5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Post-Browns Edition

C5D75550-BBF9-46E1-B804-4BA163A435BD.jpegPhoto via Steelers.com

Although I’m sure you are all busily engaged in planning your play-off watching menus and such, don’t forget that there is still work to be done before we even get to that point. [Cue Mike Ditka…] Part of that is answering these 5 Smoldering Questions:

1. The end-around is a staple of the Todd Haley playbook that many of us anticipate with great dread. Yet in the last few weeks we have seen the Steelers have some success with this, including a touchdown by Darrius Heyward-Bey, although said success  came at the expense of teams who have already cleaned out their lockers. To what do you attribute this success—better placement in the game plan, better execution, or just incompetence on the part of the opposing teams?

2. Last Sunday’s match against the woeful Browns was, as many have stated, their Super Bowl, as no team wishes to share in the infamy of the 2008 Lions. But the chances didn’t look good for the Browns. The average number of points the Browns’ offense have managed to muster during the season is 14.6.

And yet they had their best game of the season against the Steelers last Sunday, and even looked like they were going to pull out the upset, it not for Corey Coleman dropping a beautifully-placed pass. And yet, despite the large number of yards the Steelers gave up, and the 24 points, they also had six sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble recovered by the Steelers. Is that a reasonable tradeoff to you, or would you have preferred a more workman-like and less exciting game?

3. And speaking of the Browns, the owner has stated he is keeping Hue Jackson as head coach despite the fact he has won one game in the past two seasons—a new low for the beleaguered franchise. Do you think the owner is right to do so, and do you think it will pay dividends next season?

4. Which team would you most like to see of the possible teams the Steelers could play in the Divisional Round? Or you can answer which team you would least like to see, according to taste. Please explain in either case.

5. Last but definitely not least—Mike Munchak has been given permission by the Steelers to interview for more than one head coaching job—the first name out there is the Cardinals. Do you think that losing Munchak would be an unmitigated disaster should he be hired away, or do you think he has created a solid foundation that will continue in the coming year(s)? And does anybody have any suggestions for things that might keep him in Pittsburgh? Weekly deliveries of Primanti’s, free Incline rides for life, etc.? Because I’ll contribute…

4 comments

  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    1) Possibly a combination of all three but it could well be that DHB executes that play better than any other WR on the Steelers.

    2) Dropping six pro-bowlers out of the line-up and losing your back-up center made the game a lot closer than it needed to be but it rested/protected several key players and gave valuable playing time to several back-ups. It didn’t matter whether the Steelers won or not other than for pride so it turned out well in the end.

    3) The owner is acknowledging his own complicity in the team’s problems. The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting it exists. A think this is a long term step in the correct direction for the Browns.

    4) I least want to face the Patriots because I expect the most biased officiating in that match-up and that ruins the game. I want to watch football, not wrestling.

    5) Losing Munchak would hurt but it is the natural order of things in the NFL.

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  • 1. None of the above. If you catch a team in a certain defense and they overpursue, the reverse can go all the way. It’s simply that you make the right play call when they’re in the wrong defense and then they fail to recognize it in time.

    2. They didn’t rest any All-Pros on defense, and yet DeShone Kiser marched the Brownies up and down the field. He passed for 314 yards and ran for another 61 against what was essentially the Steelers first string defense minus Heyward. If that doesn’t give you worries, Homer will have some of what you’ve been drinking.

    3. One of the many problems is a lack of continuity. Holding on to Jackson is a very, very good move. Having a good draft with the number 1 and number 3 picks overall, would be an even better move.

    4. So long as we face Kansas City in the AFCCG, all is well.

    5. Sure, Munch has had a bunch of high draft choices to work with, but look at the job he’s done with Big Al, Hubbard, and Finney. Losing him would be – in the long run – catastrophic, because he is that important to the team’s future. You tell him to listen to Bidwill’s offer and don’t commit until the Steelers have a chance to respond. When he gets back to you, you work out a deal like you did with Butler, where you give him a promotion, more money, and a deal tailored specifically for him. He becomes Assistant Head Coach or something. “You are family here,” you tell him, “and, given the fact that Tomlin’s not going anywhere, what will it take to keep you in the family?” And then you do whatever it takes.

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  • 1.) The end around is valuable as a fake. It’s an all or nothing type play, and the fact that it’s succeeded against inferior teams makes it even more viable.
    2.) You have to be worried about the D. sans Shazier. It will come to the point where they will need to get one timely stop or turnover and let the Offense win the game.
    3.) As the Steelers have shown, holding on to a coach breeds stability. What I don’t understand is the Bengals not availing themselves of the opportunity to finally dump Marv Lewis.
    4.) In the divisional round I’d like to see the Jags. I feel like the team is still fuming about that loss and hopefully it will be an Alabama/Clemson situation.
    5.) The Team-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named seems to shed assistant coaches all the time without a problem. What I want to know is why the Cards are so fixated on Steeler coaches — has it really paid off for them?

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  • 1. I tend to agree with COSF. Quiet as its kept, DHB is fastest player on the team, and doesn’t hesitate turning the corner. Won’t work often, but two touchdowns in two years when DHB runs it makes it worthwhile to try under right circumstances.

    2. Browns had their full compliment of players plus more motivation; one, who wants to go down 0-16, two, many players were literally playing for their professional lives. Steelers were trying to win with one hand tied behind their backs and do without anyone getting seriously injured. Shazier is one of the few players on the roster whose absence degrades the team. Plus, I wouldn’t want to put anything on tape that would be effective that playoff teams can prepare for.

    3. I agree with ubu507. Changing personnel like your socks has not worked for the Browns. Every time you do it you’re starting over. Chuck Noll only won one game his first season and didn’t make the playoffs until his fourth. Culture change takes time and patience.

    4. Not afraid of any team in this group, but do fear cheating and collusion when it comes to the Pats. KC (or Buffalo) at Heinz for the championship would be sweet.

    5. I would sweeten Homer’s deal by offering a coordinator’s slot and encourage Haley to get a HC job.

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