Same Old Story

Call them excuses, but SCI publisher Jim Wexell sticks to his story. He even saw things he liked from the Steelers on Sunday night.

It's the same old story, same old song and dance, my friend.

While you might be tired of reading it, I'm tired of writing it.

But we plow on.

It's not the coordinator. It's not the coach. It's not the general manager.

It's the young offensive line. And it's a lack of playmakers.

I've said the same thing every week, but it's not an excuse. It's just the reason no one should be fired.

Things actually improved in those areas Sunday night against the Chicago Bears.

While the insertion of Kelvin Beachum at right tackle came as a bit of a shock, and probably signified some type of large problem to many watching, it was pre-planned.

Beachum rotated with both starting tackles, and I liked it. While there are many problems and they are great with the offensive line, David DeCastro did improve and the tackles now know for sure that they are under the gun and they're not going to be handed everything for a full year while Mike Adams in particular learns the game.

Not that Beachum showed anything more. But he's, as they say, on his Ps and Qs, and that will force the others to do likewise.

I also saw a real running back emerge Sunday night in Jonathan Dwyer. That had been a big problem, finding a professional running back.

Felix Jones? What a Dallas slap. Fumbler. Can't block. If Ben Roethlisberger raves (lies) again next week about Felix the Cat's great blitz blocking, then Ben deserves to have that guy in front of him with D.J. Williams coming free.

Dwyer did the job against the blitz. And he ran hard. And he stayed in the game.

It doesn't tell me that Mike Tomlin's confused because he cut his best back. It tells me Tomlin needed to do what he did to get Dwyer's head out of his own rear end.

And that covers that.

I also saw improvement at tight end. Heath Miller was back, and will only get better and stronger. David Johnson caught a few passes. David Paulson has slipped down to rare appearances, and that's where he belongs. And in those rare appearances I believe he's going to prove better for the wear. He'll catch some big passes down the road.

I also saw improvement at wide receiver. Those little guys may be hard to find on the field – as Jay Cutler said last week – but it's do-able. You can win with Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. We were reminded of that Sunday night.

My "excuses" all along have been the line and the lack of playmakers. Well, the playmakers are getting healthy. The line is getting the time it needs. The only coach whom I feel is on the hot seat is the line coach, Jack Bicknell, only because I know nothing about him.

All I do know is that by the end of his first year, the improvement must be noticeable.

The defense didn't get a turnover, but Vince Williams drilled the football loose on fourth down at the goal line. The ballcarrier re-clasped it, and scored.

A couple of other opportunities took wrong bounces, but the numbers say the Steelers hit the QB 5 times and had 2 sacks. The Bears hit Roethlisberger 4 times and had 3 sacks, and the Bears had a 21-point lead at one time. And, well, the Bears were playing against the Steelers' O-line.

The point is the Steelers hit the QB and had only one fewer tackle-for-loss. The turnovers will come.

Hey, I'm not going to guarantee that things will get better. But I do believe the right coach and the right GM are in place, and I have no reason to want either coordinator gone.

By my count, the Steelers were completely whipped by the worst of the three teams on their schedule, in the opener. But they put on a great show and should've beaten the best team on their schedule in their most recent game.

That's improvement. It's not showing in the win column, but it is improvement. And that's all I can report today.

Their goal is that I report it again tomorrow.


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