Mr. Ed kind of calls out BC using BC's very own quotes, especially when it comes to talking about the punt returner! He doesn't really bring up anything we haven't beat to death, so that must mean we are all pretty good analysts ourselves He did leave out Jeff Reed though
Originally Posted by Ed Bouchette; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
POSITIONS THAT MUST IMPROVE
Ben Roethlisberger has a horrendous 34.3 rating after two games. That reflects his five interceptions, no touchdowns and 49.3 percent completion rate.
Hines Ward has nine receptions for 99 yards and Cedrick Wilson and Nate Washington continue to drop passes. The only bright spot is Heath Miller's productivity.
Have been weighed down by the lack of good returns and Ricardo Colclough's muffed punt that might have cost the Steelers a victory against the Bengals.
POSITIONS THAT ARE PLAYING WELL
The O-line has opened holes for Willie Parker to run for 268 yards and two touchdowns through three games and has given Roethlisberger excellent protection.
Going hand in hand with the offensive line, the running backs have performed well, despite their low output at Jacksonville. Parker averages 3.8 yards per carry.
Although it has allowed more passing yards than it would like, the defense has been aggressive and has 10 sacks, five interceptions and a touchdown.
Bill Cowher said he came away encouraged by some things from the Steelers' game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. One of them, we presume, was not the play of return man Ricardo Colclough.
As the Steelers coach and his team take their traditional look inside themselves -- they call it self-scouting in the business -- as they return to practice today to go through their off week, early changes could be forthcoming. Some might be subtle, some more significant.
The most obvious is to keep Colclough as far away from returning punts as possible. Colclough might have done a fine job at Tusculum College (24 punt returns for a 14.4-yard average), but he returned only one in his first two seasons with the Steelers, and the evidence this year is overwhelming that a no return policy should be in effect for him.
If that part of the game truly is considered important, then a way must be found for rookie Willie Reid to handle it. His 15.4-yard average on punt returns is a Florida State record, better than Deion Sanders, and is third all time in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Reid returned 10 punts in the preseason for an 8.8-yard average.
Another option is rookie Santonio Holmes, who averaged 10.1 yards on 38 punt returns for Ohio State, which is in the Big Ten Conference, not Division II.
Here is what Cowher said shortly after the Steelers traded away a third-round draft choice to climb higher in the first round to take Holmes with the 25th overall pick: "Look at his production and look at his speed; it was a very unique combination. We wanted to get a returner and a speed receiver and he was probably the one guy on the board this is proven in both of those areas."
Holmes returned one punt in the preseason for 12 yards.
Here is what Cowher said, comparing Reid to Holmes as a punt returner: "Willie has been more impressive on the punt returns. Both of these guys can return and we feel good about that."
The single most other glaring trouble spot the past two games has been quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger, the picture of efficiency through his first two NFL seasons with an overall 98.3 passer rating, has a horrendous 34.3 rating after two games. That reflects his five interceptions, no touchdowns and 49.3 percent completion rate.
Yet Roethlisberger is the least of the Steelers' worries. Perhaps he did return too soon after his appendectomy. Through two full seasons, he has shown he is one of the best young quarterbacks to come along in the NFL in a generation, and he is expected to return to form before long.
There's not as much confidence in the group of receivers. Third-down back Verron Haynes leads the receivers with 10 catches. Hines Ward has only nine for 99 yards but he also entered the season injured, with a bad hamstring, and has a proven pedigree. Cedrick Wilson dropped what could have been big catches in each of the past two losses and has only four receptions. Nate Washington, the No. 3 receiver, got off to a fast start with a touchdown catch in the opener. But he has dropped three passes in the past two games, one in the end zone Sunday. Santonio Holmes could be in line to move up from No. 4 before long.
Tight end Heath Miller has been the exception. He has been reasonably productive for that position with seven receptions for 146 yards. He was the target on several other occasions the past two games, but the pass went awry, as it did for an interception in the end zone against the Bengals.
Two areas that Cowher found encouraging were his offensive line and the running game, which go hand in hand. The line not only blocked well enough to help spring Willie Parker for 133 yards and two touchdowns, it provided Roethlisberger with great protection, even if he could not many times find a receiver to take advantage of it.
"We did play better, gave the backs some better holes," guard Alan Faneca said. "We played better as a unit."
Parker ran much better Sunday than he did in Jacksonville. He cut back through holes, missing few of them, and followed the flow of his blocking to a T.
Through three games, the defense looks like a typical Steelers defense. They have been aggressive and have 10 sacks, five interceptions and a touchdown. They've stoned opposing running games to an average of 78.3 yards. They have allowed more passing yards (295.3) than they would prefer, although the five interceptions help negate that.
Their special teams have not played well through three games, weighed down by the lack of good returns, Colclough's muffed punt that might have cost them a victory and Jeff Reed's two missed field goals, one from a block. Punter Chris Gardocki is off to a fast start, averaging 45 yards per punt with five of his 15 stopped inside the 20. However, the punt coverage has not been good -- an average of 13.3 yards on eight returns by opponents.
The worst news for the Steelers as they take the week off is that they are 1-2, but the flaws that helped cause those two losses are correctable or should, in a case such as Roethlisberger, work themselves out.