The Pittsburgh Steelers are a proud organization, but there are moments when the team and its players lose sight of the goal at hand. I’ll assume that’s what happened when Jesse James suggested the Steelers were outcoached in Week 5 in their 30-9 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Call me crazy, but I have a feeling Ben Roethlisberger throwing five interceptions in the game had nothing to do with coaching or game plan, but what do I know?
Time to get caught up with all Steelers news outside the walls of BTSC...
It’s one thing for the Jaguars to crow that the Steelers played into their hands on Sunday. It’s another thing for a Steelers player to say it.
At a time when so much focus has been devoted to things said by offensive players like Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, a mid-level member of the offense may have provided the clearest indication yet regarding one of the biggest problems in Pittsburgh: Predictability.
“I think defenses have had good game plans for us,” tight end Jesse James said after the 30-9 loss, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “Jacksonville did a good job [on Sunday] taking away crossing routes, which we’ve been using the past couple of weeks. Obviously, they game-planned for that, hanging in the flat there, keeping an eye on us coming across. . . . I think we will just hopefully be a little less predictable, get more game-plan stuff in.”
While tactful, it’s a clear criticism of offensive coordinator Todd Haley. It’s ultimately his responsibility to ensure that the game plans change enough from week to week to avoid situations like this, and also to disguise the offensive strategy from snap to snap.
Some (like Ben McAdoo) would say good execution can cure these flaws. But if there’s an issue with both execution and telegraphing of plays, the Steelers are going to have plenty more days like the one they had on Sunday. And Steelers fans, whose patience is rarely tested because the team is rarely mediocre or worse, could quickly become restless.
A second-round pick or an undrafted free agent?
In the culture of the NFL, a second-round pick is always going to get the benefit of the doubt with that scenario, and the Steelers' Eli Rogers believes he’s now experiencing that first-hand.
Despite being one of Ben Roethlisberger's most dependable targets a year ago, Rogers was a game-day inactive the past two weeks, presumably because of a muffed punt early during the Week-3 loss to the Bears, while JuJu Smith-Schuster continues to pile up the snaps.
Rogers said he was told that his benching was over one muff and not his receiving play.
“To my knowledge, it’s nothing to do with offense,” Rogers said following Wednesday’s practice leading up to Sunday’s game against Kansas City. “Yeah, that’s crazy, but it’s real.”
Rogers doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that he made one mistake and was banished to the bench while Smith-Schuster — whom he didn’t mention by name — continues to play.
“I’m undrafted so things are weighted a little differently, and I understand that.”
When Rogers was asked if he thinks a second-round pick gets the benefit of the doubt over an undrafted free agent, he said: “What do you think?”
Steelers Nation Unite is calling on all fans in the Kansas City area this weekend to be part of a Road Warrior Block Party on Saturday evening. Join Steelers Nation Unite, the Kansas City Steelers Fan Club and fans from all over as they get ready for Sunday’s matchup between the Steelers and the Chiefs.
The event is taking place at Callahan's On 87th, located at 12843 W 87th St Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 66215, and begins at 6:00 p.m. (CT). Fans will be admitted on a first-come first-served basis.
Former Steelers LaMarr Woodley and Jason Gildon will make appearances at the party, answer questions during a live Q&A session and be available for limited photo opportunities during the event.
Steelers Live will be broadcasting from the Road Warrior Block Party, with a live stream beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Steelers.com. Fans can keep up with all the excitement at the party by following the Steelers and Steelers Nation Unite on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
For more information about the event, visit SteelersNationUnite.com now.