In the chaos following the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, almost every player was forced to answer question after question about what went wrong and whether the sky was truly falling. The usually reserved Troy Polamalu answered questions honestly, and painted a picture as to what might truly be wrong with the Steelers' porous defense.
Listen to Troy Polamalu's answers in the BTSC feature 'Inside the Steelers Locker Room' following the loss, and you'll hear a captain truly disappointed in the defensive performance of the unit he leads, but also him pointing to one surprisingly telling aspect of how the team needs to improve.
Q: The penalties seem to be a recurring issue in the first two games. Anything you can do to fix those?
A: "Just work on playing cleaner. Practicing better."
Q: There was a lot of talk last week about lack of communication. Was that an issue this week or just simple execution?
A: "Our communication was on point, it's just about execution for sure."
Q: What can be done about that?
A: "Practice better."
There is a recurring theme within these comments, and as Allen Iverson would say "we talkin' about practice."
Polamalu's comments in regard to the Steelers needing to practice better paints a bad picture for the players and coaches within this organization.
Anyone that has ever played a sport at some point in their lives knows that preparation, or practice, plays a critical role in the outcome of a team's performances. Polamalu repeatedly stating practice habits are an issue speaks of a team that needs to focus more and put in time off of the field to address the changes needed on it.
The coaching staff would be wise to listen to the team captain's message. They have a long week of preparation ahead before traveling to Charlotte, NC, to face the Carolina Panthers. This is a game presenting an opportunity for the Steelers to get this terrible taste out of their mouths by winning a big victory on the road in prime time.
These comments apply to the entire team, coaches included, and if the communication issues after Week 1 were solved by Week 2, then the practice issues should be fixed by Week 3 and, hopefully, the team's play on the field will improve.
The extended break this team received after the Thursday night game could be the perfect remedy for this Steelers team and coaching staff as they prepare for the Panthers next week.