The great thing about the NFL is that at least there’s next week and how badly does this team need to forget about last week huh?
The Steelers head south to Jacksonville and I have three thoughts on what needs to happen for a Steelers’ victory.
1. Let’s See Some Resiliency. It’s been a long week for the Steelers and their fans. Coming off a brutal loss at home to previously win-less Tampa Bay, the Steelers need to show us exactly what kind of team they are. Will they be able to cut down on the penalties? Will they be able to execute in the clutch? Great teams bounce back from bad losses and this is what the Steelers need to do.
Some passion and enthusiasm would be nice too and not the kind that gets you 15-yard penalties.
2. The Offensive Line has to Protect Better. While Marcus Gilbert had a pretty decent day as a blocker and pass protector, his counterpart Kelvin Beachum had his worst day as a pro giving up three sacks while being called for two penalties. Cody Wallace was decent in his first relief appearance for Ramon Foster at Carolina but he struggled with the Bucs defensive tackles. Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro had up and down moments as well.
It sounds as though Foster will be back on Sunday and that’s good because this Jags team might be win-less, but they get after the quarterback. They trail only the Jets in team sacks. Jacksonville has gotten to the quarterback 12 times which is an average of three sacks per game. Andre Branch and Sen’Derrick Marks lead the Jags with three and two sacks respectively.
3. Outside Linebackers Need to Step Up. Three of the Steelers seven sacks in 2014 have come from the outside linebackers. Two of those are from Jarvis Jones who is currently injured. Make no mistake that James Harrison wasn’t brought back to sit the bench but he wasn’t brought back to get a bunch of sacks either.
Harrison is there to stop the run and he did a good job of that on Sunday. The pressure has to come from JasonWorilds on the other side and from Arthur Moats when he spells Harrison.
Dick LeBeau has to get more creative in order to get more pressure if these outside backers aren’t going to do it. The lack of pressure has the residual effect of exposing the secondary which we saw in the second half on Sunday. Someone on the outside has to make plays regardless of who it is.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game
photo courtesy steelers.com