Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Steelers, Week 3, Quick Thoughts

Yet another three-day holiday arriving, so I'll need to make this quick:

1. Can the Steelers stop playing night games? I'm getting used to the nobility of losing, but its freakin' tiring.

2. One word: snakebit. Explanation: When looked at logically, we're going through a major transition. We changed 4 key coaches in a year or so (OC, O-line, Receivers, Special teams), and if you see the history of the current team, page 28 here, you'll see 18 of the 53 man roster has come to the team in the past few months. That's the definition of transition. Then add onto that the serious crazy injuries all at once, and you have "bad luck." Or, as I think it can be put, "snakebit."

3. No massive injuries for another week. whew.

4. Heath is back! HEEEEEEATH!!

5. As someone put it, I think on Steelers lounge, that the Patriots are in the same boat as the Steelers - it's the price of success over the past decade. The Steelers have been to 3 Superbowls and been the top of the charts... which means we're an old team whose needed to draft at the dregs. At a certain point, parity catches up. But the Patriots have a way easier division than we have, so they have - logically - been able to stay better longer. Also, Brady is a safer QB.

6. All that said, I do think the o-line is slow to be good. As they said on Sunday night, this too is logical since they are so inexperienced. I have hope that they will gel and develop over the year. This can only be expected. However, we still have to wonder why our second round picks, Gilbert & Adams, aren't better than they are. So I wonder, how does scouting work? Is it done by the position coach? Because we seem to have incredible success with wide-receivers but terrible quality O-line. Its probable that the current coach is doing the best he can with crappy athletes. It's possible that the previous coach either selected badly, and/or coached badly, and the current guy has to do an Obama on the Iraq War that's the o-line.

7. Let's not forget that our defense started slow last year and got better. Why, I dunno. But I also know that our defense has had some key injuries: our #1 inside linebacker is out for the season and have been replaced with 2 rookies (and that is almost unheard of in LeBeau's defense), and our #2 CB is out. It's a bad sign when rookies are doing the play-calling and our HOF safety has to play pickup linebacker! I hope they rookies, like the o-line, will improve over the season. And, hey, maybe Sean Spence will play! (Again, the snakebit injury bug).

8. Let's be clear, while they talked about reload not rebuild last year, this is clearly a rebuilding year... so they better rebuild!

9. If this disaster continues, we may be lucky enough to get our next QB in the 2014 draft... maybe an Andrew Luck type who can stay in the pocket and outthink the opponents.

10. As for these past few weeks, I hear a lot of bellyaching by the fans and commentariat and they seem to adopt the Tomlin BS of ignoring the impact of injuries. It's an ideological/coaching point to parrot "the standard is the standard." But I'm not a coach, I deal with facts - and to understand cause/effect you can't let ideology blind you to facts (see my rant about the 2000 election). So if you asked me why we're 0-3, I'd say that since we played 3 tough teams (2-1, 2-1, 3-0) without our #1 center, #1 & 2 Tight ends, #1 ILB, #2 CB, #1 FB, #1 RB, that we would likely be 0-3. For the Bears, we just got fullback and top TE back and our offense looked better; let's see how much better the O-line will look when we get our top RB & #2 TE back!

11. You can't deny that the defense, week after week, stopped their best players, for the most part. It really was the turnovers.

12. About the Felix Jones fumble - he got walloped in the head, dude. Jim Brown had 57 career fumbles, over 9 years (118 games, that's an average of 1 every 2 games, 0.48 a game). Eric Dickerson, 78 over 10 years, 146 games (.53 a game). OK, so Barry Sanders is 41 over 153 games (whoa, 0.267!); but these things can be excused.

13. Don't give up on the running game. we NEED the running game, if anything to help give the defense a rest.

14. I see this a lot: “According 2 @EliasSports, 115 NFL teams have started 0-3 since '90. Only '92 SD, '95 DET, '98 BUF made playoffs” This is proof more than anything that we need to teach people how to use statistics.

15. How to get better for next week? I think time is the healer here. Let the O-line practice together more! That will really help. Back to fundamentals... because that's what sucks here.

16. About tomlin: he's so close to the chest. Does he know he messed up? We can't tell from his public comments, and we should know we will NEVER know from his public comments.

17. Other silver linings: we have actually been much better about penalties and special teams. That is encouraging!

18. Another example about facts and cause/effect, look at how people judge Brady vs. Manning. Manning is thought as not as good as Brady because of post-game failures. Except that many of those failures came because the Patriots clearly cheated. Just as Bush did in 2000. A win counts de-jure, but de-facto cheating doesn't make reality. Brady is great, but Manning is incredible.

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