Charles LeClaire, USA Today Sports
If you pay even the least attention to offseason Steelers news, you’ve probably read that the offense intends to achieve the Holy Grail of 30 points per game this season.
Last season the offense did in fact manage 30 points or more per game for six games in a row later in the season, and the ultimate figure of 26.4 was considerably higher than the old standard of 20 points per game.
Why has the desired number changed so much? This should be pretty obvious—the stifling defense of old is no more. Under the old Dick LeBeau defenses you could pretty much count on winning the game if the offense managed to put up 20 points, or that was the theory. Read more
Once again we are Hombre-less, and Ivan, Steeler Fever and I have attempted to fill his very large shoes.
(1) Fever asks: We are at the halfway point of the 2015 NFL season and our Pittsburgh Steelers stand at 4-4 coming off consecutive losses at Kansas City and home against the Cincinnati Bengals. How do you think they will end this season? Please state how you see the Steelers regular season record playing out and how far you believe they will advance in the playoffs, if you see the team making the playoffs at all.
(2) Landry Jones has been viewed as a total bust essentially since the pick was announced in April of 2013. Yet he had a very impressive college career. His draft profile noted he is a “prototypical NFL pocket passer with NFL size,” and lots of other nice things. Read more
USA Today Sports/Charles LeClaire
I had a dress rehearsal last evening, and I don’t have cable, so I had to head out after rehearsal to a local hostelry, where I got a refreshing drink, (club soda and lime, sorry, I’m a wuss,) ordered dinner, and waited to see what would happen. I got to the bar just after the beginning of half time, and from the score at that point (3-7, Chargers) it looked as if I hadn’t missed much.
The patrons surrounding me were a tad on the morose side by the time the third quarter began, having come (correctly) to the conclusion the Steelers couldn’t get a ball in the end zone. All Bell All the Time is great for a while, but eventually you have to convince the other team that you are actually capable of completing more than the (very) occasional pass.
But the defense, who I assumed must have been playing very well indeed to have held the Chargers to a single touchdown, soon took matters into their own hands—or, more precisely, the football. Jarvis Jones, who ended the game with four tackles and a sack, also forced a fumble which was recovered by one of our other “busts,” Shamarko Thomas. Read more
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Peter Diana photo
Steeler Nation, viewed as a whole, could be said to be bi-polar. One week we’re going to the Super Bowl—the next week we are going to be just bad enough to miss the playoffs and still not get a top-of-the-first-round draft pick.
But when you begin talking to individual fans the general attitude varies tremendously, from the “Black and Gold colored glasses” wearers to the Bob Labriola “I live in my fears” type of fan. Some fans even appear to be downright annoyed when their alleged team does well, disappearing from the commenting flow when there isn’t enough to gripe about.
Steeler fans aren’t any different than any other fans this way, of course. As many of you know I also follow the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the gloom and doom on BucsDugout is palpable as it seems about 97% of the commenters there are convinced the Pirates can’t possibly beat the Cubs in a one-game elimination match, assuming Jake Arrieta pitches it. And you can bet that he will, unless some of his major organs shut down between now and tomorrow evening. Read more
via Post-Gazette, Peter Diana photo
Well, that was interesting. The whole experience was rather surreal, between the equipment failures (mine) and the execution failures (the Steelers’.)
I did my usual thing of setting the game to record while I did useful things, and then sat down about an hour into the recording to watch. This way I can fast-forward through the commercials, which I hate to sit through with my stomach churning. When I started to watch, on my computer—I don’t have a TV—the sound had completely disappeared from my iMac.
I called in the jumbo set, brain-wise—I asked my husband to look at it. There was no obvious reason for the problem. But if I did a reboot I would lose the part of the game that was recording while I did so. This meant I had to watch it in silence.
It’s actually very peaceful that way, except for one thing—whenever they have sideline interviews or put graphics up on the screen or whatever, you can’t tell what happened in the ensuing play. It’s very annoying, and the peaceful part was spoiled by the comments and suggestions I felt compelled to make to the unheeding producers.
But I managed to see more than enough to make me feel that a) it was pretty unrealistic to think the offense would have a lot of continuity on one walk-through practice, since you have to at least pretend like you’re going to pass from time to time, b) this defense is really on its way, and c) it’s actually pretty entertaining to just see the various Harbaugh faces, without the commentary to go with them. Happy. Sad. Happy. Mad. It’s reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss book. I was hoping to end at “sad” but alas it wasn’t to be.
AP photo/Billy Hurst: The Fire Heard Around the NFL…
I write this with the sort of heavy heart I usually have when chronicling a Steelers loss. In fact, I didn’t feel this bad when they lost to the Patriots.
2015 was supposed to be the year the offense carried the defense. And make no mistake, there are still a lot of playmakers on this team. But part of the “playmakerliness”, if I may be allowed to coin a term, is predicated on the chemistry between Roethlisberger and his receivers.
It was heartening to see Bell ripping off a few good runs against a very good defensive front. And all of a sudden we might be seeing the sort of two-back look a lot of people were hoping for but Tomlin nixed. But given that everyone is going to key in on the run, it might not be a successful strategy.