The Pittsburgh Steelers have completed four weeks of football and after those four games, many issues are hindering the overall success of this team. Combine the injury bug, plus three very tough road opponents and it equals a Steelers team that is in complete disarray. Now it is time to see how they will overcome a little adversity.
How will the challenge of adversity change Mike Tomlin's approach going forward? Will he continue to press on only speaking of how style points don't matter, when the style that the Steelers of 2011 have shown has been very disappointing. Can Tomlin find a way to motivate his lines, both defensive and offensive to lock in on the fundamentals of football that are eluding them.
On Sunday against the Houston Texans the Steelers were out-blocked and out tackled. Those simple fundamental concepts that are key to any football team – blocking and tackling seem to have lost their meaning along the way. Offensively the patch work offensive line were not able to block their assigned man, which made it a long day for Ben Roethlisberger. Defensively the Steelers did a terrible job of clogging gaps, covering and most importantly tackling.
Since this Steelers team that has won two Lombardi Trophies in the last few years, things like blocking and tackling haven't been as evident as they were on Sunday. Think back to that first preseason game against the Washington Redskins when the starting offense was left in for several series due to initially letting the Redskins march something like 96 yards on them. This was their very first drive of the preseason and back then missing tackles seemed like something that was just a phase. That phase has transformed into an epidemic as players like Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, James Farrior and LaMarr Woodley all miss big tackles on Sunday, which could have stalled the quality drives of the Texans.
It is very true the Steelers have been hit with a barrage of injuries to that offensive line, but good teams find ways to overcome such problems. The Steelers have to come together at this point to try and save the season before its too late.
Also it's pretty clear that teams are blocking the Steelers differently this year, as this new zone blocking concept has seemingly broken the backs of the Steelers a few times now. Tomlin and his coaching staff have to learn to adapt to this new way of teams attacking their defense. If they do not find the way to mend this problem it will get the best of them completely as it has already cost them two football games. When guys like Ray Rice and Arian Foster are able to impose their will on the Steelers defense, there has to be more going on than meets the eye, because lets remember this defense had only let up one other 100-yard rusher on them with in a few years. Either the Steelers have really aged dramatically since the Super Bowl or offensive coordinators now hold the secret to finally one upping Dick LeBeau's defense.
The biggest test of Mike Tomlin's coaching career with the Steelers is upon us and it will be very interesting to see how these battle tested Steelers will be able to overcome such adversity. While the schedule from this point on eases up a bit, the Steelers at this point cannot underestimate anyone who may be crossing their paths.
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