November 1, 2006 7:40 a.m. EST
Matthew Smith - All Headline News Staff Writer
Pittsburgh, PA (AHN) - When you're 2-5, someone has to take the blame. That's exactly what Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher did on Tuesday.
Cowher told reporters that it's not Ben Roethlisberger's poor play or shoddy defense that is causing the Steelers to lose this year. The Super Bowl winning coach said all fingers should be pointed at him.
"Obviously, there's a lot of disappointment to be sitting here at 2-5. I accept full responsibility for that," Cowher said Tuesday at a press conference. "It starts with me. There's been a lot of frustration ... in the different ways we have found to lose. The bottom line is we have lost."
Cowher's future with the Steelers remains uncertain. Since winning the Super Bowl last season, there has been speculation over whether he would retire or move on from coaching in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are three games out of first place in the AFC North division. A losing season could prompt Cowher to leave, but that is not what he or the team should be worrying about at this moment.
"Each of us is going to have to do more and that starts with me," Cowher told the AP. "The focus right now is to win a football game and get out of this funk we're in."
The Steelers are coming off a terrible loss to the Oakland Raiders (2-5), who are considered the laughing stock of the NFL. In that game, Roethlisberger tossed four interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns. The team that rumbled through the playoffs, on the road, en route to a world title has obviously lost its swagger.
Cowher told the AP, "Confidence is a fragile thing. We have no reason to be a confident team at this point. We haven't done the things it takes to win games."
Roethlisberger, who has been through a near-fatal motorcycle accident, an appendectomy and a concussion all in the last six months, is playing the worst football of his career. After starting his tenure as the starting QB in Pittsburgh with 27 wins in 31 starts, Roethlisberger has gone 1-5 this season. Cowher believes his young quarterback is trying to make too many plays.
Cowher told reporters, "With three of them [interceptions], he's got to use better judgment. He would admit to that. To get the ball at the 1-yard line [late in the game] and not score with that -- the inconsistencies, we've got to eliminate them. And we are not doing that."
Other areas of concern for Cowher are punt return coverages (last in NFL), an average rushing game and a poor turnover margin that ranks fifth from the bottom in the league.
Cowher commented to reporters, "We're turning the ball over and that's the biggest thing -- we have 18 in seven games. A year ago we had 23 in 16. There have been a lot of inconsistencies with our team."
To make matters worse, backup running back Verron Haynes and linebacker Arnold Harrison were each placed on injured reserve Tuesday with torn anterior cruciate ligaments.