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State of the Steelers

After a long hiatus, Steelerheaven is back for the rest of the 2016 season. NFL is a pretty bad product right now, but in the end we are Steelers fans so let’s get down to it.

State of the Steelers – Let’s see, this team has a few great players, a handful of good players, a few promising rookies and…that’s about it. What we are watching this season is the result of years of poor drafting, namely on the defensive side from Colbert and Tomlin. They have managed to take the Steeler’s defensive identity of the past 40 years and wipe it all away in the last few years. Let’s take a look at the recent drafts real quick. Let’s forget about the 2016 draft for now.

2015 Draft 

Round 1 – Bud Dupree – Dupree hasn’t done much so far although he did snag 4 sacks in his rookie year. Dupree has been out this season so far after undergoing surgery.

Round 2 – Senquez Golson – Is this guy even still on the team.

Round 3 – Sammie Coates –  Seems like another good WR pick, although jury is still out.

Round 4 – Doran Grant – ??????

2014 Draft

Round 1 – Ryan Shazier – Since being drafted Shazier has dealt with some injury issues, he’s played in 27 games and amassed 4 sacks and 2 INT’s. Not bad bust still a lot of question marks going forward.

Round 2 – Stephon Tuitt – Decent player so far, decent pick.

Round 3 – Dri Archer – Bad pick in 3rd round, bad pick regardless really.

Round 4 – Martavis Bryant – Great pick especially if Bryant can get back on the field!

2013 Draft

Round 1 – Jarvis Jones – Bust? Looking like it so far, Harrison will now start for Jones this weekend.

Round 2 – Le’Veon Bell – I was so wrong having doubts about this pick, best RB in the NFL.

Round 3 – Markus Wheaton – Wheaton showed potential but has disappeared this season which isn’t a good sign, probably on his way out which is disappointing for sure.

Going back further we have guys like LB Jason Worilds, former 1st round pick Ziggy Hood, Sean Spence (remember him? Didn’t think so), Stevenson Sylvester, defensive backs Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown. None of these players are still on the team. There is a serious problem under the Tomlin regime in regards to successfully drafting and developing defensive players. Even talented players like Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree have legitimate injury and durability concerns. Tomlin and Colbert’s idea of a good NFL defensive player is not panning out, we have 5+ years and running to show all that.

It’s time to face reality, this is just a poorly run team and there are no signs things are improving. If not for great drafting at the receiver and RB positions along with the play of HOF QB Big Ben, this team would be royally screwed, likely a perennial sub .500 team. As Illustrated above, there’s been poor drafting on the defensive side for years now, which is a good reason for the Steelers current 4-5 record, but that’s not all, not even close, the team is undisciplined, sloppy and all around poorly prepared. The special teams continue to make at least a couple of boner plays per game. All of these issues have remained the status quo for most of Tomlin’s regime.

I’ve ranted about Tomlin for years now, it’s good to see some criticism coming out in the media finally. Tomlin seems to be an all right guy, but as head coach he remains a lame duck. I’ve asked on here, what exactly does he bring to the table as head coach? I’ve never gotten a legitimate answer. And now we have the team’s best player, Big Ben, basically calling his ability to coach out in public to the media. It’s not just Tomlin of course, there are numerous issues with the team. Colbert and the scouts for sure share blame, along with other coaches on the team. But in the end, the buck stops at head coach in the NFL.

I’ve come across some seriously flawed arguments in defense of Tomlin such as “What head coaches in the NFL would you take over Tomin”? Ok, let’s get something clear – The NFL is so mediocre today and filled with so many mediocre head coaches that add virtually nothing of value to their teams that this question is flawed from the start, not to mention irrelevant regardless. How has Belichick and the Patriots remained so dominant for so long? I believe their success is more of an indictment of how poorly coached other teams are along with the overall sad state of the NFL than anything else. Belichick is obviously a great coach, and it shows how important coaching is in today’s NFL, you look at his teams and it’s not like they are supremely more talented than a lot of other teams. Because Tomlin may be marginally better than an assortment of other mediocre coaches (because that is what that argument really comes down to) is hardly a ringing endorsement.

Another similar argument is “Look at the teams success under Tomlin, no losing seasons!” That would be great and all if the team were the Browns I guess. The fact is the Steelers have now gone 5 seasons with just one playoff win, a playoff game that the team was very lucky to win after pissing away a 15 point lead. If people’s expectations are so low that not having a losing season is the sign of true success then Tomlin is golden, but last I checked I thought the point of the game was to win the Super Bowl. And if a team isn’t doing that then there should be a clear sign of the team trending towards that goal. Is that happening with the Steelers? Sure doesn’t look like it. And last I checked the Steelers have a generational talent at the QB position, a future HOF’er, who’s time is running out. How many teams with a HOF QB go 5 years and win just one playoff game in today’s modern NFL? Underachieving would be an understatement.

I’ve even seen some fans try to jump through mental hoops arguing “Well mathematically each year only a small percentage of teams can actually win a playoff game” Uh, ok? Looking at the AFC in recent years there are like two to three teams tops that are legitimately good (Not even necessarily great) each year. There is absolutely no reason the Steelers shouldn’t be more successful in recent seasons, even with the misses on the defensive side of the ball in recent drafts.

Obviously my position is it’s clear it’s time the team move on from Tomlin. But not just Tomlin I believe the team needs a quick reboot while Ben is still playing, trim the fat and plug in some new players on defense. In today’s NFL that can be done if all the right moves are made. A strong argument could be made that Colbert needs to be replaced as well. The team just isn’t fun to watch in recent years as a fan outside of some no huddle drives and watching Bell run the ball. Year after year the team is just frustrating and painfully predictable. I don’t see this team getting anywhere close to the Super Bowl with the way it’s currently constructed and with Tomlin as head coach. I was pretty surprised to see the Steelers as Super Bowl favorites at the beginning of the way. What exactly was that based on outside of some talented players on offense?

In the end, some teams in the NFL are just trying to scrap out from the bottom, some are trying to just achieve a winning season and sell tickets and some are actually trying to legitimately win a championship which is supposed to be the reason the game is ultimately played. Every team will tell you they are trying to win a Super Bowl but that’s not really true and the longer the Steelers employ Tomlin and some of the other coaches on the team the more it appears like the Rooneys are just content with finishing with competitive records and selling tickets. When a team has a generational talent at QB who’s time is winding down and plays in ultimately a weak conference this is almost like being in purgatory as a fan, it’s the ultimate blue balls as a sports fan. I’ve been correct in my prediction regarding this team’s fate under Tomlin for years now and unfortunately I don’t see any signs that is changing. Let’s see what happens the rest of the season, don’t forget to give Groundhog Day another watch sometime in January.

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