Its mid September and the Steelers could be in the middle of their worst start since 2002, after dropping a 20-10 decision to the Cincinnati Bengals whose sting continues into mid-week.
Steelers Nation is filled with a lot of Sound and Fury as fans and pundits seek to assign blame. Yet before the Black and Gold faithful can claim vengeance on their scapegoats, they must first answer the 5 Burning Questions left in the wake of the Bengals loss.
1. Tony Defeo recently declared that he was "OK with lowered expectations" for the Steelers. Contrary to word from the front office, the Steelers are rebuilding or at least reloading. Do you think Kevin Colbert's attempts to deny this fact have set unrealistic expectation in Steelers Nation or had an negative impact on the attitude and mentality of this team?
2. Johnny Mitchell and Dick LeBeau are committed to rotating their defensive lineman. This left Al Woods manning the middle at the goal line when Cincinnati scored its first touchdown. Are they being too sticking to their rotation too rigidly?
3. Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review tweeted this after the game:
Take away Redman and Paulson first-quarter fumbles past 2 weeks and replace with TD and I'd like to see how those games played out.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) September 17, 2013
Objectively speaking, this observation is true. But what does it reveal? Does it show how close the Steelers can be to becoming contenders again, or does it indicate how far we've fallen into mediocrity?
4. Mike Tomlin opened training camp with live tackling for the first time since Chuck Noll's retirement. Theoretically, an edge the Steelers would gain with Tomlin's approach would be improved tackling. Yet, as PaVASteeler has pointed out, poor tackling allowed several Bengals to extend runs and/or drives. Was Tomlin's live tackling training camp worth the risk?
5. Lost in the Steelers first 0-2 start since 2002 is the fact that Felix Jones opened the game with a 35 yard kick return and Antonio Brown returned his first punt for 40 yards. And there were no long returns allowed or even dumb penalties. Could Danny Smith be turning things around or am I jinxing things by merely asking the question....?
There you go folks have at it!
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