Thoughts from a fan who does not think the sky is falling after 3 games
First, I have to say that I find it disgusting how many so-called "fans" bash our team with such vitriol and hatred evident in their words. We have people talking about Casey's "fat ass" getting pushed around, forgetting that this guy has bled black and gold for us for a decade. We have people screaming for Dick Lebeau's head, when the man had a defense in the Super Bowl two years ago and led the number-one ranked defense last year. There was one freaking idiot who was somehow stupid enough to be ranting about how Ben is "overrated" after he has put together an excellent three-game stretch to start the season and is the absolute least of our problems and, indeed, far and away our biggest strength at this point.
I mean, do you people even enjoy rooting for this team? I'd hate to be in your shoes on Sundays, to be honest. Doesn't seem like it's much fun, and after all, that is what being a fan is all about. So really, I feel sorry for you haters.
Anyway, here are my assessments after our admittedly disappointing 1-2 start.
- A brief point: Yes, we are 1-2 but those two losses have both come in west coast road games, which we know are rarely easy.
- I will admit that I have never known in my 12 seasons as a Steeler fan (I'm 22) our defense to play this poorly. It is upsetting how wide open opposing receivers have been, and it is time for Lebeau to tweak what he's been doing, as it is clearly not working with this group. Let's not forget, however, that Keenan Lewis is a first time starter and Mundy has had to fill in for either Troy or Clark in each of the first 3 games. Once we get those two back playing together there will be improvement. Mundy has not shown himself to be anything more than a back-up, unfortunately. It is time to admit that. As for those hating on Ike, I don't know what your watching. He is not a top-tier corner, but he is consistently solid and we could do a lot worse with our number one.
- Never though I'd say this, but we need Mendy back. Redman is better than Dwyer IMO, but they are not a strong enough one-two punch to carry this backfield. Once Rashard is back, him and Red have the potential to be a solid team back there. Our running game will improve with Mendy's return, and (later on) Decastro's. I know people here endorse Dwyer, but to be honest I don't see it.
- It's still mystifying our inability to force turnovers the past 20 games. A big part of that is the lack of a pass rush, which can be attributed largely to the fact that Wood and Harrison have scarcely been on the field together since last September. Is anyone seeing a theme here? We need to get our guys healthy and be able to put our best unit out there. Carter and Worilds are both not ready for prime-time; I don't know if they ever will be.
- Finally, on a positive note, we are seeing a Ben Roethlisberger at the top of his game. He is throwing the rock in a way that I have not seen previously, and he is primed to have his best season (I said this going in.) He has never had the arsenal of weapons that he has right now with AB (yesterday's miscues not withstanding), Wallace, Sanders, and (finally we are using him in the red zone like we should have been all along!) Heath. For the first time since I've been a fan, our defense is the problem, and our offense has the potential to be exceedingly explosive and our greatest strength.
So, let's all take one big chill pill and recognize that 3 games a season does not make. Our offense has looked encouraging so far; if Lebeau can get the defense where it needs to be, and we can get healthy, this team could still make some noise. Ben gives us a chance to win every week, no matter who we are playing. Don't forget that the Giants were 7-7 through 14 games last season, and we know how their season ended. So let's have a little faith around here. Mods, I think perhaps we should think about opening up a new section of the board for the doom-and-gloom crowd, because frankly I find them a depressing drag on Steeler Nation.