Saying that a Steelers team is desperate when we haven’t even reached the halfway point of the season is sometimes met with a “are you serious” or “not hardly” type of a response. Fortunately as fans of the Steelers, we don’t usually have these types of conversations this early in the year, if at all in the regular season. The 2012 campaign though is a different story and things aren’t like they used to be.
This season so far, if nothing else has made us all look at the Steelers with objective and reason, and yes that means taking off your Steelers sunglasses if you know what I mean. That’s not a bad thing because it allows you to see that while this team has many flaws and inconsistencies; all hope is not lost yet. For example, the days of watching Pittsburgh defense step onto the field and knowing that they will make a big play when it counts are getting fewer and far between.
It’s clear so far that the 2012 Steelers aren’t what they used to be both in talent on the field and on the bench. That means they are going to have to work even harder every single week, every single play to try and string some wins together.
Listening to saftey Will Allen talk on “The Lockerroom with Tunch and Wolf” this past Friday after the Titans game brought up this very topic; playing with desperation. Even though Allen wouldn’t go as far as to say that he feels the Steelers are in desperation mode, he did admit that they need to play with a greater sense of urgency.
They know that they can’t just step out on the field and have teams lay down for them. It’s going to take all 11 guys giving 100% effort on every snap, every day in practice, and every game in order to get things turned around. He mentioned that they are still a confident team and that they have faith in each other, but it comes down to execution, consistently. Finish every play with authority, and leave nothing to chance. If you have a chance to make an interception, don’t drop the ball whether it’s in practice or a game. If you can make the sack, don’t miss that opportunity; and other things of that nature.
If the Steelers can pull off that type of effort, starting this Sunday in Cincinnati then we just might see them start to string a few wins together against what we would normally consider very beatable opponents.
The Bengals sit at 3-3, just one win more than the Steelers right now; and after hurting that Cleveland put on them on Sunday they’ll be looking to atone for their missed opportunity. The Steelers will have to match their itensity play for play and leave everything on the field. I’m not implying by any stretch that the Bengals are a superior team, nobody in the AFC is superior to the rest of the conference right now save for perhaps the Texans. However I am saying that digging yourself a 2-3 hole and all losses being conference games, you leave yourself very little wiggle room.
I fully admit that I have been pessemistic with the Steelers this year, and while I prefer to call it objective I can see the gray area between the two. Be that as it may, I honestly believe that the Steelers can turn this season around but it’s not going to be easy. The little things that have haunted them cannot continue; dropped interceptions, poor pass protection at the worst times possible, missed tackles, blown coverages, and the like will doom this team if they aren’t fixed. The talent simply isn’t there to just be dominant because “we’re the Steelers” afterall.
If they can take on the “us against the world” mentality that was so evident in years past; that will to win no matter what the odds, then they can get back to the Promised Land and finish the climb to the Stairway to 7. If they don’t do all of these things, this will be a long season and one remembered for what could have been.