To Mike Tomlin, Bruce Arians, and Dick LeBeau...
Please take the advice of a longtime, die-hard, Pittsburgh Steeler fan.
You have been playing the past several weeks "not to lose" instead of with the mentality to go out there and take it!
With some luck and a great bunch of players, that is enough to win occasionally, but it will not take the team the entire way.
Tomlin, you really need to take charge and tell Bruce and Dick that the past is the past, and we need to play each and every game, and each and every play from here on out, as if our playoff lives depended on it.
Tell Bruce Arians to stop being so very predictable and to use some imagination in keeping defenses more off-guard and honest. Tell him to use the run to set up more play-action passes and screens.
Roethlisberger has always been successful with the no-huddle offense, yet how often is it used? It may be just the thing we need to offset our offensive line injuries.
Tell him to start designing plays that work with the players' strengths in mind, and not try to change the player to fit his style of play.
But most importantly, tell him to start playing to win. Quit playing "not to lose", as is so very obvious.
Swallow your pride and learn from other teams and coaches.
Another thing that can be learned from the Atlanta game is how their offensive coordinator actually went for the win at the end, and was not afraid to pass the ball, instead of simply settling for a few more yards by way of the run, which could have ended up being a missed field goal. The very same thing that happened to us at the end of the Cincinnati game which allowed them back into it, and gave them an opportunity to win it.
That is the very reason we lost to Baltimore, after leading the entire game. We needed a single first down! But all we saw was a run, a run, and yet another run, in a failed attempt to get the first... followed by the game winning drive by the Ravens after we gave them the ball back.
Bruce Arians has been playing "not to lose", instead of playing all out every play in an attempt to put games away.
That needs to change if the Steelers are to make a run for their seventh Lombardi. And I am afraid that very mentality has been rubbing off on the entire team, including our defense.
So, you need to also have a meeting with Dick LeBeau, and tell him he really needs to consider stepping up the pressure on opposing QBs by way of more blitzing. As Steeler fans have become so very accustomed to, but unfortunately have failed to see much this season.
It would not only help our defensive backs in covering, it is that attacking mentality that has made our defense so great for so very long.
It is also what has made Polamalu an outstanding sure-fire Hall of Fame safety, instead of simply the above average one he has been lately.
LeBeau has not been blitzing nearly as much, and has been falling into prevent way too soon in an attempt to protect leads. He did it in the Cincinnati game way too early in the fourth quarter. It is exactly why it is becoming common practice for our defense to give up big leads late in games.
The only thing our prevent defense prevents is our defense going an entire game without giving up a touchdown!
Again, the play "not to lose" mentality, instead of playing to win!
From my standpoint, I see a team going through the motions. A team that has found ways to win so far, but a team that is not giving it their all on every play. A team that has some good wins, but not the right mentality to win it all.
I truly hope that I am wrong. I will be more inclined to know, one way or the other, after the New England game this Sunday night.
I, for one, want to see a seventh Lombardi Trophy come to Pittsburgh this season, but it all begins with the coaches.
Now, let me see some kill or be killed!