Friday, September 19, 2014

Will the Steelers be ready?

For the second consecutive week, the Steelers go on the road for a prime-time TV game (ugh) against a team coming together with an "us-against-the-world" mentality because one of their star players is at the swirling center of the NFL's Domestic Violence nightmare.

The Steelers had better be ready.

Baltimore should have been the team with distractions last week, but it was the Steelers who seemed off their collective game. It's doubtful whether Todd Haley missing the team flight had anything to do with it, as weird as that seems, but it couldn't have helped. Not a good look.
The opportunity is there, if the Steelers are
willing and able to reach out and grasp it.

This week, the Steelers visit Charlotte to play a Carolina team that has a good defense even without the execrable Greg Hardy, who will get paid about $777,000 this week for staying home because of the ugly charges of domestic violence against him. It's been a distraction for emotional head coach Ron Rivera and the bloodless Panthers' organization this week.

We guarantee, however, that the Panthers' players themselves will adopt the tired-and-true "us against the world" approach, which tends to coalesce team unity, galvanize motivation and focus players. Count on it.

The Steelers had better be ready. The past three seasons, Mike Tomlin's teams have gotten their seasons off to slow starts. This year, the Black 'n Gold came out with guns blazing in the first half vs. Cleveland. They've been outplayed in every quarter since.

One thing we've found a bit curious: Why has Justin Brown played on 112 of the team's 132 offensive snaps?  The backup tight end, Matt Spaeth, has 12 snaps. The backup running back, LeGarrette Blount, has seven carries in two games. Go figure.

Speaking of Todd Haley, here is what he had to say this week, and make of it what you will:
"I don’t think you are going to be what you are going to be until the end of the season. The idea is to continually get better. We showed signs in the first game. Last game that was an important thing, to show some signs of being a good offense. We didn’t show enough. But really when you broke it down in the first five possessions there were one, two or sometimes five plays that if little things had been done, and I am not talking about major things, just little technique things, there would have been a different outcome on those possessions. Obviously the fumbles are easy to see and the most obvious but on that first possession we probably had five plays that had one guy done their job just a little better or a little more the way they were supposed to do it, we might have scored before that play even occurred. We just have to really stay focused on that, guys doing what they are supposed to be doing and doing it the way they are being coached. And I think we have the ability to go out and be a really good offense if we do that. 
"Carolina has a quality defense that plays really well, whether they are home or away. They create turnovers. They make you go the distance of the field. They don’t give up big plays. We are going to have to be on our game. We can’t have many of those plays I was just talking about."

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