Sometimes you have to step back and look around. When I say step back not only do you have to take a larger look at the Steelers situation; you also need to look at the NFL in general. There have been great pieces on possible bye week to do lists for the Steelers. Bleacher Report had a great one and the PG Post have had nice pieces on the offense and defense. The offense seems to have gotten the most attention.
I am not comfortable how the offense's progress is being evaluated. This is going to be a long process. A new system and new play caller is a huge install. We probably will not know where the offense is until next year. It takes a while for a new system to work out the kinks most of the time. Some of the stats that have been pointed to show how the offense is doing are self defeating.
Raving about Time of Possession and 3rd Down Conversions is silly at times. When Haley was hired last year, some analyst said a more balanced approach would help with TOP. The Steelers were number 2 in TOP in 2011. Yea they are #1 so far. Is everything now okay with that one slot? The long drives this year are nothing new. The Steelers are # 1 in 3rd Down Con. this year and #4 in 2011. Yes there has been improvement but it was not an area of concern. What about scoring?
Yes scoring is up but so is everyone's. The 25.7 pts per game is a big improvement in scoring for the Steelers but their 13th ranking is in line with what they have being doing (21st - 2011, 12th - 2010, 12th - 2009, 20th - 2008 and 19th - 2007). Injuries in '11 and '08 were a pain but both were playoff years and in '08 was a Super Bowl year. That is not bad for off years. Things may look better but they are about the same. Ben is still getting thumped too.
Not going to talk about the running game. Let the team talk about that and the less I hear about how FB's and commitment to the run will work magic the better. Again the bottom line is this is going to be a long process. Time is the only way to evaluate the process. What about the Defense?
Coach LeBeau could fix every problem with the Defense and have everyone working like a machine in the current system and there still will be problems. Scoring is up and passing is insane. There was an article about tweaking the rules to help the defense on ESPN.COM. I think Coach Tomlin and LeBeau know this. With scoring the way it is in the NFL the Steelers are not alone with this problem. The bye week just gave the Steelers and early shot to work on it.
I am happy the first bye week has given the Steelers an early shot to work at their problems. I am happy week five is here.