Friendly Fire from Steel Tank
A few thoughts at the midway point of the 2001 Steeler season:
Watching the Steelers drive as well as they did against the Ravens offers hope for the future. Watching Cowher climb back into his shell of offensive conservatism, ensures the results of the past.
Did not one coach realize that Chris Brown had all ready missed twice wide right from the right hash mark? Did not one coach notice that the wind was blowing left to right? Did not one coach think about getting the ball spotted on the left hash mark? The Steelers had three plays to do so because it was very clear they were not going for a TD.
Troy Edwards is to good for his own good. I have not seen someone so slippery since Eric Metcalf, but Troy needs to realize a career is not made on one play. Still, it would be nice to see Troy in the open field if the Steelers ever figure out how to get him the ball in such a situation.
The Steelers are suddenly playing most of their games on the grass. Every team in our division plays on grass. The long term benefit of this will be extended careers and careers with fewer injuries. The immediate benefit of this has been a season with relatively few injuries and all around healthier players.
Marcus Robinson had back surgery during the off-season, but was fine after the second game. Yet, after playing on astroturf just once, Robinson said his back was sore from the pounding and lack of cushion the turf provides. His case is exaggerated because of the surgery, but imagine what playing on turf will do to a players body for an entire career.
Covering opposing TEs may become an increasing problem as the season wears on. Then again, the Steelers have faced three of the best TEs in the league in 3 out of the past 4 games. Sharpe, Wychek and Gonzo had success, but not the all world stats one might expect if the Steelers were truly soft in this area. It is our Achilles, but not nearly as much as in years past.
The Bus came very close to 100 yards rushing against the Ravens to go along with a fine first half of the season. Should he remain healthy and the running game continue to produce such effort, the Steelers will be a very hard team to beat in the playoffs this January.
The Steelers beat the Raiders last year in Pittsburgh. This is the only team that is perhaps better than the Steelers over the first 8 weeks of the year in the AFC. The Raiders are, however, very beatable � especially by the Steelers.
Stewart looks like a developed and mature QB. He is in fact leading the offense rather than just being a part of it. It�s a amazing what a change in philosophy can do for an individual and a team. A simplified play book and constant reinforcement from a QB coach are part of the new Steeler philosophy. Though the desire to win is part of this new philosophy, the actual courage to act upon this desire is not. This more than anything is the reason the Steelers failed to beat the Ravens Sunday. This, more than any other reason, may limit the Steelers success in the playoffs.