The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently in a rut right now. The team has lost four games in a row against the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys.
The Steelers have a number of issues that need worked on to get them back into the win column. Their pass rush defense needs work, as well as their running back. Yes, Le’Veon Bell is back, but he hasn’t been living up to expectations.
The Steelers are at a loss right now in the wide receiver position. Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey are injured. Martavis Bryant is, and has been, suspended for the whole season. Sammie Coates is playing, even with numerous finger injuries. Antonio Brown is constantly being double-teamed and Eli Rogers and Cobi Hamilton are still learning the ropes.
The Steelers are dealing with injuries on the defensive front as well. Cameron Heyward is out for the rest of the season and Ryan Shazier has been on-and-off with injuries. Artie Burns and Sean Davis, who were taken in the first and second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, are showing glimpses of maturity. However, the reality is that they are still rookies and there’s still much to learn.
There’s also another problem that the Steelers face: a lack of discipline. Veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger called out the mentality of the players, even having a meeting with head coach Mike Tomlin to discuss the issue. After the Steelers 35-30 loss against the Cowboys last weekend, Roethlisberger called his teammates out again.
“We are undisciplined and not accountable,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s why (the Cowboys) are one of the best in the business and we’re not right now. I don’t know. Is it players? Is it coaches? I don’t know, but we need to get there quick.”
Roethlisberger is right to call out his teammates, but now he has to take the next step: he has to address the issue in the locker room.
Obviously, I’m not in that locker room regularly, so I don’t know what Roethlisberger said- or didn’t say- to his teammates. If he didn’t say anything, he needs to. More important, Roethlisberger needs to lead by example. He has always done that, and coming back from a knee injury, ready to lead his team, certainly helps his case.
However, there’s more than that. In order to call your teammates out, you need to follow up with it. You have to lead by example, but Roethlisberger also needs to mention to his teammates that he called them out because he cares, and not just to put the blame on someone else.
The Steelers have a big chance to regroup on Sunday when they face the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m.
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