Many in Steeler Nation have questioned exactly what is wrong with the 2009 Steelers. They are basically the same team as last year’s Super Bowl team, although injuries to Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith have had a tremendous impact on their defense, both run and pass.
These injuries would explain some of the degradation in the defense, but not to the degree that we’ve seen.
The offense hasn’t had such injuries. The problems there seem to be very poor play calling and untimely mental mistakes.
On special teams, the kickoff, and to a lesser degree punt, coverage teams have been horrible, to say the least.
So, this brief and painfully obvious recap of the Steelers season has led to a (somewhat) general consensus on this site that the biggest issue with the Steelers has been coaching.
Bruce Arians has been under fire all year. More recently Mike Tomlin and even that crafty, old genius Dick LeBeau are starting to come under question.
But again, only on this site and other fan websites have these words been uttered.
I have not seen one article from a “mainstream” publication that has been remotely critical of the Steelers' coaching staff. The television broadcasters won’t say it either.
ESPN , Fox Sports , the Sporting News —I haven’t heard or read one critical report.
Neither the Post Gazette, nor the Tribune will even remotely utter criticism about the coaching staff.
I do not live in Pittsburgh (I’m a West Coast Steelers fan). So, I don’t know what’s being said on the local talk shows.
The question is why?
It’s understandable that the NFL employed broadcasters wouldn’t say anything. But you’d expect the papers to be unbiased.
I think it’s this lack of accountability that has given Tomlin (and the rest of the staff) the free pass to basically blow the whole season before making a move.
Congratulations to Tomlin for finally making a tough decision. It’s only his second of the whole year (the first was the minor tweaks he made to the ST before the Baltimore game, which helped for one week) and it’s one that is primarily based on injuries.
Tomlin has said that we’re going to see changes, which could include:
-Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis in for Ike Taylor and William Gay (injured)
-Ryan Mundy in for Tyrone Carter
-Keyaron Fox in for Lawrence Timmons on rushing downs
-Ziggy Hood in for Nick Eason
-Mike Wallace in for Hines Ward (injured)
-Ramon Foster in for someone (I’m thinking Trai Essex)
These are all moves that could have, and in some cases should have, been made much earlier in the season (except for Ward). The biggest one, in my opinion, is Fox for Timmons.
Timmons does not seem suited for inside linebacker—a much better fit would be on the outside. He has done a very poor job against the run. Fox has been solid when he’s been in.
The other big one is William Gay. He’s been bad for a while and should have been replaced earlier in the season.
Ike Taylor has always been schizophrenic—great one week, horrible the next.
The real question is will Tomlin really make this many changes. My guess is no. NFL coaches tend to be very conservative about their roster (unlike the casual fan, who wants to make changes in the lineup week to week).
I, for one, have lost confidence in Tomlin and the entire staff (even LeBeau). Let’s see if the coaches can do a few things right with the remainder of the season to change my mind. That is, win the rest of the games, get lucky and make the playoffs, then make a decent showing in the playoffs.
The talent on this team is still good enough to win the Super Bowl, but the coaching staff is holding it back. As always, I’m hoping to be proven wrong.