Excessive reactions from Steelers Nation: replacing Big Ben, OL cannot be repaired

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Welcome to my weekly edition of “Overreactions from Steelers Nation”. This week, I dive deep into the panic caused by fans when their favorite team loses.

For us, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers who lost a game to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Gasp! How could that be? What’s wrong? THE SEASON IS OVER!

I’m here to tell you about this ledge my friend …

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Defense

Let’s start quickly with defense – and repeat after me – there was no rush to pass!

Why?

Missing out on a double DPOY finalist TJ Watt tends to be irreplaceable, but when you also remove his criminal partner, the other starter, Alex Highsmith, then things get untenable with an undrafted rookie (Jamir Jones) and a squad. training call (Derrek Tuszka).

Jones’ performance was so below the line that Tuszka not only passed him on Sunday, but literally took his job, as the Steelers parted ways with Jones on Tuesday and signed Tuszka to the 53-man roster.

Also keep in mind that the Steelers don’t have two other starters and stalwarts of the defensive line, as Tyson Aualu and Stephon Tuitt are both in IR.

Any combination of Watt, Highsmith, Alualu, and Tuitt is a lot to make up for, not to mention missing all four. (Better Days are Coming Nation!)

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Big ben

Ben Roethlisberger didn’t exactly have a game for the ages on Sunday, throwing two bad interceptions and mostly out of sync with his attacking teammates for various reasons.

One of those reasons, the offensive line, is explored in more detail below. However, Roethlisberger himself seems to be holding the ball too long or making some uncomfortable decisions.

This could be the learning curve for a new offense under Matt Canada (who is also to blame), but I will just remind everyone that BEN HAS BEEN INJURED AND WAS NOT ABLE TO TRAIN ALL THE WEEK !!

Yes. Injury to the pecs. Limit.

It’s like people don’t remember what they ate for breakfast, let alone the fact that a week ago they were biting their nails about Mason Rudolph being the starter – for the record, Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins are the options. Not Deshaun Watson. Not Cam Newton. (Just stop!)

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No racing game

Okay, the racing game still isn’t where we all might want it to be, but have we at least gotten a glimpse of where Najee Harris is going as a pro? 14 carries for 40 yards isn’t great, but involving Harris in the passing game, to the tune of 14 receptions for 102 yards (on 19 targets!) Advice, as those stats reach the heights of another former Steelers who was once billed as the ‘WR2’ of the team. (If you got lost, it was Le’Veon Bell. His momentum off the backfield was certainly part of those explosive Steelers teams of mid-2010.)

Anyway, we haven’t seen the best of Najee’s ground game yet, but it could be on its way …

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Offensive line

A Pittsburgh radio personality said he doesn’t think the offensive line could be any worse than last year’s version and is backing down.

I’m not leaving the ship just yet – and here’s why.

First of all, does anyone remember when the o line was committing a bunch of penalties several September ago? (Of course not. Yinz didn’t remember the injury to Ben’s pecs.) Mike Tomlin had to use referees to practice in order to throw flags and tighten their discipline.

The biggest problem with the offensive line right now is… weather. They haven’t played together and I’m not just talking about this year – I’ve been talking since week 1.

Going back to the memory banks, how many fans were on Kevin Dotson for being “demoted” and “out of shape” when he was just injured and didn’t attend training camp sessions? Likewise, Trai Turner was not available either.

Neither guard had the full first rehearsal time that Kendrick Green did, and when you factor in Chuks Okorafor was judged as the left tackle, not the right, you have a lot of moving parts in a short time. time.

Fourth-round draft pick Dan Moore Jr. became the Steelers’ starting left tackle heading into Week 1, when Zach Banner was not cleared to start this season. It required Chuks to move left to right, meaning four of the five starting offensive linemen haven’t even been in their current positions for a full month.

Yes, each of them took a penalty on Sunday – it’s bad. But it’s also a training and continuity issue that (hopefully) doesn’t develop in Pittsburgh.

My gut reaction gives them time. If at least two or three of these young men get past the level they are currently expected to fail, the Steelers will do just fine.


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