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Re: Key Things to Take Note of at 6-4
Key Things to Take Note of at 6-5
I was reading the comments in the Week 12 game thread, and I was just confused. I was dumbfounded that these were the same people commenting in this thread saying the things you guys were. I mean, I've grown accustomed to the Fire Tomlin! comments, but the amount of negativity over a week 12 loss was a little bit ridiculous.
Let's start with the most obvious one: we need Ben back. And by need, I don't mean 'hey, it'd be nice to have him back' it's more like 'fuck me do we need Ben back.' He's the captain and leader of this team, but more importantly, he's the franchise quarterback. Without him, the offense falls apart. The Steelers live and die with Ben at the helm - but for us as Steelers fans to panic when he's not playing is the absolute stupidest thing I've ever heard. Which leads me to ...
Why Are We Panicking?
We lost with our third string quarterback. This is a guy that isn't even suppose to dress, let alone take any snaps in practice and more importantly - take game snaps. He's the third string quarterback for a reason - he isn't very good. Despite this, I see comments like 'HOLY SHIT BATCH SUCKS' .. Yet, there were threads asking for him to start over Leftwich. Batch isn't very good and that became blatantly obvious today, but he's a third string - he isn't supposed to play.
However, I'm still seeing comments saying "we're done. our seasons over." No, and it's not even close to being over. We're in the 6th seed right now despite the Bengals' win. We gave the Ravens a run for their money and, despite 7 turnovers, made Cleveland sweat. This is a team built on resilience and are going to come out swinging against the Ravens in M&T, hopefully with Ben at the helm.
There's still a lot of football to be played. We're 6-5. We're not cozy by any means, but if we string a couple of wins together we'd be set. Keep in mind, this is a weak and watered down AFC that will probably allow an 8-8 team into the playoffs. We won't be 8-8 by the end of the season. If Ben comes back, we're looking at running the table with this team. That being said, we need a run game.
We Don't Have a Number One Back on Our Roster
We just don't. We have a 6th round guy who our fanbase seems to love, despite being ineffective for most of the game and can't string together snaps to save his life. Then, we have "Redzone" Redman who is playing outside the Redzone which is a mistake. Finally, we have a fan favorite (kidding) in Mendenhall who is under performing this year and will probably be gone at the end of the season. What does this mean? 2013 is a deep class for a running back.
Dwyer isn't capable of being a number one back despite what a lot of you will say. He doesn't have the stamina or speed to be a legitimate threat in the NFL. Once the defense closes the middle, Dwyer becomes useless. He's great for short yardage, but he's not a number one back and it's really not even close. He's leading me to believe that he plays more consistently like the Dwyer we saw in the first four games, and his two 100 yard games were anomalies.
What does this mean? We have to draft one, or acquire one in free agency. There's guys like Kenjon Barner and Knile Davis who will be available in the third round and beyond, and we have to take a chance on one of these guys. They've shown more and are elite prospects in a very deep RB class. Knile Davis was a surefire top 15 pick prior to this season, but his injuries and weak OLine have severely damaged his stock. This is something we have to pounce on.
How Can We Blame Mike Tomlin?
Mike didn't turn it over 7 times. In fact, he tried his absolute best to limit the turnovers. Mendenhall fumbled, he sat. Then, Redman came in and fumbled and rode the pine. Everyone turned to Dwyer, and he fumbled and eventually sat. Finally, Rainey fumbled and was only kept in the game because we didn't have another back to turn to. How can this possibly be pinned on Mike Tomlin?
He's coaching a team missing 4 Pro Bowlers, one of which is the franchise quarterback. Despite this fact, he got his team prepared and gave a 7-2 Ravens team a run for their money, and a kickoff return let them win. Then, he turns to his third string quarterback and almost wins against Cleveland. Say what you want about Cleveland, but winning without 4 Pro Bowlers and 2 starting offensive linemen - in Cleveland - would have been impressive. It also would have been overlooked by many of you.
How can we possibly pin any of this on Tomlin? His defense played well and the offense didn't - an offense without Roethlisberger. The standard is the standard, but expecting Charlie to play even 1/10th of the way Ben does is unrealistic. He's a hell'uva coach, and one of the best in the NFL.
I was out driving after the game and saw a car accident which I solely blame on Mike Wallace. Pinning the loss on Mike Wallace is almost as ridiculous as saying that - which a lot of you were keen on doing. Sure, he caused an interception, but all 4 running backs fumbled, even your beloved Jonathan Dwyer. Then, Batch threw and absolutely atrocious ball that was somewhat in the vicinity of Wallace and he gets blamed for not fighting the corner off it. Do you guys see how ridiculous that sounds? I mean, how many different ways can we scapegoat Mike Wallace and not recognize the problem is not having Ben out there throwing to him. I understand it's easier to put a name and a face to our problems, but Mike Wallace isn't it.
We Have an Elite Defense
How many other defenses would have been able to hold a team to 20 points after giving it away 7 times? I don't care who you're playing, that's an impressive stat. What makes it more impressive is we had two turnovers in our red zone.
The defense shut down that passing attack for most of the game, even when they were constantly gassed because the turnovers on offense. They're resilient and kept bailing the offense out by shutting down the Cleveland offense.
A guy we've been waiting to see come alive all season finally did. James Harrison played like the James Harrison of 5 years ago, and absolutely embarrassed that Cleveland offensive line.
Overall We Still Have a Great Team
This team is still great. The way the defense is playing, all we need is Big Ben back and this team will get rolling. This team is finally starting to get healthy, and when they do, look out. Until then, let's chill with all the negativity. I understand frustration, but frustration only goes so far. The comments I saw were of a fanbase that was giving up - not feeling poorly after losing to a team we should have embarrassed.
This team has the potential to be a serious contender, all we need is 7 under center.