- If the investment in the offensive line pays off…
- If the injury gods would grant them a hiatus from their wrath
- If they can incorporate 22 new players alongside a group of playoff tested veterans
Steel Curtain Rising whole heartedly agrees with the Steelers reigning field general, but would add one additional “well enough” as in “We didn’t plan well enough.”
Steelers Roll Snake Eyes, End Up Snake Bitten
Steelers Digest editor Bob Labrolia previewed the season observing “The Steelers will be doing a Nik Wallenda imitation this season – working on the high wire without a net….” In fact, the Nik Wallenda metaphor is one he used multiple times in preseason.
- If the high wire metaphor is apt, then Steelers Nation got to see the football equivalent of an offense falling off that wire.
And on the Steelers first drive the offense gave Steelers Nation a glimpse of the best of what they could have reasonably hopped to see from a unit starting its third tight end, second string running back with a young offensive line learning a new blocking scheme.
- It wasn’t spectacular, the running game struggled, but the Steelers moved the ball in into scoring position in workman like fashion.
Its dangerous to extrapolate too many “could haves” based on the first 8 plays of a football season, but Ben Roethlisberger was sharp and Jerricho Cotchery and Antonio Brown showed that they could make a few plays.
Of course nestled into that 8 play series was a disaster of, shall we say, titanic proportions – Maurkice Pouncey went down, tearing his MCL and ACL.
The Steelers worst nightmare had come true, the rock upon which Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert had constructed their offensive line rebuilding project had crumbled.
- After that nothing else went right for the Steelers offense. Literally nothing.
- …OK, technically that wasn’t garbage time, but did anyone really think the Steelers were going to recover the on-sides kick and score?
If you subtract the 75 yards the Steelers consumed on their garage time touchdown drive, the team had 120 total yards of offense.
There really are no hidden gems, moral victories, or silver linings. The offense was atrocious.
Steelers Defense Above the Line, But….
Normally when you hold a team to 16 points in the NFL, you have a good shot at winning. When you hold them to 13 (as the Steelers defense very well might have had it not been for a 27 yard punt return after a bad punt) you stand a very good shot at winning.
- So judged purely by numbers, the Steelers defense played well vs. the Titans, especially when you consider Tennessee was working with short fields.
- And for the unteethen time since 2010, the Steelers defense failed to secure a turnover.
The Problem with Calculated Risks? Sometimes They Go Wrong
So disaster struck on the offensive line, and the Steelers did not have the personnel to compensate. The Steelers shoved Willie Colon out the door and let veterans such as Max Starks and Doug Legursky leave without so much as a token effort to keep them.
- Is it fair to say the Steelers didn’t “prepare well enough?”
- They gave it there best shot and hoped for the best.