The Stillers looked very good today all things considered. However, that critical point, so cherished by true professional athletes and coaches that it compels them to go thundering forward, loomed once again late in the game. Did the Stillers forge ahead into battle undaunted by the prospect death?
No sayeth Marty Junior.
Instead, the Stillers looked like lost and frightened children in the wake of a late fourth quarter drive and could only muster enough courage to get into range for a 50 yard field goal. This angst has been a disturbing feature of Bill Cowher coached teams over the past five or six years and was always a characteristic of a Marty Shottenheimer(Cowher's mentor) coached team. Such is the feeling of dread these men must feel at the prospect of losing, that their game-plan stresses on playing not to lose. The absolutely sinful notion to "go for it" or to premeditate anything resembling a winning game-plan is sometime sacrilege under Cowher.
Thou Shalt not throw downfield
Still, the only coach able foster change in Cowher's style was Chan Gailey - his best OC. Chan's play calling was ponderous at times, but the Steelers were a much more exciting team, less predictable and more innovate Though they were better equipped from a personnel standpoint, the Steelers still challenged themselves to perform at a high level and to win. By now, it is apparent that this team is not going anywhere, so why not fire up the troops and make football exciting for the fans.
Let my people Go!
Just a few points:
- Joey Porter has been relatively unimpressive. I'm not sure if this is because he is not getting any plays called for him or if he is unmotivated. Whatever the reason - he needs to improve and pick the intensity when playing OLB and not worry too much about the opposing punter.
- Gildon is having a good season. Having said that, Gildon seems to fail at crucial points in the game - that was his man that caught the TD pass to allow the Titans to beat the Stillers. This seems more like poor coaching than anything else - the players shuold be communicating better and should have a much better grasp on the defensive schemes. I recall that this same type of play happened in preseason or against the Browns or both. It is the coaching staffs responsibility to make sure Jason learns from his mistakes.
- Al Gore was at practice this past week probably promoting the fact that he invented the pigskin in junior high school. Thanks Al.
- The offensive line looks pretty good right now. It looks even better when you envision Drew Bres throwing to Plaxico Burress for the next 10 years. The Steelers might have a choice between Michael Vick or Bres next summer dring the first round of the draft. I'm not certain where we will finish, but maybe finishing 0-16 won't be so bad.
- Curtis Martin is the best player to come out of Pitt since Marino. Quite a few teams passed on Martin as he didn't go until the third round. It makes me wonder why the Stillers don't take a longer look at what might be hiding in their own backyard. I was hoping that Amos Z. was just such a player - I still believe that he is, but his incredible lack of playing time does not bode well for his professional career. There are very few late bloomers in this league.