Boom or Bust, the signs are there for this team to go either direction. Sure the Steelers have 9 wins and are a virtual lock for the post season, but we�ve all seen teams with good records take an early exit from the play offs. So what are these signs I�m talking about, well first the bad news:
Signs of a coming Bust:
- Lack of killer instinct, both by the players and the coaching staff. They get up, relax and get soft, both in play calling and execution. This team needs to finish the job, close the door, break the opponents will.
- Plaxico�s Parties. The more I read about these parties, the more it reminds me of Dallas. So far players from other teams have been busted with a gun and drugs after having been to one of these shindigs. So does Burress tone it down? NO! he throws another party, and to be invited to this one, it was rumored, you had to be of a certain ethnicity. That�s not a dividing line this team needs. It can split a team fast.
- Chad Scott getting beat like a rug. Teams are denying it, but it sure looks like they are targeting Scott. Scott must elevate his play, and the coaching staff must give him help.
- Bettis is hurting. Listed as doubtful for the Jets game, Bettis has a hip and groin injury which has reportedly caused some internal bleeding. I�m no doctor, but this sounds serious to me. Add to this Bruener, Tylski and Smith�s injuries and the ground game could be hurting at the worst time.
- Special Teams Woes. We�ve all seen the poor coverage teams and the blocked kicks. Kris Brown has to get over his penchant for kicking wide right.
Signs of a coming Boom:
- The Emerging Passing Game. Stewart is playing better than he ever has, Burress is coming of age at just the right time. He and Ward make a fine tandem, and Edwards has found a role.
- Stingy Run Defense. The Steelers are tops in the league at stuffing the run, and in the post season that is huge. The Steelers are also deep on the line. Hampton and Clancy are playing at a level beyond their years. Smith is a mad man. Kimo is solid. Bailey gives great depth, and has made last years late round d-line pick, Chris Combs, who flashed a lot of potential, ride the bench.
- The Return of Blitzburgh. A league leading 41 sacks, and they are coming from all over with the D-line, the LBs and the secondary contributing to that total.
- The Way the Ball is Bouncing. This team has found a way to win, even when it shouldn�t have. Fate has just sometimes been on this teams side.