick for a year to tutor Mundy
    - Willie Colon -I want another year out of him to prove his worth
    - Matt Spaeth -pretty much a non-factor...buh-bye
    - Willie Parker -have fun in a Redskins uniform

    I love Parker but what's the point of re-signing him? Even cheaply? He looks washed up and timid out there this year. He's not even being used that much at all.
    IMHO...

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