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Cover One: How Much Concern Are The Steelers Hiding

Cover One 

No fan is impressed by a 0-2 start by their NFL team. The second and third team offense for the Pittsburgh Steelees has been stagnant.  The defense has given up plays that have made some fans raise an eyebrow. Many of the backups have disappointed and the starters have seen very limited in-game action.  With three games remaining before the 2015 regular season, the question remains whether the Pittsburgh Steelers will show more to ease concerns or show less?

Last season, wide receiver Martavis Bryant did not look like a player who was ready to contribute as a rookiebased on his performance in the pre-season.  After six games, Bryant came out of nowhere and this season he looks to be a player on the rise. 

Another player who comes to mind is outside linebacker Alonzo Jackson. As a second round pick out of Florida State in 2003, Jackson looked sensational in pre-season games, but did little-to-nothing in regular season games.

The Steelers, like many NFL teams, have seen players go either way.

With a new defensive coordinator in Keith Bulter and with Mike Tomlin being more hands on (with the defense), it’s very possible that the Steelers are not hiding much at all as they are trying to figure out what the defense does best.

The offense has been attempting deep passes and giving backup running backs several chances to carry the ball. On the flip side, the Steelers have not called any plays that trigger your imagination.

On defense, no player has emerged as a potential pass rushing threat.  It could very well be because Butler has not been mixing things up or none of the players have a firm grasp of the defense.

There are concerns at the safety position because of lack of depth and the uneasiness lingering since Troy Polamalu has retired. Starting strong safety Shamarko Thomas has shown little to ease concerns about his ability to take over, and starting free safety Mike Mitchell hasn’t done much either. 

On a positive note, Ryan Shazier has looked great. In fact, he is one of the few playing at full speed and looks to be the linebacker that Butler will line up in different positions on the field to increase his productivity.

In conclusion, there is reason to have at least some concern and not hide behind words. In these next three pre-season games, improvement from the Steelers backups, rookies and free agents will be needed. It’s not okay to think that a player can play half-heartedly and then turn it on when they feel like it once game-time or the regular season rolls around.



  1. DrGeorge

    August 20, 2015 at 9:25 am

    The comparison of Martavis Bryant and Alonzo Jackson is facile, but flawed. Bryant struggled in his first year as he learned the system, but his talent was self-evident and immense. Jackson was an under-sized DE in college that the Steelers tried to convert to LB; his talent for that position was more apparent than real. He struggled at LB and was cut after two years, then failed to stick with the Giants and Eagles. In other words, the difference was talent.

    Fans ought not be concerned about our 0-2 start in preseason. But Steelers fans have a right to be concerned about the lack of talent in the defensive secondary, cornerback and nose guard positions. They have a right to be concerned on offense about the chronic under-performance at LT and RG, the failure to develop a solid backup QB, and the under-ulitization of Cody Wallace and Will Johnson.

    Foster, Adams and Gilbert, Thomas and Mitchell, Jarvis Jones and Cortez Allen: what do these names have in common? None of them would be likely to start for any playoff team. These are not rookies waiting to develop; they are veterans who should have asserted themselves by now, but instead hold their positions through default – because there is presumably no one better. That does not inspire much confidence.

    Personnel selection is by its nature a dicey proposition. No team is universally successful at it. But smart teams take a “fish or cut bait” attitude toward talent. In Seattle, for example, Pete Carroll says, “Anyone can be cut.” That wisdom has not yet reached Pittsburgh, where journeymen have made a career of imitating starters for years. Why? Because the Steelers have a bad habit of investing themselves emotionally in high draft picks and personnel decisions long after the players prove themselves unworthy. It’s time to make our under-performers fish, or cut bait.

  2. DaveB

    August 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Can we at least let Martavis play out his second season before we start putting him in the same sentence with Alonzo Jackson ? Bryant has shown every indication that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with . Give the kid time , you’ll be glad you did .

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