The Steelers suffered a terrible loss that could cost them the playoffs unless they win two out of their last three games. The Steelers have made next week a virtual must-win, which complicates the whole season. But it’s clear the Steelers should do a few things, regardless of the result of the season, even if they win the Super Bowl.
Thus, here are six key takeaways from tonight’s crushing loss:
Fire Keith Butler ASAP
Keith Butler is terrible. I question if there’s a worse DC in the entire NFL. He has no understanding of modern NFL defensive concepts. Granted, not many DCs have embraced the modern defensive concepts like Vic Fangio has in Chicago, but the players simply are not being put in a position to succeed by Keith Butler. Here. check this out:
Fire Keith Butler into the sun. Don't know how Fort is supposed to defend this, he couldn't do it much better. Butler should be fired immediately. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/leGO4gtTc9— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 10, 2018
Why is Terrell Edmunds on the RB and not the TE? Sure, Edmunds also isn’t great at covering them, but he sure has a better shot at covering Jared Cook than L.J. Fort does. Fort is a good player and he just doesn’t have the setup to be successful here. He plays it as well as he can, and the fact that assignments like this are passed as good in the Steelers defense should bring shame to every Steelers fans.
Their scheme is more outdated than the VCR is, and quite frankly, it is not even Tomlin’s scheme. The new NFL loves to blitz and disguise, and while the blitzes are there, Tomlin’s coverages, which include a heavy dose of man coverage, really aren’t there. Tomlin needs to get rid of Butler and throw his scheme in here.
Right now it is just a corpse of Dick LeBeau’s defense.
James Washington responded well
Maybe it was the catch on the crisply run slant, but I saw a better route runner today in Washington. He was rounding off his stems where he needed to on hitches, and seemed to have a better sense of timing as a whole. However, his response was felt at the end of game, on the lateral where he came through huge.
James Washington redeemed himself today, if not for his early catch, it is this play here. Great grab by rounding off his stem and then coming through with the pitch. I am glad Washington at least rose to the occasion when they needed him most. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/C9e0GKOUpS— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 10, 2018
Washington here rounds that stem off right when he needed to, and as such, gained enough separation to where this pitch play was a beautiful call. Washington executed this perfectly, and as such, I give him a huge credit to doing great here.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is the future of the Steelers’ offense
JuJu shows up every week and performs to the fullest extent of his abilities. There is not a guy who gives his all more than JuJu does. This guy bleeds football, and I am here for it. From that great lateral play, to the fantastic grab at the end of the half, JuJu is the best receiver the Steelers have drafted since Antonio Brown. I look forward to seeing him develop into a top 5 receiver, because he already has top 10 locked down.
This guy is just a monster.
Morgan Burnett and Terrell Edmunds are brutal
Imagine getting burnt on a vertical seam on Tampa 2. Only the #Steelers. Burnett is late in his mirroring, and Edmunds is lost and a step late. Goodness this is bad. pic.twitter.com/MSz1C73c3n— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 10, 2018
How...literally how? Tampa 2 and you get burnt on a vertical seam. That should never, ever happen. That is hard to do, and if Burnett turns his head around, this might be an INT, but nope, a long completion, because of course, it is the Steelers. Edmunds is lost and a step late coming over the top, which he should have done once he saw Burnett gets a step behind Roberts, and Burnett doesn’t mirror at first. Burnett has been a terrible signing, and Edmunds, a really bad pick so far.
Jaylen Samuels balled out
Hey, Jaylen Samuels is it and deserves more snaps. Dude was a bright spot today. Fantastic job in the receiving game to really break tackles. Raw as a runner, but he has potential. Let him drop 10 pounds, get some burst, and watch this cat be a stud with Conner. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/mh23Xr4UrX— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 10, 2018
Jaylen Samuels is really solid and deserves more snaps, period. He never went down on first contact Sunday, and clearly had an ability to create yards after the catch. As a running back, I liked his tenacity and I think he can improve with burst by shedding a few pounds and becoming really dynamic. He and James Conner could really be an impressive duo moving forward, as Samuels looks to be a steal in the 5th round.
This team’s mindset is wack
I saw David DeCastro say that the Steelers were “tired”. In other words, they were content with the winning streak, underestimated their challenges, and have lost three in a row. I am doubting they play like this again, but what I will say is this is inexcusable. Mike Tomlin can not let this team fall asleep, period. I think this team will steal one game out of the next two because they are great at digging out of holes, and they somehow will find a way to beat the Patriots, but if this is the mindset of the team, how can you defend the head coach? Extremely problematic.