Friday, November 01, 2013

Steelers Week 8 Reactions, part 3

More thoughts on the current state of the Steelers:
1.  Why are we 2-5?
I've heard a lot of people say that the reason we're losing isn't because of the coaching, or bad luck, but because the "team isn't very good."  For this to be right, the pundit must mean the players aren't good.  Well, if so, which ones?  Since this may be the correct answer, I'd say (and none of those are a surprise): (a) punting, (b) offensive line, (c) middle linebackers.  

2. Defense Issues
People are also asking if this is LeBeau's last year?  Considering our defense woes from 2011-2013, that is a plausible question.  Then again, I think 2011 & 2012 defenses were bad because of injuries - something fans/pundits/idiots want to ignore out of macho myopia, but are a real concern.  We lost the playoff game to Denver because of injuries, and 2012 never got off the ground because our 2 best guys were totally busted (Harrison, Polomalu) and the others were getting too old (Hampton) or broke midyear (Ike Taylor).

This is not the (whole) problem this year (except for the loss of Foote).  But I think LeBeau is off the hook for another reason: as everyone says, the LeBeau defense takes 3+ years to learn.  And our linebackers are a bunch of greenhorn rookies.  The 4 linebackers are: LaMarr Woodley (OLB, 7th year, 2nd Round), Vince Williams (ILB, Rookie, 6th round), Lawrence Timmons (ILB, 7th year 1st Round), Jarvis Jones (Rookie, 1st round) or Jason Worilds (OLB, 4th year 2nd round).  Timmons and Woodley are studs; Worilds is not doing so well as a vet, Jones is struggling as a 1st rounder and Williams - an inside linebacker of the freakin' Pittsburgh "Hall of Fame Linebacker Pedigree Team" Steelers - is a 6th round rookie.   It's no wonder we are soft in the middle.

It's a problem with a fancy defense; like a high-performance sports car, when all the parts are working, it's the best around, but the weak links make the defense worse than it would be for other, simpler, teams.  I mean, I saw the Miami-Cincinnati game last night and I wondered how could it be that Miami gets turnovers and sacks against CIN but we can't.   Gevalt!

[note, the ending of last night's game has got to be the single best ending I've ever seen]

3. Jarivs Jones
As for Jarvis Jones, people want to call him a bust.  Those people are dumb.  LeBeau's defense takes 3 years to learn.  Rookies need playing time and Jones was out for 2 weeks with a concussion.  Give him a break.   [Note, I can't just call him "Jones" because there's like 3 new guys named that, Jarvis, Felix & Landry)]

4. Questions to Steelers Depot
So, related to the defense problems, I asked the Steelers Depot two questions, let's see what Dave says: (a) Will Sean Spence and/or Matt Spaeth play this year; (b) do you think the reason why our O-line seems specially cursed with injuries is due to Big Ben's scrambling QB style and their consequent need  to hold their blocks for a long time? The first question is related to the middle linebacking; we really need Spence back - our middle linebacking is bad.
5. O-Line Injuries
The second point is to try to answer why our O-line is always in disarray!  We changed coaches this year, and I thought things were looking up (see last week about Abdullah the Butcher) but then we lost 3 straight players in the SAME POSITION on Sunday.  How?!  One answer could be that the D-line of the Raiders are dirty (in fact, that would be the most historically plausible answer).  But I needed a better reason why it doesn't change year to year.  Hence my theory above.

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