Look, Ben’s played OK, he’s far from the Steelers’ biggest problem, but it’s his job to make better decisions and lead this team in a more organized manner.
That hasn’t happened yet.
Right now, I don’t have confidence that Ben isn’t just going to go for the home run ball 50 yards down the field every few plays. If it was working even half the time, great, I’d be all for that play remaining in the repertoire; but since it continues to come up empty on most occasions, Roethlisberger needs to dial down the deep ball and get back to the basics that make this offense great.
Some of that can’t be done without Le’Veon Bell running the ball more effectively than he has. He did bump his yards per carry average up to 4.1 this past Sunday, Sept. 24, but only had 61 yards on 15 carries. He needs the ball more than that and even those 61 yards were not the typical yards gained by Bell. He’s not getting big plays, he’s not utilizing his trademark patience as often as he has in the past and he’s not finding the holes as easily.
Is all of this due to the starters missing time due to holdouts, injuries, rest or general days off in the preseason? I don’t believe it is. I think there is a case for some of this to be attributed to that, but three games in, that rust needs to go away. The good teams, no matter how little they have played together, find ways to beat the inferior teams, usually soundly. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, they haven’t shown they are a superior team, to date.
There is a palpable lack of intensity. That fire is missing. It may be an assumption that they are just going to roll over everybody. It may be individual agendas getting in the way. It may very well be that Mike Tomlin is not motivating this team appropriately and doesn’t have his finger truly on the pulse of his squad. I’ll say all three of those are reasons the intensity hasn’t been there yet and it needs to be rectified now.
The Steelers travel to Baltimore this Sunday, a team who was just embarrassed in London to a Jaguars team with very low expectations. The Ravens are going to come home hungry and looking for revenge. It’s early, but first place is on the line between these two bitter rivals. I trust that Ravens coach John Harbaugh will have his team amped up for this game and I would like to believe Coach Tomlin will, too, but I don’t think I can trust it until I see it at this point.
I’m hoping the Steelers don’t leave me asking the question this Sunday that I’ve asked myself the last three: “Where’s the intensity?”
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