Once the powerhouse of the NFL, and team to be feared, the Pittsburgh Steelers have slowly fallen apart. That’s right the Steelers just haven’t been that vaunted team they once were.
Despite winning two Super Bowls in the Roethlisberger era, you can just see that this team just isn’t the same as they once were. They beat the New England Patriots on Sunday, but the Patriots are in shambles just like them.
Here are three issues they are dealing with that have derailed them this season:
Tomlin is Losing his Grip on the Locker Room
With the recent drama surrounding the Steelers organization, such as Le’veon Bell refusing to sign, it has caused quite a stir amongst the players in the locker room. This has resulted in head coach Mike Tomlin losing his stranglehold on his team.
This has been seen in the recent tensions between players in the locker room over Bell. Center Maurkice Pouncey was very certain that Bell would be back by the first week, but after that week passed, Pouncey didn’t take too kindly to that. This resulted in him tweeting, “That’s just stupid, you can’t play football like that,” Pouncey said.
It wasn’t just one star player that showed how Tomlin is losing his vice grip.
After starting the season out with two-losses, Antonio Brown failed to show up to practice the following Monday. There were reports that revealed that Brown was dealing with a personal matter. Tomlin said that he was “looking forward to meeting with [Brown].”
After another loss earlier this season, Big Ben took to the media to thrash a rookie receiver. Now, he has earned every right to do so, but the decision to do so made Tomlin look small as a coach.
It shows that Tomlin is losing his grip on his team as they tweet and say anything negatively about their teammates to reporters with no remorse.
Missing Bell Cow
The talk of the league since the start of the 2018 NFL season had been whether or not Bell would re-sign with the Steelers. As the months rolled by and no sign of any progress surfaced, fans worried that he might be sitting the season out.
After the official deadline date of Nov. 13, 2018 and with no signing, Bell’s time as a Steeler ended. That is one of the biggest reasons for this team’s recent struggles. Despite James Connor coming in and filling the role to the best of his ability, it still just isn’t the same.
In five seasons with the Steelers, LVB averaged 1599.2 total yards each season. Conner is well on his way to meeting that mark, but he lacks the innovation Bell provided when toting the rock and has only provided around 1,100 yards this season.
The Steelers may be ranked 12th in terms of defense, but there are days where it certainly doesn’t show for it. Now, there are a few talking points here to be made.
To start, the Steelers don’t have any standout players; they don’t have a Khalil Mack or an Aaron Donald on their roster. It shows in moments where they need a big play or a key stop.
Secondly, the Steelers haven’t improved in the past five seasons. They have given up an average of 37.6 touchdowns per season during that span. With still three games left to play this season, the Steelers have already given up 37 touchdowns.
Unless the Pittsburgh defense can have two consecutive shutouts, it doesn’t appear that they’ll stay under their average this season.
The Steelers also lack lack resistance in the secondary. Again, this goes back to them not having any stand-out player. Ever since the departure/retirement of Troy Polamalu, the Steelers haven’t had that dominant, game-wrecker.
Pittsburgh has averaged 13.4 interceptions per year in in the past five years. In 2018 alone, the Steelers have just 7 interceptions through 14 games. It’s clear that this defense has deteriorated over the years.
It is evident that the Steelers have hit rock bottom. Is a rebuild about to hit the city of Pittsburgh or will the organization miraculously solve all of its’ issues? Regardless, the Steelers have some work to do if they want to remain a championship contender.