5 Things That Are Troubling Pittsburgh Steelers
What's Troubling the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Trying to find something wrong with a team that starts a season with a 4-0 record could be a difficult task. Trying to do the same for a team that is winless after the first quarter of an NFL season isn’t quite as hard. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Steelers fall in the latter category.
For the first time since 1968, the Steelers find themselves sporting a 0-4 record, and are one of the four teams in the league yet to taste a victory in the 2013 season. Needless to say, they are at the bottom of the AFC North as well, and have to do something in order to have a fighting chance of winning a division that is wide open.
All phases of Pittsburgh’s team haven’t played anywhere close to their potential. The offense found the end zone only two times in the first two games of the year, however, they did more than double that total in the following two contests. Defensively, stopping their opponent’s running game has been an issue, along with missed tackles. Even the punting on special teams has been frowned upon, as well as a lack of big plays in the return game.
Many fans of the black and gold can point their finger at numerous things and make their point of what is the team’s no. 1 downfall at this juncture of the season. In many cases, just about every point of view would be deemed true. However, after observing the Steelers so far this season, I have come up with the top five things that have prevented them from meeting expectations in the Steel City.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+
The one obvious thing that has held the Steelers back has been injuries. Even before the start of the season, the injury bug hit Pittsburgh’s backfield very hard. And just when many thought things couldn’t get worse, Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, linebacker Larry Foote and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling all suffered season-ending injuries in Week 1.
4. Lack of Production from Key Rookies
Pittsburgh had one of the best draft classes in 2013, and many predicted that at least three of the Steelers’ rookies would have an immediate impact. Jarvis Jones, the team’s first-round pick, did claim the starting spot at right outside linebacker, but has yet to put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The only thing that has kept running back Le’Veon Bell from producing is injuries. As for wide receiver Markus Wheaton, he didn’t get his first NFL catch until Week 4.
3. Lack of a Pass Rush
In four games, Pittsburgh’s defense has only produced four sacks, three by linebacker LaMarr Woodley and one by defensive end Brett Keisel. The eagerly anticipated play on the right side of the Steelers’ defense hasn’t come to fruition as of yet. Jones hasn’t been the impact player many thought he would be, and fellow linebacker Jason Worilds has been invisible.
2. Minus-11 Turnover Ratio
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has accounted for nine of the team’s 11 offensive turnovers (five interceptions and four lost fumbles). On the flipside, Pittsburgh’s defense is the only team in the NFL this season not to cause a turnover. Both sides of the ball will have to get things going in the opposite direction in order to get on the winning track.
1. Offensive Line
The saying of “everything starts up front” may be an old football cliche, but it’s so true. It’s no coincidence that the offense has struggled on the ground and in the air this season. The 29th-ranked running game has taken a huge step back from last season, and the protection for the passing game has allowed 15 sacks (fourth most in the league).