Monday, October 28, 2013

Steelers Week 8 Reactions, part 2

Part 1 here was a straightforward essay about the disaster the Steelers have become.  Here now are some shorter comments & issues:
  1. Note: i didn't see the game, only listened on the radio... which was a nightmare!
  2. I'm especially troubled because I made a prediction that "if Polomalu and Roethlesberger are healthy for all 16 games, we'll make the playoffs" And that looks like it won't happen. I was wrong. What did I think wrong? It's possible that I underestimated the quality of the regular NFL team. We've got 2 legitimate superstars, who are playing as well as they can play, and we can still lose games! Even though it looks like all the teams are bad, the error I made was thinking that's because the teams are all bad - it could mean that they are equally good. Actually, scratch that, the teams are mostly bad, it's just that a superstar can only do so much.
  3. Big Ben is a great athlete but we can't think he's a great QB in the mold of Brady/Manning who are good because they know the game; Ben has generally a low game IQ. There may be two types, a 12 and a 7.
  4. How can it work one week and not another? Answers: (a) Jets & Ravens aren't good teams and/or (b) those two teams under-estimated us, because we were 0-4, and they couldn't adjust. That may be it.
  5. We're so bad that it's depressing to watch a good team, like I felt last night watching the Packers (briefly - I'm more focused on the World Series for my son's sake, he's a Sox fan and I'm such a good father that he's gotten me to care).
  6. Fire tomlin? Tunch & Wolf are saying it's crazy to ask for that. Except its not motivated because we're losing its because it's HOW we're losing.  
  7. There's the black box problem - coaching is critical importance yet it's so internal that even the beat reporters won't know what's happening.  I heard rumbling last year, and occassionally this year, but I'd like to know the truth from someone perceptive enough to explain the difference instead of guessing.
  8.  What worries me is that Noll himself was hot and cold.  He was the greatest coach in the world in the 1970s and then the team got crappy in the 1980s.  Why?  Is that what's happening now?  Noll was so blind, that in 1983 he decided not to draft Dan Marino because Noll felt that Bradshaw was good enough and we should go defense again.   Can you IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HAD THE STEELERS DRAFTED MARINO IN 1983?!?!?   Is that same thing happening now?  Too much early success?
  9. We're so bad we can't even get points from interceptions and fumbles! 
  10. People on the radio are saying the team looked unprepared and listless for the first half. And you can blame the players but i think that's on the coaches. I call it the Orgo Effect - devised when I was back in college from my friend telling me about everyone in his Orgo class failing an exam.  I replied: "if everyone in class fails a test then the students aren't at fault, but the teacher."
  11. Also, about the field goals:  It's not Sushi's fault that we lost - but it shows how much our offense depends on him, because we would have won this game had he made the FGs. But to depend on a kicker means your team is terrible. 
  12. We can blame some bad calls, but we just sucked the whole time. 
  13. I've heard Dave & Dave talk every week that the Steelers are built to succeed only when we get the lead.  So that means get points early.  Which means get the ball first.   Why then does Tomlin keep deferring to the second half?  Well, the simple answer is that there's a frilly strategy concept that if you get the ball first in the second half, you will also try to get the ball last in the first half and then dominate the other team.  Seriously, that's the idea.  I've heard it comes from Belicheck, but who knows... it's a caveman concept - it's based on hopes and wishes.  
    1. Because I'm a law-inventer, I will compare it to another lesson/law I learned: the Bridge Too Far Effect, which I learned from the movie, about Operation Market Garden.  Turns out the Wiki also acknowledges that the phrase is: "An idiom inspired by Operation Market Garden, meaning an act of overreaching."  But the specifics are important.  The British in fall 1944 wanted to take the success of D-Day (OK, Operation Overlord) and go straight to Berlin by Xmas.  
    2. The plan required seizing 4 bridges in one swoop to allow a tank army to run straight over the 4 and take over Germany.   The key was that if any aspect of the plan failed, the whole thing would crash and burn.  I've seen this a lot with bad planners - they don't respect Murphy's Law.  Leaders should always plan for mess-ups.  It's actually part of good leadership & planning, otherwise you're just a dreamer.  
    3. BTW, the same concept of bad planning was also in Black Hawk Down (one reason why that movie was so awesome).
    4. How does it apply to Tomlin and the "Defer to get Back to Back scores" thing?  Well, obviously (to use the verbal crutch of Coach Cliche, as I've seen him called) it's because to work, the Steelers will need to get the ball and score at the end of the first half and then do so at the second hafl.  
    5. This is as opposed to just scoring at the beginning of the first half.  If Tomlin thinks he can do it in quarter 3, why not think he can do it in quarter 1?   Especially because you'd then be ahead... which your team NEEDS TO BE!
    6. Guess who got the ball first in the Jets and Ravens games?  Steelers.
  14. Can we beat the Patriots. Yeah, we have the talent to do that. But I won't expect us to win, because we lost to the Vikings, Raiders & Titans in the same fashion. We're a legendarily bad team. We'll talk about the 2013 Steelers with misery. We've given up the biggest QB run in NFL history! The worst Steeler season since 1972 was 5-11 back in 1988 and that's what my goal is this year - to be better than that.
Two important quotes:

1. After the game DE Brett "The Diesel" "The Beard" Kiesel seemed to say he knows players aren't showing up to play with attitude. I wonder if it's Clark? Or are the rookies to blame?:
“We gotta come out of the locker room ready to play, we do,” Keisel said. “We can’t ease into football games. When the National Anthem goes, you gotta be ready to go. So far this season we’ve struggled in that area. We gotta step into stadiums ready to go. “It’s gonna be addressed. It’ll be addressed. I might address it. It’ll just be something where I’ll talk to the team. We’ve gotta be better in that area. I want everyone to understand that.”
Then Bleacher Report, in "No Matter What, It's Too Little Too Late for the 2013 Steelers" said something I totally agree with:
When the Steelers have gotten hot, it's been more of a smoldering fire, one able to be snuffed out at a moment's notice by one ill-thrown pass or one poorly timed fumble. Every step forward seems to have a corresponding step or two backward—a 45-yard punt return by Antonio Brown followed by a Roethlisberger interception, a two-game win streak followed by a frustrating road loss. And each attempt at recovery seems to come just a little too late.
I've felt that way since 2011. 

Here are the in-game notes I was taking:
  1. Why isn't Sanders returning punts?
  2. Oy Mesko
  3. Oy Sushi!
  4. Maybe now that they can't score a FG, they'll actually try TDs now!
  5. What the heck is happening to our O-linemen?
  6. This proves it - we're a bad team. I've seen enough games this year to know. We also have a knack in making bad teams look good. It hurts.
  7. So what we need to score a TD: a crazy turnover by the raiders on their own 11 *plus* 4 tries.  Wow we suck.
  8. Why the heck did we defer? It's like Tomlin doesn't know about meta-gaming. He's so old school, he doesn't even study the game!

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