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Old 01-05-2010, 04:40 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default Steelers struggling to begin offseason

The Year After ended yesterday afternoon with a team meeting, with the Super Bowl XLIII champions lost.

"Everybody's kind of sitting in there, 'What do we do now?' " center Justin Hartwig described after the Steelers' post-mortem assembly on the South Side, the day after they concluded their season with a 9-7 record, a three-game winning streak and no more meaningful games for eight months. "It's like we have this ultimate purpose that we're fighting for every week, and now it's like that purpose is gone. It's a letdown for everybody.

"We're after wins. We're after the Lombardi Trophy. It's very black and white. ... Us winning that trophy every year is the standard. That's what we set out to do. Every year, unless you hoist that trophy, you simply weren't good enough."

"That's going to be our single focus, to make it to the Super Bowl," receiver Santonio Holmes added. "We don't want to think of anything else: just making the playoffs, or making it as a wild card. We want to be at the top of our division every year. We don't want to lose any games to our division opponents."

They know when and where their season went awry: the five-game losing streak and in divisional play, with a 2-4 North record and a 6-6 AFC mark.

They know how their season ended short of the playoffs: a failure to hold leads.

There's just one part they still cannot seem to fathom.

"It's tough, man," Holmes began. "To go out at any point knowing that we were capable of winning ... and to have five straight losses ... it hurts. We know that we control our own fate. And things didn't work out in our favor this year. You know, we had a lot of injuries, a lot of things go wrong, a lot of people missing in certain positions and out of place, or sometimes guys playing injured trying to help our team.

"You can't really point a finger at any one guy or any one position this year. A lot of things didn't go our way."

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley added that no blame should be heaped upon the replacements, the players who filled in for ailing Pro Bowlers Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith in their 11-game absences apiece for knee and shoulder injuries.

"I still feel like we were able to win games without those two guys there," Woodley said. "Troy wasn't in there, so we weren't getting as many turnovers, but we still had a lot of opportunities. I mean, I feel like guys stepped up this year and did a great job, we just didn't close out the games. We gave up the big pass plays at the end. We didn't put pressure on the quarterback. We didn't do a good job wrapping up on tackles. We had the games won, it was just that we gave them up at the end."

Six of their seven losses came when the Steelers frittered away fourth-quarter leads.

But that wasn't all on the defense, either. Holmes said the offense played a critical role.

Scoring touchdowns, Holmes said, "we didn't get that job done as many times as we were supposed to this year, as many times as we would've liked to. We didn't produce enough points to win ballgames this season -- we put our defense in a bind at times. That's going to be our focus next year, how well we as a team score touchdowns when we get in the red zone."

Hartwig added: "I've never been on a team where all the games are so close. All those games we won last year, those close games, we didn't win those this year. I think that was the difference, us finishing games. It's not like you can put your finger on one thing: 'If we would've had this one guy, or if we would've done this one thing better, we would've had a better record.' Collectively, as a team, we didn't finish the way we did last year."
Changes?

"I think we have a really, really good core group," Hartwig said. "We're capable of winning the Super Bowl with the group that we have. I would be surprised if there's a lot of turnover. ... Obviously, that's part of the business -- every year there's going to be change, with coaches possibly, with players possibly. Change is inevitable."

Added linebacker James Farrior: "I wouldn't change anything, man. I like this group. I like the coaches."
Bottom line on the line

Hartwig awaits the day when his younger offensive linemates learn the "details:"

"You know what, I was pleased with the way our offensive line progressed from where we started off last year to this year. I think we played better as a unit this year. With that being said, I still think that the sky is the limit. We got a lot of young guys in our room. ... A lot of guys have a lot of potential in that room. I think that guys need to pay more and more attention to little details. Once guys start getting those little things down, I think we have several players in our offensive-line room who are Pro Bowl-capable. I think that in time those guys will take the next step, hopefully."
LeBeau and Limas

Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau informed his defenders in recent weeks that he planned to return next season, despite retirement rumors. "He told our defense they're going to have to kick him on out of here; I took his word for it," Farrior said. "I'm looking forward to coach LeBeau coming back next year. That was pretty much his message to us, 'You've got to get back to work.' "

Limas Sweed, placed on injured reserve Christmas week for illness/personal reasons, visited practice last week. "We all got a chance to see him, talk to him. Keep his spirits up," Holmes said. "I definitely think he's going to be more motivated to come back this year and prove ... that he's going to be a productive receiver in the NFL someday."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10005/1025784-66.stm
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers struggling to begin offseason

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galax Steeler View Post
"Everybody's kind of sitting in there, 'What do we do now?' "
The team melts down and loses 5 in a row to bottom feeders, then squeaks out 3 wins to "salvage" a winning season, then they have a meeting to close the year out and you have this?

This team is in total disarray.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madtowndrunkard View Post
Here's my grades for the year....

Coaching F

- special teams a total disaster from the start and Tomlin failed to react or change anything.
- play calling suspect most of the season
- game plans were poorly thought out against BAD competition
- Underachieved w/ plenty of talent
- unable to motivate or rally players to even beat the worst of teams
- given the easiest schedule we've had in a long long time and still could not come up with game plans to beat the likes of the Browns, Chiefs, Bears, and Raiders.
- made promises and threats but never backed up anything said.
- Team for the most part not prepared
- Struggled to score points with your QB having a career season....2 SB mvp WR's, elite TE, good RBs...etc underachieved offensively and defensively.
F as in FAIL. As in FUBAR. In every phase of the game.

"We understand there are 32 teams vying for it (SB champ), there can only be one. I've been in this league 9 years and 7 times I've been disappointed, uh, that's the reality of it. So if we're not that team, so be it."


"What do we do now?" Yeah Coach. What do we do now? Hello?
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers struggling to begin offseason

These are grown men being paid millions of dollars to do one thing. Play a freaking game. Why does everyone think they need to be treated like 5 years olds in t-ball and encouraged like little babies to do their freaking job?????????
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:11 AM   #4
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Default Wishful thinking by some OR a scary possibility ?

Quote from PG article:

Changes?

"I think we have a really, really good core group," Hartwig said. "We're capable of winning the Super Bowl with the group that we have. I would be surprised if there's a lot of turnover. ...

Added linebacker James Farrior: "I wouldn't change anything, man. I like this group. I like the coaches."


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10005...#ixzz0bjraaiKB



James Farrior has lost 2 steps and knows it.
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wishful thinking by some OR a scary possibility ?

I think it's wishful thinking to think that there won't be changes.

The same article had this quote by James Harrison:

""I think there are going to be a lot of changes, I really do," Harrison said. "It's going to be a little of both. We'll see."

But Harrison, one of two Steelers named last week to the AFC Pro Bowl team, intimated that there needs to be another change next season, as well -- in the attitude of some players. He said the Steelers appeared more interested in personal goals than team goals this season.

"I think at times we played as a team and, at times, we played as individuals," he said. "Sometimes it may have seemed that some individual things were more important than actually the whole concept of the team."

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10005/1025839-66.stm

I think there is some truth to some resentment in the locker room. Not sure to what degree, but Harrison's statement speaks volumes to me.

Hartwig also indicated that players aren't paying enough attention to details:

"... A lot of guys have a lot of potential in that room. I think that guys need to pay more and more attention to little details"

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10005/1025784-66.stm
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Wishful thinking by some OR a scary possibility ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlastFurnace View Post
But Harrison, one of two Steelers named last week to the AFC Pro Bowl team, intimated that there needs to be another change next season, as well -- in the attitude of some players. He said the Steelers appeared more interested in personal goals than team goals this season.

"I think at times we played as a team and, at times, we played as individuals," he said. "Sometimes it may have seemed that some individual things were more important than actually the whole concept of the team."

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10005/1025784-66.stm
This is the special teams problem. They all play as individuals, and not as a core unit, trying to make big hits instead of just playing their gaps and preventing the big play.
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: Wishful thinking by some OR a scary possibility ?

I'm curious about the timing of when things alledgedly sterted going "south" in respect to team solidarity, attention to details and attitude.

Losing brings a lot of negativity to any team, including the SB champs. I wonder if the alledged lack of attention to details, team attitude and solidarity issues began to raise their ugly heads during the 6-2 start or after the losing commenced.

I agree that there will inevitably be changes in personnel as well as to the coaching staff, but a wholesale turnover of both would be a knee jerk reaction. I think the players make valid points, but to have such diverse "takes" on one team's chemistry is confusing at best.
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Wishful thinking by some OR a scary possibility ?

Already posted.

http://forums.steelersfever.com/showthread.php?t=46181

I will, however, merge the threads so that the replies in this thread aren't lost.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: Wishful thinking by some OR a scary possibility ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlastFurnace View Post
The same article had this quote by James Harrison:

""I think there are going to be a lot of changes, I really do," Harrison said. "It's going to be a little of both. We'll see."

But Harrison, one of two Steelers named last week to the AFC Pro Bowl team, intimated that there needs to be another change next season, as well -- in the attitude of some players. He said the Steelers appeared more interested in personal goals than team goals this season.

"I think at times we played as a team and, at times, we played as individuals," he said. "Sometimes it may have seemed that some individual things were more important than actually the whole concept of the team."

http://www.postgazette.com/pg/10005/1025839-66.stm

I think there is some truth to some resentment in the locker room. Not sure to what degree, but Harrison's statement speaks volumes to me.
Harrison cuts-through the crap like he cuts-through an offensive line... straight to the point!
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Wishful thinking by some OR a scary possibility ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionslicer View Post
This is the special teams problem. They all play as individuals, and not as a core unit, trying to make big hits instead of just playing their gaps and preventing the big play.
I bet he's talking about more than the ST. He mentions the team concept. There have been some rumblings about the offense all year. Perhaps that is what he is referring to.
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