The Pittsburgh Steelers have started the 2013 NFL season at 0-2, so naturally it is now predetermined that the seas will rise, dogs and cats will start living together and the world is headed for 7 years plague and famine.
Or something like that.
Recently at Behind the Steel Curtain did Steelers Nation a favor by putting things in perspective, offering that:
Part of me almost wishes we could go something like 3-13 so some of us could truly understand what bad really is.
Let’s be clear. Going 0-2 is not trivial in the NFL. The statistics about the slim number of 0-2 teams making the playoffs and such are not pretty. What’s more, the Steelers have been terrible on offense (outside of the two minute drill) and been so-so on defense.
But some of the outright panic, the “Fire Colbert!” “Fire Tomlin!” “Let’s play for the first pick in the draft!” is simply unwarranted.
- That doesn’t mean that all of the news out of Pittsburgh is good. Far from it.
In the space of 4 days Steelers Nation saw these news stories:
- Ed Bouchette reporting that Antonio Brown and Todd Haley had a heated dispute which left both of them simmering the next day
- Brown downplaying the incident
- The Steelers ’08ers were calling a meeting
- Someone describing the organization as being in “Panic Mode“
- Todd Haley denying the sideline incident had been confrontational
The Watch Tower will review the Brown-Haley (non?)incident in detail soon, but here we’ll focus on the practical implications.
Since no ESPN camera’s caught the flair up fans are left to choose between Haley and Brown’s statements and those of undisclosed sources.
- Clearly, however, frustration was setting in with the Steelers offense.
ESPN caught Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown talking after another three and out. Nothing seemed to be over the top, but it was an intense conversation and neither man was terribly happy. If Brown and Haley did have their own “intense” conversation on the sidelines that is not necessarily a bad thing.
- Show me a wide receiver who doesn’t want the ball more, and I’ll show you a wide receiver who shouldn’t merit consideration for an NAIA squad.
If we can take Brown at his word that he approached Haley the way he said he did, and if he did it respectfully (with the understanding that it was in the heat of a game) then there are no worries. Now, if Brown went Diva al la Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, and/or Meshawn “Will You Just Give Me the Damm Ball!” Johnson, then that is another story, and Steelers Nation does have something to worry about.
As of now, the only prudent thing is to wait.
08ers Hold Meeting
The issue of the team being in panic mode is another interesting one especially because Tunch Ilkin made a statement after the Titans game that this was a franchise that doesn’t do panic.
- Since there is no one knows who made the “panic” mode statement, it is very difficult to assess.
The fact that the remaining Steelers veterans from the ’08 team are meeting own is a positive development. Learning “how” to win games is something that begins early season and goes far beyond simply running routes and finishing blocks.
- One of the things that was evident in 2012 was that the Steelers did suffer from a leadership void.
These players need to get instilled with the proper work ethic and discipline to understand what it takes to win in this league.
- Some of those are lessons players must learn on their own through experience.
However, in other cases mentorship can be vital to making that happen. Why do you think that the Steelers made sure that Rod Woodson roomed with Dwayne Woodruff as a rookie?
Woodruff was the last Super Bowl veteran remaining on Chuck Noll‘s defense (Mike Webster and John Stallworth were still around) when Woodson arrived in 1987. Rod Woodson arrived as a hotshot, having held out all of training camp and half of the season. It was said that he ran with the fast crowd, including Delton Hall.
- Noll and Tony Dungy could not have picked a better mentor in Woodruff. The results speak for themselves.
There’s no assurance that the remaining veterans from Super Bowl XLIII can instill the proper lessons into their successors. But they are very right to try.
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