View Full Version : Staggering Steelers losing their identity; yet confidence still abounds

10-24-2006, 12:21 AM

By John Harris
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It is what it is.
The Steelers are 2-4, instead of 4-2.

They're a winning football team with a losing record.

"It's a new situation for us," linebacker Larry Foote said.

Still, to a man in the Steelers locker room, confidence abounds. This is a poised and talented football team. The players know how good they are, and they have the Super Bowl rings to prove it.

There were no bowed heads after Sunday's 41-38 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons, only deep introspection and a greater understanding for the challenge ahead.

Six games into 2006, the aura of invincibility is gone. Now, the Steelers have to take back what they've lost.

"We're 2-4, so you all start making your own judgment," running back Willie Parker told reporters after the game.

Parker's third-quarter fumble led to a Falcons touchdown, one of three Steelers fumbles resulting in 21 Atlanta points.

"We beat ourselves," Parker said.

Guard Alan Faneca agreed. "We put our defense in a hole," he said.

Make no mistake about it, the defense contributed to Sunday's loss. The Steelers focused so hard on stopping Atlanta's top-ranked rushing offense they allowed quarterback Michael Vick to pick them apart.

Something's wrong when the defending Super Bowl champions score 38 points on the road and lose, something troubling that points to mistakes and critical lapses in crunch time.

"We had some mental breakdowns," Foote said. "We knew they like (Alge) Crumpler; he's their leading receiver."

Vick tossed a career-high four touchdown passes against the Steelers. Crumpler had a career-high three touchdown catches.

"We didn't execute," Foote said. "(Vick) was hitting people wide open. That's our fault."

Before the season gets entirely away from them, the Steelers may want to consider going back to Square One, all the way back to training camp, to rediscover their identity.

A swaggering confidence is all well and good, but what's needed right now is a return to basics and more attention to detail.

What's needed is for the Steelers to drop their proud act and go for the jugular, starting Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

What's needed is for a feeling of desperation to replace the swagger that results in style points but keeps coming up short on the scoreboard.

Too much was made of that blowout win over Kansas City at Heinz Field. And too much is being made of losing to the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. One loss won't kill the Steelers' season, just like one big win won't brand the season a success.

"We've got a lot of things we can get better at," Parker said. "I've got to get better at what I do. I'm part of the (problem). I fumbled."

As backup quarterback Charlie Batch said, "We did everything we thought we were going to do coming into the game."

Winning used to be so simple for the Steelers.

Atleast this team isn't getting down on itself; or atleast they don't appear to be from what we are seeing. They've gotta be disappointed in how the season is going but the key is to keep fighting and keep their chin up. As was mentioned we could easily be 4-2 and in the division lead right now. It's not like teams are beating us up every week. We're giving away the game to them. Maybe this is like the year we played Jax on sunday night and had that FG blocked that was run back for a TD. The team lost but their confidence was big knowing they should have and could have won.

You never know, but at this point, Im looking for any and all positives I can find for this team. Whatever it takes, we keep on fighting, we have the heart of a champion and now more than ever we're running out of chances. It's time for the Steelers to put up or shut up ! If you ask me, we go out this week and SHUT UP the Raiders. :tt02:

House of Steel
10-24-2006, 12:22 AM
Time for the Storm to form and start brewing Thunder and Lightening to alert the NFL, THE STEELERS WILL BE ROARING BACK!!! :towelwave: :towelwave:

10-24-2006, 12:27 AM
If they could just hang on to the ball we would be 4-2! God I hate turnovers!!!!!!! With that said it would be nice if our D could hold someone to a FG or make a play after one of those TO's though.

House of Steel
10-24-2006, 12:28 AM
I think we should be 5-1 actually, if we wasn't such a turnover tommy team.

10-24-2006, 12:30 AM
Our identity has always been run the football, mix it up with the pass, play top notch staggering defense and quality special teams. That's who we are, that's who we've always been. Turnovers were never part of our reputation unless you're talking about us creating them and capitalizing on them.

It's all about the turnovers, it always is and it always will be. You live and die by how well you protect the ball.

10-24-2006, 02:10 AM
It's hard to lack confidence when you are the defending super bowl champions. Plus when they look at how they lost the game it could have been an easy victory for them if they had just hung onto the ball better. It's time for gauntlet drills or something, maybe start docking these players their paychecks for putting the ball on the ground because it's uncalled for!

10-24-2006, 11:04 AM
It's a fine line of confidence and over-confidence. Right now Im not sure we're walking that fine line just right but you can where this team has all the tools to be 5-1 right now instead of 2-4. We know we can do it, but we also need to never forget that we just can't show up and expect to win. We gotta put forth 110% every snap if we expect to finish out strong.

10-24-2006, 11:52 AM
The biggest problem with the Steelers is the turnovers. We are losing games because of them. They have to become more disciplined and make sure they are keeping the ball. Our ST needs some work and needs to make sure they are playing smart. Our D is playing well, but we are making it hard on them when we are giving the other team such great field position because of the turn overs.

Black@Gold Forever32
10-24-2006, 04:15 PM
Yes the turn overs are killing us. But there is a transition being made here that many havn't talked about. The Steelers under Jerome Bettis all these years and really under Bill Cowher were known for the power running game. With Willie Parker who is proving to be a tough runner as well isn't that power back. Plus when you factor in Big Ben and the WR's becoming a bigger part of the offense. The Steelers are creating a new identity and there are going to be bumps in the road with creating this new identity.

But we are seeing this offense pick up the past two weeks. I'm telling if Ben can hold up the rest of the year. This offense is going to be special and the Steelers will make a run. The Steelers best football is ahead of them. They are just working out the kinks.