Pittsburgh Steelers: What You Need to Know Heading into Week 2
The biggest takeaway from Sunday's game are the injuries. Losing four starters on the opening weekend might be more than this team can recover from.
ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed the worst, via Twitter.
Steelers have placed LB Larry Foote, C Maurkice Pouncey and RB LaRod Stephens-Howling on the team’s Reserve/Injured List.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2013
There aren't many teams that can recover from a string of injuries like this. It will certainly be an uphill challenge going forward. It's unclear what the status of Heath Miller, Le'Veon Bell, and Cortez Allen will be for this week.
The Steelers did make some moves Monday, bringing back running back Jonathan Dwyer, as well as signing kicker Shayne Graham and center Fernando Velasco. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly confirmed the reports, via Twitter.
Steelers sign K Shayne Graham, RB Jonathan Dwyer and C Fernando Velasco. Expect Velasco to start on Monday night— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) September 9, 2013
At this point, there is nothing gained or lost with the defeat to the Titans. All four teams in the AFC North came out flat and so the season starts all over again this weekend.
This weekend, the Steelers travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals under the prime-time lights of Monday Night Football. It's a perfect chance to put what was a horrible opening weekend behind them.
In related AFC North news, the Cleveland Browns are headed to Baltimore for a divisional game against the Ravens.
This all means that by the end of the weekend, two teams will be at the top, and the other two will be down one game within the division. You hate to use the term must win this early, but this game is vital.
What Must Improve
Obviously, there are plenty of areas where the Steelers need to show improvement. Here are some of the biggest spots for work this week.
- Wide receivers must work harder to get open. Ben Roethlisberger took too many hits because he was unable to find an open receiver. There is too much speed on this team for that to happen again this week.
- The offensive line has to get physical. Against the Titans, the Steelers' line got pushed around. A repeat performance against the Bengals defensive line could mean disaster. It is going to take a supreme physical effort to keep this offense moving.
- The defense has got to get aggressive. The Titans' offensive plan of attack forced the Steelers defense to become passive. This week, you can bet the Bengals will attack the cornerbacks, so the front-seven has to be able to get quick pressure.
- A running back must emerge. Don't be shocked if newly re-signed running back Jonathan Dwyer is starting Monday night. Isaac Redman inspired no confidence whatsoever, and Felix Jones is still something of an unknown.
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