Just Weren't Ready

Mike Prisuta says the Steelers' unpreparedness and general overconfidence can only be pinned on one man: the head coach.

If you're looking for someone to blame, a specific target for your rage or frustration, Mike Tomlin qualifies.

As the head coach Tomlin is ultimately responsible for the Steelers' performance. That includes when they get beat 35-7 for openers.

James Farrior wouldn't go as far as to say the Steelers didn't come to play but acknowledged that they didn't do very much beyond that at M & T Bank Stadium.

"We came for the game, but other than that … we weren't ready," Farrior said.

Also hinting around the "overconfidence" topic in the loser's locker room were Ryan Clark and Ben Roethlisberger.

Clark's take: "Last year doesn't count and that's what we have to realize and that's the thing we have to focus on, what we did last year doesn't count. What we did three years ago when we won the Super Bowl, that doesn't matter; it's about 2011."

And Roethlisberger's: "Coming into this, offensively, we probably thought we were a little better than we were."

The hope now is that everyone has to be better than they were in Baltimore, where a group of fired-up Ravens that may, after further review, be better than advertised, repeatedly stuck it to a group of Steelers that was obviously a little too comfortable, a little too secure and yes, a little too confident that recent results would play out once again as expected.

Lesson learned and on to Seattle.

But before we get there:

-- The Ravens debacle reminded us why the Steelers emphasize run defense the way they do. It all starts there. And for the Steelers, it all unravels when they have to respect play-action and can't assault the pocket.

-- Joe Flacco's throws were better than the Steelers' coverage was bad in most instances. Had the Steelers beaten him again with Roethlisberger at the helm Flacco would have been under a siege of scrutiny this morning in Baltimore. Instead, Flacco emerged triumphant. That could be a problem down the road.

-- Are the Steelers too slow on defense or were they just too slow to react? It was clearly the latter in the case of Lawrence Timmons, a linebacker who has been used to cover receivers previously but one who had trouble with backs and tight ends on Sunday.

What we saw from Bryant McFadden and Troy Polamalu was what we saw in the Super Bowl, and what we see against Tom Brady. When the other quarterback is that good there isn't much the Steelers' secondary can do about it.

That's why you have to shut down the run, assault the pocket and knock the other quarterback on his ass.

-- The problem with run defense was twofold – point of attack and backside. When that happens against a cutback runner such as Ray Rice, well, you saw the results.

-- Given the perceived state of the Baltimore offense (banged up O-line, unproven tight ends, rookie wide receivers in support of Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans), and given the nature of the Steelers' preseason (almost everyone brought back from a Super Bowl team, big-money contracts being handed out as recently as the day before the opener), I understand the Steelers succumbing to overconfidence in this instance.

They don't get another such pass the rest of the season.

-- While the Ravens deserve a great deal of credit for what took place, gaffes such as Terrell Suggs coming clean and Rice exiting the backfield uncovered are inexcusable on the Steelers' end and speak to the Steelers' preparation, which is an integral part of the process. Those are two guys the Steelers should be aware of at all times.

-- I really like Larry Foote as a backup inside linebacker, but playing Foote instead of Farrior just because makes about as much sense as having Charlie Batch relieve Roethlisberger in the second quarter because you also like Batch's game.

-- As good a job as Ike Taylor did with occasional safety help in shutting out Evans, shouldn't Bolden have been perceived as the greater threat? Can't wait to see how Dick LeBeau plays it in the rematch on Nov. 6.


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