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BlitzburghRockCity
11-07-2006, 01:38 AM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_478502.html



By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, November 7, 2006


No one can question the Steelers' talent or effort -- with the exception of the first few minutes against the Broncos on Sunday.
That the Steelers straggle into the halfway point of their season at 2-6 shows they are seriously flawed.

When the offense plays well, the defense seems to falter and vice versa. The one thing the Steelers have done on a consistent basis is commit a special teams gaffe that factors heavily in a close loss.

Put it all together, and it's easy to see why the reigning Super Bowl champions are virtually out of the playoff hunt -- and why their midseason report card isn't something that will be displayed proudly on refrigerators.





Quarterbacks: C

Whether it's off the field or on it, Ben Roethlisberger often has Steelers fans holding their collective breath.

He's lost six of seven starts this season -- after winning 27 of his first 31 -- and has twice as many interceptions (14) as touchdown passes.

Roethlisberger gets a bit of a pass, considering everything he's been through and because he's only 24 and has shown glimpses of greatness.

Charlie Batch has played so well as a backup, more than a few wondered why he didn't start against the Raiders after Roethlisberger sustained a concussion the previous week.

Running backs: C+

Willie Parker is third in the NFL with eight touchdowns and is on pace for over 1,200 rushing yards.

What should have been a breakout season has been marred by road games in which he's been non-existent -- 67 rushing yards combined against Jacksonville and Atlanta.

He also had a bad fumble against the Falcons and didn't look for the ball in the flat on a fourth-down play in Oakland when the Steelers needed a touchdown to tie the game.

Najeh Davenport has shown he can be a capable backup, but his false-start penalty late in the game against the Raiders is part of a litany of mistakes that have doomed the Steelers.

Wide receivers/tight ends: C

Their play has improved as the season's progressed, and Hines Ward's hamstring ceased being an issue about a month ago.

The four-time Pro Bowler is averaging just over 110 receiving yards the past four games, and split ends Cedric Wilson and Santonio Holmes have complemented Ward, while Nate Washington has produced some big plays.

However, the wideouts have made some killer mistakes, notably Washington's "flinch" in Atlanta and the lost fumbles by Wilson and Ward in the Broncos game.

And take away Health Miller's 87-yard touchdown reception against the Dolphins, and the tight end has been a non-factor in the passing game.

Offensive line: C

The Steelers returned every starter from last year, which makes the uneven performances turned in by this group all the more mystifying.

The line has been physically handled at times this season, including twice from inside the Raiders' 2 late in that 20-13 loss.

Perhaps an even bigger indictment of the line's play: Coach Bill Cowher said the Steelers went into the Broncos game with the plan of passing the ball to set up the run.

When the Steelers are good, it's because they are able to impose their will on the opposition and run the ball. That starts up front.

Defensive line: B

The Steelers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher since last November.

Take away the 72 yards wide receiver Javon Walker picked up on a reserve Sunday, and the Broncos, who run the ball well on everybody, rushed for just 43 yards.

Ends Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith, along with tackle Casey Hampton, could do a better job of generating pressure on the quarterback.

Linebackers: C+

The most feared player in the NFL? Joey Porter may not be the most feared linebacker on his team.

Whether it's the Sports Illustrated cover jinx at work or something else, Porter has disappeared at times this season. He's averaging just four tackles a game, though he does have four sacks and a pair of interceptions.

James Farrior and Larry Foote have been a formidable duo inside, and outside linebacker Clark Haggans leads the Steelers with five sacks.

Secondary: D

Teams have gone after Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor and will continue to do so after watching what Denver did to the Steelers starting cornerbacks.

Bryant McFadden had every opportunity to unseat Townsend when the latter got hurt, but he wasn't able to do it.

As good as Troy Polamalu is, the All-Pro safety has been prone to overpursuing, which he did against Falcons quarterback Michael Vick on a critical third-down play in overtime and also on Walker's long touchdown run Sunday.

Special teams: F

Nothing probably bothers Cowher more about the Steelers' first eight games than their special teams play.

If the Steelers had been merely average in this area, they would probably have two more wins.

Instead, everything is an adventure with the special teams. Actually, misadventure is more like it.

The Steelers have lost costly fumbles on punt and kickoff returns and have allowed three kickoff returns of more than 50 yards.

Coaching: D

Cowher can be second-guessed about a number of things this season, ranging from his use of timeouts in the Atlanta game to his handling of the quarterback situation.

The Steelers' rash of turnovers -- they have 24 already, exceeding their total from all of last season -- and the lack of on-field discipline -- foolish unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. And it all points to a lack of focus.

How much that has to do with Cowher's uncertain status beyond this season is anybody's guess. Still, he is ultimately accountable for such mistakes, and the Steelers haven't won back-to-back games this season.


That pretty much sums it up, every grade is way below where it should be, maybe we should just change our name to the Pittsburgh Turnovers. :banging:

Steelersfan
11-07-2006, 03:51 AM
This says it all to me.


How much that has to do with Cowher's uncertain status beyond this season is anybody's guess. Still, he is ultimately accountable for such mistakes, and the Steelers haven't won back-to-back games this season.

I don't know what it is but I know I'm not the only one that thinks Cowher has lost this team for whatever reason. These are the kind of mistakes Steeler teams don't make and you have to look at the HC in cases like this.

House of Steel
11-07-2006, 10:36 AM
Cowher certainly lost his team and insanity this season. It is down right disgusting and uncalled for.

AZ_Steeler
11-07-2006, 11:33 AM
I think a lot of has to do with the what Parker said in another article yesterday... They have already won the Super bowl so they feel like they don't really have anything to prove :dunno:

The grades seem on par for the most part, it's hard to believe though that this practically the exact same team from last year... you know something is going on and we are probably not getting the whole story.

Steelx
11-07-2006, 12:00 PM
Quarterbacks: C

Whether it's off the field or on it, Ben Roethlisberger often has Steelers fans holding their collective breath.

He's lost six of seven starts this season -- after winning 27 of his first 31 -- and has twice as many interceptions (14) as touchdown passes.

Roethlisberger gets a bit of a pass, considering everything he's been through and because he's only 24 and has shown glimpses of greatness.

Charlie Batch has played so well as a backup, more than a few wondered why he didn't start against the Raiders after Roethlisberger sustained a concussion the previous week.

Steel-x's View
Lets see Ben Played in 12 games last season (regular season) he threw 268 times, this season he has played in 7 games and has thrown 234 times? Since when have the Steelers decided to throw 33 times a game? After looking at some stats from the 05 season Ben threw over 31 times once. That game was a shoot-out at home against the Bengals witht the score being 31-38 and a Steelers loss. The only other time he threw more than 29 was against the Ravens with the Steelers winning by 1 in a 20-19 victory at home.

Whether it be because the steelers have fallen behind in games or what not there is no reason Ben should be putting the ball up on "average" of 33 times a game. He is not that type of QB he is a game management QB. I put a lot of the QB blame on the coaches.

I have been quoted in saying in numerous places that there was no reason for Ben to be playing against Oakland and that was before the game. The guy looked clueless when the game started and when the game finished after completeing 4 pass's to the Oakland Defense.
Running backs: C+

Willie Parker is third in the NFL with eight touchdowns and is on pace for over 1,200 rushing yards.

What should have been a breakout season has been marred by road games in which he's been non-existent -- 67 rushing yards combined against Jacksonville and Atlanta.

He also had a bad fumble against the Falcons and didn't look for the ball in the flat on a fourth-down play in Oakland when the Steelers needed a touchdown to tie the game.

Najeh Davenport has shown he can be a capable backup, but his false-start penalty late in the game against the Raiders is part of a litany of mistakes that have doomed the Steelers.

Steel-x's View
You are kidding right? Willie Parker is the only bright spot on the team right now in my eyes. I didnt think the little man could handle the load but he has greatly. Carrying the ball 20 times a game and averaging 80 yards a game BUT there still needs to be someone behind him. Someone else needs to get the ball.

You bring a veteran back that has had a "decent" career and you have only gave him the rock 21 times? WTF and 12 of them were in 1 game giving him a total of 9 rushes on the season. Why do you go out and bring this guy in? I have no freakin idea we could have got this out of Cobbs o we dropped him right? Who was that other guy that we drafted? where is he?

This is the part that bothers me the most is the run game? WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO RUNNING THE BALL???? Coaching is to Blame

More to come.... Need to chill out for a moment

House of Steel
11-07-2006, 12:02 PM
Kuhn is that other guy your referring too, right, Steel?

Prosdo
11-07-2006, 02:52 PM
I don't understand some of the coaching decisions at all. This is all falling on Cowher. He picks up Najeh and we barely saw him. He leaves Holmes back there to keep fumbling. He starts Townsend over McFadden. The guys don't seem motivated. Where is that fire Cowher always brings???

As for Willie Parker, he is doing a good job and showing progress. Keep it up Willie.

BlitzburghRockCity
11-07-2006, 04:59 PM
Steeler football is not throwing the ball 50 times a game...we don't win when that happens, and its been proven to be true yet again this year. Same thing happened a few years back when Tommy set all kinds of records and we still didn't get to the SB.

This team does win when we have to throw the ball or choose to throw the ball this often. Sure its nice to know Ben can do it if he has too, but its not like we've gotten blown out of every game this year where we have to throw it all the time. We've been in the game in the 4th quarter in nearly every loss...yet we continue to throw it all over creation instead of doing what we do best. Run the ball, mix it up with play action and some rollouts, the occasional long ball and then run it in the 2nd half to eat up the clock. I just don't understand the philosphy in not doing it this way. It got us a Super Bowl win last year !