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Old 11-07-2006, 11:09 PM   #1
Marc
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Default Steelers starting to speak out about a season gone wrong

Quote:
Steelers starting to speak out about a season gone wrong

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
November 6, 2006

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The ring ceremonies and confident talk of winning a second Super Bowl title in as many seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers are long gone, replaced by the harsh reality of a season fast sinking into abject failure.

The handshakes and hugging from February are a fading memory as the Steelers haul a 2-6 record into the second half of a season gone wrong. Their 31-20 loss Sunday to Denver was their third in a row and enabled them to match their worst record at this stage of a season in coach Bill Cowher's 15 seasons.

It is the franchise's worst such record -- also achieved in 2003 under Cowher and in 1988 and 1986 under Chuck Noll -- since the 1969 Steelers were 1-7 during a 14-game season.
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slu...v=ap&type=lgns

Cowher takes blame: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/s...=ESPNHeadlines

All right, so what do we make of this? Who is to blame? I blame Cowher for not resting Ben more. Ben has had one problem after another and I think he is just rattled and needed a week to regroup. Plus, there's the whole hunger issue, which is almost always a problem for champions (I think the Miami Heat will have the same problem).
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Old 11-12-2006, 10:28 AM   #2
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If the Steelers lose to the Saints later today, Cowher should shut Roethlisberger down for the rest of the season (a loss would make Pittsburgh 2-7, and no team has ever made the playoffs in NFL history following a 2-7 start; one team did after starting 2-6 - the 1970 Bengals).
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Old 11-12-2006, 06:53 PM   #3
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I don't know that it is so much not resting Ben as the Steelers trying to be what they aren't. The Steelers offensive philosophy under Cowher has always been run if you can throw if you must. The Steelers threw the ball 379 times last year and ran it 549 times. They threw the ball the least and ran the ball the most in the NFL last year. So far this season they have run the ball 223 times (16th in the league) and thrown it 273 times (10th in the league). They are actually throwing more than they are running the ball this year.

They have always had two if not three reliable backs that they rotate out and just hammer teams with. Jerome Bettis' retirement and Duce Staley's continued nagging injuries have hurt this team just as much as Ben's struggles. I think they realize that Willie Parker is not a guy who can consistently carry the ball 20-25 times a game like Bettis could when they needed him to. Parker is more of a 15-20 times a game guy and they need to find a second back who can give them 10-15 carries a game to compliment Parker and get back to being a team that uses the run to set up the passing game.

Essentially, they are asking Roethlisberger to do something he has never shown an inclination to do thus far in his career and that is to carry and lead an offense. He has shown himself perfectly capable of managing games and not losing them. Ben is 6-8 with 16 TDs and 24 INTs in his career in games where he has had to throw the ball 25 or more times.

If Roethlisberger is truly healthy then I say leave him in there and try to get him used to the idea of running a pass-oriented offense for next season. If you still think Ben is the future of the franchise then ride it out with him. Or, set him down for a few weeks to get healthy and clear the cobwebs and run him back out there for the last three or four games of the year.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:56 AM   #4
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Remember that Pittsburgh does have Najeh Davenport now, although he may not be completely recovered from last year's injury.

But we'll know a lot more about where the Steelers go from here in the next two weeks, when they will have back-to-back road games within the division (Pittsburgh is 0-4 on the road this year).
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:21 PM   #5
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After beating the Saints, the Steelers are back in the playoff picture, although they'll have to nearly win out to make it. A loss would have pretty much ended their season.
They do, as has been said, need to find a guy to carry the ball a few times a game to give Parker a break. He is a good back, but may not be the bruising back the Steelers have come to expect. He is not a "between the tackles" runner.
Ben has not been healthy this season, IMO. He has not made good decisions at times and has made a lot of mistakes with the ball. His throws have not been as accurate as they were last season. He misses some of the guys that have left the team.
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Old 11-13-2006, 06:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Remember that Pittsburgh does have Najeh Davenport now, although he may not be completely recovered from last year's injury.
I don't know what the story is there. He had one game where he went for 78 on 12 carries and has carried it a grand total of 9 times in the four games since then. He surely did not look like his injury was bothering him in that game. But, it is not like Verron Haynes was even getting the ball either before he went on IR. I don't know that the Steelers have any inclination of going back to trying to be a running team. It is not as if the Steelers have had games where they have given someone other than Parker a significant number of carries and they flamed miserably they just have not tried outside of the Chiefs game when Davenport had 12 carries.
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:49 AM   #7
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Could Davenport be in Cowher's doghouse for some reason?
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Old 11-14-2006, 07:13 PM   #8
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I suppose he could be but have not heard any mention of it during recent Steelers' games and have not come across anything in print that suggests he is.
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