The Pittsburgh Steelers are dealing with disappointment for the second week in a row after the Kansas City Chiefs came into Heinz Field and dismantled the home team. Heading into Week 3, the team must slowly turn its attention away from the embarrassing loss and solely focus on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their Week-3, prime-time matchup. Something I did last season and I’m going to start again is the Black-and-Gold Links article.
This is an article where I take stories from quality news sources across the Internet, and add them here for your viewing pleasure. I won’t be posting the entire articles, but I’ll link each story and author so that you can read the full article.
Today we focus on the glaring need for the Steelers’ defense to fix the communication issues which seem to be surrounding Keith Butler’s unit, and we look at how these issues might be rectified.
Let’s get to the news:
By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Receivers running wide open down the field — not just once, but on multiple occasions.
Confused players sprinting onto the field, getting into alignment just before the ball was snapped. Other times, a similar frantic run was stopped as an annoyed teammate shooed him back to the sideline.
Communication issues, by the defensive coordinator’s own admission, not just among the secondary but within the front seven as well.
To put it bluntly: It wasn’t just the final score that was ugly for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense in last week’s 42-37 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
It’s difficult to pin down a worst moment for coordinator Keith Butler’s crew last Sunday. But when half of the defense was running one scheme and another half was in a different set during a first-quarter snap deep in Steelers territory, the result was an easy Travis Kelce 19-yard touchdown.
“We have a quarterback on the (defense), and we always have to play what he is playing,” Butler said. “Even if he is wrong, we all have to be wrong. We all have to be ‘wrong,’ and we will be right if we do that.
“I know that doesn’t make sense to y’all, but it makes sense to our guys.”
Steelers fans watching some of the carnage might think the defensive calls weren’t making sense.
The defense was facing one of the NFL’s better offenses in the Chiefs, and its issues ranged well beyond communication. But the players and coaches on the unit themselves acknowledged confusion was a significant factor in allowing three times as many touchdowns (six) as punts (two) during Kansas City’s 11 meaningful drives.
It’s an issue that must be addressed by Monday when the Steelers face a Tampa Bay team that leads the league in total yards (482.5) and passing yards (405.0) per game and is second in scoring at 37.5.
“Everybody needs to be talking, linebackers and safeties, making sure the linebackers and the D-linemen hear it,” cornerback Joe Haden said. “So it’s just echoing the calls. I think that’s about it (to fix the issues).”
By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Antonio Brown is accountable for his actions and took full responsibility for causing distractions for the Pittsburgh Steelers, even if he mostly blamed it on the media for magnifying his life under a microscope.
The All-Pro wide receiver spoke publicly Thursday at Steelers headquarters for the first time since his “trade me” tweet, explaining his emotions are tied directly to being in the business of winning.
And business is anything but booming.
So, as Brown tells it, the heated sideline exchanges between Brown and assistant coaches Randy Fichtner and Darryl Drake in the 42-37 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday was merely a misunderstanding.
Simply, the Steelers were losing, and Brown wants to win.
“We haven’t won a game yet. For me, as a Steeler, that’s unacceptable,” Brown said. “I’m not on the sideline begging for the ball or making statements like you guys make. I’m (angry). We’re losing. We (stink).”
If you were expecting a public apology, you’ve got the wrong guy.
Brown did offer a mea culpa for forcing his teammates to answer questions about his tweet, which he called “a stupid remark online.” But he was otherwise defiant, a trait one teammate called “that dog in him” that carried Brown from sixth-round draft pick to NFL superstardom.
“You guys make assumptions about my emotions. You don’t know me at all,” Brown said. “Everyone in this locker room knows what I stand for, knows what I’m about.”
By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN
On the offensive, an unapologetic and defiant Antonio Brown replaced his signature ear-to-ear smile with tense, sometimes combative words.
His Thursday session with the media was an extension of frustrations he expressed about the media back in the spring, offering a hint of contrition about his turbulent 72 hours -- mainly, his “trade me” tweet that he called a “stupid remark” and a distraction for his Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brown is on edge, and has been for a while. He’s hot. And it’s still hard to believe what’s real, like what did Steelers coach Mike Tomlin really know about Brown’s Monday absence before it happened?
But Brown’s broad message -- being “pissed off” the team’s not winning -- resonates in the Steelers’ locker room as just the edge this team needs after an 0-1-1 start.
”That’s what you want the team to be thinking -- to be pissed off,” running back Stevan Ridley said.
Brown and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner are cool, with Fichtner calling the sideline exchange a nonissue. And teammates expect Brown to go off on Monday Night Football against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Coming off Brown’s previous two controversies -- the Facebook Live broadcast in the locker room during the playoff two years ago and the flipped Gatorade cooler early last season -- Brown produced a combined 17 catches for 234 yards in the following games. In the Jacksonville game, Brown got 19 targets, or 25 percent of the Steelers’ offense.
Guard Ramon Foster acknowledges Brown was rattled Sunday but dominates when the focus stays intact.
”It’s more mental than anything,” Foster said of Brown’s game. “The physical part is just what he does. The mental part is when his mind is made up, that’s what makes him great. He’s not a weak guy. He’s a guy who understands and laughs at this stuff because he knows the end of this is going to be something great for him. I look forward to him bouncing up big time.”