The Pittsburgh Steelers first-team offense has now gone two straight preseason appearances without a touchdown. While the opener against the New York Giants offered some glimmers of hope from this unit, last night’s debacle in the nation’s capitol took the shine away in an instant.
As expected, Steeler Nation is understandably searching out one of several bridges from which to leap today. What the loss to Washington felt like was a complete and total repeat from many games of the 2012 season. The offense was troubled by penalties, missed assignments and turnovers while the defense was good, but just not good enough.
Much of the finger pointing is at 2nd year offensive coordinator Todd Haley. The monumental shift from Bruce Arians’ downfield passing attack to his short-passing, run-oriented attack has left many fans scratching their heads. Haley’s offense may be struggling again but he is far from the entire problem right now.
The Steelers had a couple of well-executed plays both last night and last week go for naught because of penalties. Haley can’t be blamed for penalties and mental errors. That’s on the players and ultimately on Mike Tomlin who has promised to clean this crap up. To this point he hasn’t and it’s troubling to put it mildly.
As any football coach knows, if you run an offense as it is supposed to be executed, it is ultimately unstoppable. Todd Haley’s offense can be such an offense but not when it is being stopped by itself and not the opponent.
When your quarterback is facing pressure at the same time his plant foot lands in a five-step drop, there’s a problem. In fact, there’s a MAJOR problem. The Steelers’ tackles Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert are giving way too much ground in pass protection and it is affecting Ben Roethlisberger’s ability to read the defense without being pressured.
I do not for the life of me understand why the tackles do not attack the pass rushers more aggressively. By giving as much as they do, they are allowing the rushers to not only gain leverage, but speed as well. It makes absolutely no sense to me.
It wasn’t just them last night though. All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey looked bad more than he looked good and guard David DeCastro struggled as well at times. Factor in the less than acceptable blocking by David Paulson and what the Steelers have is a full blown mess on the offensive line right now. Don’t be a bit surprised to see Kelvin Beachum move into a starting spot in place of Gilbert. He can’t be any worse at this point.
I have no problem if you don’t like Todd Haley’s offense. I’m not crazy about it either and he wasn’t my first choice to replace Arians, but it has had its’ moments especially in the first eight games of last year. Since then however it has been bad with a capital ‘B.’ That ‘B’ could also stand for ‘Bad Blocking’ though too.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.