Monday, October 28, 2013

Steelers Week 8 Reactions, part 1

Welp, it's over.  I want to thank the Steelers for the 2 games against the Jets & Ravens because those were sweet.  We fans had the puffed delusion that we could actually make the playoffs and that our hope that the clear talent of the team would be realized.  Those weeks were great.   But even if we beat the Patriots next week etc, there's no chance we'll feel as good again as we did for those 2 weeks.  Because by losing to the cruddy Raiders, after 2 weeks of getting better, the Steelers showed us that they can't be trusted.

It's sad that its basically over halfway through the season, because we were steadily getting better from 1-7 (including the pre-season).  To go back to being a bad team - for no reason - means that we're just not a good team.   First 3 weeks we had valid excuses: crazy injuries.  Week 4 our excuse was "jetlag" and that is a sign of unprofessionalism, but it may actually be what happened.  But 2 wins, solid wins, made it look like we've fixed the problems and could get on with the rest of our season.   But then how could we revert to this crap?  No excuse!

Even the broken up O-line can't be an excuse (can't be ignored) because that wasn't the reason we lost.  We lost for 2 basic reasons:  We can't score TDs in the red-zone and we can't stop the run.  We have a porous  defense... it's just laughably bad more often than it's good.  Teams seem to be able to march down the field on us.  Cruddy special teams.  Dropped passes.  No running game.

I'm a fan.  So I will gladly watch/listen to the games and hope we win, but it hurts too much to keep thinking we'll be good.  I'll be glad when we win, but I can't expect it.  Look: it's not that we lost, but how we lost.  Because it showed that we are either not talented enough or coached well; either way, we're unreliable.

The best answer for why we lost comes from Pitt beat writer Dejan Kovacevic.  He reported that in London, Tomlin was acting polite, contrite and decent to the reporters.  But after 2 wins, Tomlin went back to being a real jerk, and DK predicted doom because of it. Boy, was he right!  The key detail came in the Tuesday press conference after the Jets game.  In response to questions about game management - which Tomlin clearly shuns as important, a particular galling symptom of his attitude - Tomlin said, off mike but audible enough to hear on a recording, that "you guys have too much time your hands."  The "guys" referred to the reporters, but Tomlin (like the GOP and other bad leaders) don't seem to get that reporters are the representatives to the constituency.  *I* listen to the press conference.  When you disdain the reporters, you are also disdaining the fans.  The reporters want answers and when Tomlin acts arrogant and dismissive, he's showing the fans disrespect.

Kovacevic predicted that Tomlin's change in attitude between week 4 & 7 was a sign that the team was going to return to their losing ways... and he was completely right.

What makes DK correct is not a simple guess - DK explains the reasons why (as far as I've perceived) the Steelers act consistent like 2 different teams.  When we're good, we act the same way; and when we've been bad, it's been the exact same way.   When we're bad, we slum, we don't prepare, we're lazy and expect others to pick up the slack; this especially happens when we play bad teams.  So, I used to think it was the players, but after Kovacevic's insights and prediction, I am now more convinced that it's Tomlin. 

Tomlin's dismissiveness is without foundation - but it's reflected in his players' sluggish playing, especially against bad teams.  Tomlin himself may get keyed up for good games, but he seems so arrogant that he blows off the stuff that he considers unimportant, whether that is clock management, bad teams, reporters, or his freakin' job.  And the players reflect that; at least since 2011.

[More in part 2]

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