clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 Burning Questions on the Steelers

Is it officially time to hit the "PANIC BUTTON?" If so, what does that mean? Why is the Steelers' confidence so shallow and can the coaches do anything about it? Answer these and other Burning Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brett Kesiel is about to make a tackle. 42 yards downfield.....
Brett Kesiel is about to make a tackle. 42 yards downfield.....
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the return of LeBron James, the national media has been dying to write the story of a sports-fueled, Rust-Belt Revival in Cleveland. It was with that background story in place that the Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to face their historic rival the Browns, with the Browns favored for the first time in half a generation.

Unfortunately, for the Black and Gold, this one went exactly as it was scripted.

The Steelers ugly 31-10 loss at the Mistake by the Lake has left lots of people saying lots of things, thus giving us this "He said, She said," edition of the 5 Burning Questions.

1. Shortly after the game, Dejan Kovacevic pointed to Tom Brady's recent eruption and offered this:

Brady didn't just shake the foundation. He reminded the Patriots that he is that foundation.
Well, so is Roethlisberger for the Steelers. At least for now.
Can you imagine if he pulled a Brady?
Can you imagine if he stood up, just once and in just the right platform - say, a really ugly loss at, oh, Cleveland - and bluntly questioned an offensive game plan that was so embarrassingly out of touch with its own talent, never mind the NFL's current reality?

Do you think it would be wise for Roethlisberger to follow Dejan Kovacevic's advice?

2. In one of the more amazing plays I've seen in actively following the Steelers since '88, Brett Keisel ran 42 yards down field to tackle Jordan Cameron. Does the example of the heart and hustle he provided to the younger members of the defense outweigh the mind-numbingly missed assignment implied by the fact that there's no way Keisel should have been the defender making that tackle?

3. Regardless of the Steelers' final record, when January rolls around, it will (and should) be forgotten that the Steelers' defense actually dominated the first 15 minutes of this game. Upon reviewing the tape, site editor Neal Coolong observed this:

Six plays run for -8 yards, and a defensive front-seven that looked powerful against a good offensive line. It seemed like the big play to Jordan Cameron really shook the defense up. They didn't play with the same sense of confidence after that.

A similar thought occurred to me as well. Sometimes the best friend a defender can have is a short memory. What, if anything, can the coaches do to ensure that a single play doesn't shake up the team for the balance of the game?

4. Here's a two-parter: After echoing Bill Cowher's obervations that the Steelers had become soft on defense and a finesse-team on offense, Steelers legend Hines Ward went on to declare:

"They're very close to hitting the panic button."

Our own PaVa Steeler suggests a different, 12-step approach to the Steelers' situation which would begin with:

We admit that as a team we're not good and, if nothing changes on the part of the coaches, players, front office and ownership, failure will invariably result.

If you haven't already, take a moment to read his article.

Which approach should the Steelers take? The Panic Button route or PaVa Steeler's 12-Step approach? And if you opt for Hines' suggestion, what exactly does "Hitting the Panic Button" involve?

5. Mike Tomlin pointed out that J.J. Watt has three touchdowns this season, or one more than the Steelers' offense has in the last two weeks. What does that fact say to you, and does the Steelers' offense have any prayer of stopping him?

There you go folks, have at it.