Friday, November 01, 2013

Steelers Week 8 Reactions, part 4

More thoughts on the current state of the Steelers:

1. The First Play in the Raiders Game: 

This was the catastrophe that allowed their QB to get a 93 yd rushing TD.

Ryan Clark bit on a play fake and left his position.  Evidently the Raiders have run this play 20 times and always did the same thing, so Clark biting on it was what a veteran is supposed to do. But, safeties need to be the last line of defense and Clark muffed.  However, the Steelers let Polomalu do this all the time.  Which could mean that Clark needs to be extra safety-safe.  I'd add two more thoughts: (a) the fact that he didn't account for the Raiders changing the play after 20 times could mean that he didn't respect their defense - this is exactly why we were burned in the 2011 playoffs with Tebow - we didn't respect their ability (mainly because they were playing stupidly before); (b) it also possible that Clark's muff is the equivalent of Big Ben's turnovers during the first 4 games.  Ben was throwing picks because he was single-handedly trying to carry the crumbling offense.  Clark may feel that with our bad linebacker play, he needed to step up.  And like Ben's actions before, this led to a devastating counter-play.

2. Clock Management
David Todd is all over Tomlin for time management.  This is valid.  I have a strong feeling that Tomlin is too arrogant/stubborn to take certain things seriously, things he considers unmanly: (a) time management, (b) special teams, (c) injuries.   Especially since "clock management' seems to be the province of nerds and girly-men, i.e. people who know football primarily through video games and/or the sad-sack stat guys.

While I think Todd may not take into account the full extent of the jangly nerve pressure in those situations, there seems to be more and more evidence that the slowdowns and time management problems seem to come from Haley being a control freak and demanding what plays to run.  I saw this in week 1 or 2 when Ben wanted to run a play to avoid a challenge flag on a fumble but he was told to wait for a substitution.  This also could have led to the slow play calling at the end of the Raiders game.  Ben's bone-headed time-out (which even I knew was stupid), may actually have been passive-aggressive against Haley.

3. Rebuilding

I had asked about this months ago, and I have more data about "rebuilding" and why it's dangerous.  Basically, to rebuild, a team needs to fire their non-performing yet high salary cap players - which means that for one year the team absorbs a big cap hit, and that peforce will lead to a very bad year, as there's not enough money to pay for good players.  After that one year, the team can rebuild through the draft (or whatever).  So rebuilding is a multi-year process.

Looking at the changes from 2012 to 2013, I'd say we may have done a portion of that anyway.  We have a lot of rookies.  Yet we still have big money people who could be dead-weight.

4. Spring 2012, Bad Building
I think the reporters need to focus on the 2012 offseason as a keyhole into the current troubles, because that's when Bruce Arians was fired - sloppily - and when we had an absolute disaster of a draft.

This is not to say Arians should have stayed - as can be seen in the past few seasons, he was all grow'd up and deserved to move on anyway.  But the Steelers said he "retired" when he clearly didn't want to; he was fired despite what Tomlin wanted, and misinformation was spread.  And Haley was hired - despite being a unsuccessful weirdo - yet he had strong Steeler connections (his father worked for them for years).   All I can surmise from the BA firing is that there was crass sloppiness and bad decision making.  That was in February.

Then came the draft, April 26-28 2012. Part of the '12 disaster came from injuries (DeCastro out for a year, Spence out for 2), but we also acquired at least three guys with character issues: Adams (drugs), Ta'amu (heavy drinking), Rainey (abuse).  

This is the primo chart from the Wiki.

1 24 Pittsburgh Steelers David DeCastro  G Stanford Pac-12

2 56 Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Adams  OT Ohio State Big Ten

3 86 Pittsburgh Steelers Sean Spence  LB Miami (FL) ACC

4 109 Pittsburgh Steelers Alameda Ta'amu  DT Washington Pac-12

5 159 Pittsburgh Steelers Chris Rainey  RB Florida SEC

7 231 Pittsburgh Steelers Toney Clemons  WR Colorado Pac-12

7* 240 Pittsburgh Steelers David Paulson  TE Oregon Pac-12

7* 246 Pittsburgh Steelers Terrence Frederick  CB Texas A&M Big 12

7* 248 Pittsburgh Steelers Kelvin Beachum  G SMU C-USA

Rating this draft:
  1. DeCastro = still on the team, and looks to be very good.
  2. Adams = smoking doobies in '12.  Won team Rookie of the Year. Then got stabbed after midnight near a nighclub in the '13 pre-season.  This year he's been benched because he seems to suck at his job.  Pundits say he lacks aggressiveness.  I'd say that marijuana will do that to ya.
  3. Spence = a tragedy.  He may play this year, but the injury has been terrible.
  4. Ta'amu = didn't play last year; went on a drunk driving rampage during the season; was cut in the 2013 preseason
  5. Rainey = played all last year; was cut after hitting his girlfriend in public; had a history of violence
  6. Clemons = has never played; bounced around from practice squad to PS.
  7. Paulson = playing this year for Steelers; stinks
  8. Fredrick = see Clemons
  9. Beachum = crazy enough, seems like a diamond in the rough.  Is 2013 starting LT over the 2nd rounder (Adams)
Talley: Injury losses (2), cut before ever playing in Pittsburgh (3), playing (badly) in Pitt (3, Rainey Paulson Adams), playing well in Pitt (2, DeCastro Beachum).  If we get Spence back, then some of the cost of last year is paid back, but busting out of half of the first 4 rounds is bad bad bad.

All of this goes back to the starting question: what the heck happened in 2012 that caused the messy firing of Arians and the terrible scouting for the draft?  If I can get an anwer to that, I can explain possibly why the team is in bad shape now. 

And, postscript, we will suffer the gap because of the cruddy 2012 daft for a few years. 

5. Endzone?
I didn't watch the game Sunday, but the pundits tell me that the play-calling on the scoring drives rarely has Ben just pass into the endzone.  Why not?  Ben is good at that.  Another mystery.

6. Random Point
A certain amount of hay is made this week about how Big Ben thinks Brady is the best QB because of the SB wins ('the rings') but that may be just to set himself up for being the best when he gets a 3rd ring.

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