Dead Team Walking���� �.By Still Poz
What happened to the 2009 Stillers?�
It�s the question on the minds of not only Steelers� fans, but also the so-called experts.��
Keep in mind the experts were absolutely wrong as they continued to predict the Steelers would refocus after the Kansas City game.� A minor tweak here, a little refocus there, and it�s a march to the playoffs as a �dangerous� team that nobody wants to play.
If the experts were wrong, then there is no harm in a rube like me providing my thoughts why this once proud team dissipated faster than a 401K during a recession.
The losing is not the result of one reason, but a combination of factors.� They all came to a head with the Kansas City loss.� It is the kind of loss that is a season-killer.� Like the ghosts of Christmas past, the Kansas City game raised to the surface all the problems previously explained away.
A lack of confidence. This loss transformed the Steelers from a team that played expecting to find a way win, to a team waiting to lose.� It is beyond belief that no Steelers� cornerback has an interception all year.� Swagger has been replaced with doubt.
Age and a lack of depth.� The loss of Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith to injury, and the departure of Bryant McFadden hurt dearly.�� I�m 57 years old, and I doubt William Gay could cover (much less tackle) me.� Tyrone Carter has heart, but he cannot get it done.� And it was uncomfortable to watch James Farrior attempt to stay in the same time zone with Ray Rice.
Coaching.� Mike Tomlin certainly experienced early success as an NFL coach.��� The platitudes rolled from the mouth of the King of Clich�s as easy as a knife through warm butter.��
But now he faces adversity for the first time.� The banalities are not resonating.� They fall on deaf ears.�� This is the only plausible explanation why the Steelers play their best (a relative term with this group) against better teams while they play like zombies against lesser opponents.� It takes less to �coach up� a team for a big game than it does for games a team is supposed to win.� And I tell you, Coach Tomlin looked dumbfounded and without an answer during the loss to Oakland.�� For once, he had nothing to say.
This is not a call for his firing � far from it.� He will coach this team for years to come.�� But it will be interesting to see how he responds as this is now his team and not one inherited with many of the pieces already in place.�� Tough decisions ahead � Coach Tomlin will be tested.
In my opinion, and in broad terms, the Steelers are failing for a number of reasons; age, lack of depth, misplaced expectations of the ability of replacements, and coaching.� They all came together to create the perfect storm � a mindset that results in missed assignments, wrong coverage, and giving up big plays on 3rd down.�� It culminates in uneven play, putting up 37 against the Packers, but unable to score a TD against a woeful Browns� defense.��
Regardless of what happens the rest of the year, the Steelers are not a playoff team.�
This Steelers team is arguably the second best of all time, having won two Super Bowls.� But last year isn�t worth spit this year, next year and in years ahead.�� Show me a team talking about their past laurels and I�ll show you a loser - a dead team walking.� Winners don�t live in the past, but possess foresight and anticipate for the future.� Waiting too long to make moves leaves a team in damage control mode.
Certainly the draft will be critical in shaping the future of this team.� But that is a subject better left to the draft experts here.� I provide my opinion of the macro issues that plague this team and, if not addressed, could worsen and send the Steelers into greater depths of ineptitude.� An interesting offseason ahead.
Closing note:� Ryan Clark expressed his displeasure with fans that had the audacity to criticize a team that slept-walked through a five game losing streak.� Clark talked as if fans don�t understand the pressure placed on football players to perform.
The one who doesn�t understand is Clark.�
Sure, there is pressure on a multi-million dollar athlete to give his best effort once a week.� But I dare say there is far more pressure on the average citizen that toils each day wondering if a strained household budget has sufficient funds to put food on the table.� That�s pressure, Ryan Clark.�� Get off the fans. Man up and perform as you should, and fans will support you, as we always have.
Merry Christmas to the Stillers� nation.