Re: What we've learned...
Zone, you called this downfall out after Week 1 vs Baltimore last year. Nobody was ready to call it how it looked because the Steelers have surprised us so much in the past, but you were dead on then and you are now. Ben is an excellent QB, but he's no longer clutch as you said. Didn't get it done last night, couldn't get the TD vs the Eagles, threw the pick 6 to seal the game in Denver...he just doesn't have the magic any more and he hasn't had it since not being able to move the ball at all on the last drive of the SB vs the Packers. You mentioned Tomlin then and now as part of the problem and there's no doubt that he is. This "standard" stuff is nonsense, there's a reason you have starters and there's a reason other guy's are riding the pine, not everybody can just step up and fill the role, that's why they are not a starter in the first place. The cliche's and the lack of emotion is ridiculous too. He reminds me of a "cool dad" who has a son in high school and instead of being a father, he goofs around and tries to just be the kids friend, usually screwing up the kid in the long run. May not be the best analogy, but that's what I see. As far as the situational football, it's as if a TO or a big defensive stop actually lulls our offense to sleep instead of firing them up. I don't think we lose on the road because of the O line not hearing as well, I think we lose on the road because the players play like they have a hang over when on the road. At home our players get fired up (not like they used to but more then on the road) and it usually translates into a few plays being made. The team used to be like that on the road, knowing that they need to be fired up for each other, but that died in 2010 too.
Most people will disagree, but I don't see this team being dominant again under Tomlin. When Cowher's players were still elite in 2008, they were possibly the best defense to ever play and we won a SB. As Cowher's players declined we were able to make it to the SB, but couldn't win it, and got lucky that the Ravens collapsed against us and the Jets somehow beat the Patriots who pulled our pants down earlier that year. Now we are pretty much left with a few guys well past their prime from Cowher's team (except Ben), and a lot of new guys from Tomlin's team, and it's not good. These newer guys like Hood, Lewis, Allen, McClendon, Worilds, etc. came in under Tomlin, and they just don't have the heart that Cowher inspired his teams to play with. On top of that, our draft picks under Tomlin have not panned out: Hood is average, none of our CB's are worth a crap, Worilds played well when filling in last year but can't stay healthy and definitely hasn't shown he's ready to be our next pass rusher. Carter isn't either. On the O line we have drafted young guys that can't stay healthy and spent a #2 pick on a guy (Adams) who looks lost on the field. The jury is still out on Heyward, but that pretty much sums up what our defensive drafts have been like under Tomlin. Timmons is the only one looking like he was worth a top pick, but we had to wait a long time to see that and I'm not convinced his great play will continue.
Enough of the not "rebuilding, only reloading". We don't have the foundation to reload on defense and we don't have the coaching staff to be able to only reload again. IMO we don't even have the coaching staff to choose the right players to reload with.