A Perfect Time For A Break

By Matthew Marczi

Is it just me, or is it just about time for us all to take a break from this nightmarish beginning of the 2013 season?

The Bye week could hardly have come at a more opportune time for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they find themselves reeling after coming off their fourth consecutive loss in as many games to begin the year. Not in the sense that it will be enough to get the team refocused to make a playoff push (a notion that is, of course, ridiculous to speak of in Week Five), but it is as good a time as any to pause and take stock of where they are as a team. What is their identity? And who are the players fighting through the adversity?

No, the Steelers, even being just two games back in the division, do not currently have the look of a team ready to break out of a slump to reel off half a dozen consecutive wins. Perhaps the hole they’ve dug through the first quarter of the season is already too deep for this emerging team to be able to dig out of by the time they have their business in order and are running on all cylinders.

Nevertheless, the time off seems to come as a blessing right now as the jetlagged and weary team returns home from across the pond. The winless September has been a land even more foreign to this Steelers team than the pitch of London’s Wembley Stadium that was the latest site of their own misery, and it is time to pause to find their bearings amidst this uncharted territory.

The Steelers have called upon several young players to step up in place of veterans in several key areas this year due to salary cap purposes; how have they been doing? Where is Jarvis Jones in his emergence as a complete outside linebacker as he tries to replace one of the most complete players at his position in recent memory? How did Le’Veon Bell look as a feature runner in his first game? Perhaps even more importantly, how is his foot responding to the exertion? That alone is probably the best reason for now being the time for the Steelers to have a week off.

Heath Miller is only two weeks into his return to game action, with yesterday being his greatest test yet. It is not a bad time to give that surgically repaired knee a week off. Cortez Allen, who had a rough return after missing two and a half games on a bum ankle, now has another week to stew over his failures.

For that matter, the offensive line collectively could use the week off to catch its breath, as it has seemingly been running on fumes ever since its nucleus was torn away eight plays into the season on a friendly fire play. Certainly, changes could be made. Maybe it is time to give Marcus Gilbert a look at left tackle, with Mike Adams moving to the right. Kelvin Beachum is also in play, assuming that Ramon Foster’s pectoral injury is not serious.

To my mind, there is no shortage of reasons that come to mind for right now being the perfect time to take a break from this season. Perhaps it is simply because each loss is becoming increasingly difficult to stomach, but for now, I can tell myself that it is for the good of the team, and that they will emerge from the other side of the tunnel rejuvenated and ready to conquer, even if they ultimately fall short.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Jeff

    But please start playing Wheaton & Thomas more after the bye. We need to know what we have in those two because the needs of this team can’t be filled in one draft next May.

  • Bell Cow

    Exactly. If they’re going to lose, they might as well lose with rookies. A lot of these veterans aren’t going to be around next year anyways.

  • cp72

    We already know what we need in the draft next year…..a left tackle. I am officially starting the draft Jake Matthews bandwagon.

  • Luke Shabro

    Listen, we just needed to get these 4 losses out of the way. Nothing but smooth sailing from here. 12 game winning streak? Coming right up!! 12-4 CHAMPIONSHIP!! (I wish there was a sarcasm text)

  • Kelly A

    This is a perfect opportunity for the fans to change their attitudes. They’re 0-4 and every Steelers forum I go, everyone is acting as if the sky is falling. As I mentioned before, every team goes through this type of struggle, it is not uncommon; three or four seasons ago, it was teams like the Seahawks and 49ers. What made these teams successful aside from having cohesive management, is fanbase that was willing to struggle alongside with them; hence now they’re reaping the rewards.

    All I read every Steelers forum, is self-entitled ‘fans’ whom seem to know what’s best for the team; meanwhile, we’re the ones playing couch GM, and people like Tomlin or Colbert have to live this reality everyday. I’m glad this is happening in a way, it’s exposing the true fans from the bandwagons fans. So I say to people this, take this next week, complete your work, be with your family, accomplish your goals; allow the Steelers Management to deal with the Steelers. Have a great day

  • WilliamSekinger

    Very well said. I’ve said similar things on other threads.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Why? everyone is going to give the new LT 4 games before calling him a bust anyway…

    **Edit** Meant to reply to CP72 below

  • T R

    *SMACK* wake up dammit..LOL

  • T R

    Well said… well said…

  • T R

    Yes what a great time for a Bye.. This not only a great time for the team to rest and get better. But this is the time for all you couch GMs, Owners and Coaches to help the real GMs Coaches and Owners to instead of posting bad comments on forums and websites. Try posting solutions and hitting waiver wires and help coaches find the players we should have on our team. Instead fo the fire Tomlin remarks. HELP YOUR TEAM…. IF IT IS TRULY YOUR TEAM. Because Colbert and Tomlin are not going anywhere…

  • Soliciting Steelers

    I agree with your thoughts, Matthew, on the tackles…we know that both Adams and Gilbert have had some success at RT in the last 2 years but what we don’t know is if Gilbert can be successful at LT. Might as well give him a shot and get Adams back on right-side to spur run game (like last year) and if we need to run left (which we need to get away from right-hand running exclusively) we can pull Decastro like we have been doing…hopefully Foster is Ok so that Beachum can stay the utility man; we are only 2 games out of division and have plenty of chances to turn this thing around if we can get right combo on OLine!

  • Fritz Baughman

    After seeing how the Steelers have stumbled in draft over the last several years, I have lost total confidence in their ability to pick the right player – no matter what position they are picking from.

  • Brendon Glad

    No, a “true fan” keeps it real/”true”. The people who created this page are what I call “true fans”. They tell it like it is. And that’s probably why both of us read it.
    Go be a Cub fan and see how that works for ya. I like fans who don’t accept failure. So I hope fans continue to boo poor play, leave games when they have stopped having enjoyment there, and write the facts on blogs. That’s how change happens. And change is needed for many of us to get any notable enjoyment out of watching a Steelers football game right now.

  • steeltown

    I need a break, myself… this Team makes me drink more than I should on Sundays..It’ll be nice to not have a Sunday where I start off excited only later to have the day end with heartache …and a headache

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Now that was well said…bravo.

  • John Hinton

    Ditto…I had a major headache after the ups and downs of yesterday’s game. I’m trying to stay positive since we are only 2 games back in a weak division.

  • MP34

    A true fan sticks with it’s team, and rides out the rough patches. Especially when they’re a proven winner. Fans who leave at the end of the 3rd quarter, boo at games, and call for people’s jobs remain bad fans. Fortunately, those fans don’t affect decision making or make rash decisions regarding the team (oh, wait, in a few cases they do… those types of fans own the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. This type of “what have you done for me lately” reaction has done wonders for both.) Change happens after evaluation, and rational, decisive action is taken.

    I can’t understand the fans who are only fans when we win. I don’t know what you call yourself, but it’s not a fan.

  • TheBlitz

    True Mike Adams looks pretty bad at times. Really bad in fact. But in his defense, he’s a second year player and has only played 4 games as a starter at LT and has faced absolute beasts during that stretch. Jared Allen and Julius Peppers are the best in the business and great at what they do.

    We can only hope he’s gained some valuable experience and will fare well against lesser competition.

  • Callentown

    Nah, he’s a mediocre Right Tackle at best. We don’t have any left tackles on this team, so until we do, that LT spot is going to need help from a TE or RB chipping.

    All of the DE’s on that side are great.

  • Chad H

    I like your post and will use this week to rid the frustration.
    I lived in Seattle and hope we are not those “fair weather” fans. IMO they are some of the worst in the league.
    I also believe Steelers fans, myself included, are spoiled. We are not use to 0-4, we are not use to really poor play, poor planning and lack of execution.
    We are looking for answers.
    Why did DJ not help on the left side more?
    Why did we not use WJ more?
    Why did we not switch our tackles after the bears game?
    Why are we using the long ball and not looking for more quick short route passes?
    If what the Steelers are doing is not working try something else. That is what I look forward to after the bye. I also believe the bye will help the defense reorganize. Hard to replace Hampton and now Foote. On the bright side I look forward to see Bell play.

  • Callentown

    If any of you are like me, I spend a fair amount of time in the off-season following the Steelers and the NFL.

    I enjoy prepping for the draft and hearing who the Steelers are potentially looking for. I think we had one of our better drafts this past year in a long time!

    Then, come the articles from correspondents who are there are practice suggesting this player or that player looks good.

    And then the season finally comes and, as has been the case over the past three years, we start losing important starters to injury right away. We don’t compete and look unprepared in comparison to the rest of the league.

    Human nature is to be disappointed after such a build up. We obviously all really enjoy the NFL. When your team stinks, it just takes all the air out.

    THAT’S what we are seeing each week get worse and worse as we all realize this season is already over.

    SO, as I’ve been saying for 3 games now, just view this year as a developmental year and it gets much easier.

  • steeltown

    True I will always TRY and stay positive..
    One comforting thing is the ’13 draft class looks like a really good one. Le’Veon looked great, its been awhile since Ive seen a Steelers back score TWO rushing TD’s in a single game. Also Heath Miller is starting to look like his old self.

  • cencalsteeler

    Matt, I think you are right. Move Gilbert to left and Adams back to right tackle. That was how it was during offseason practices. I believe they moved Adams to left because he was left handed. Well, that’s not working at this point. Adams is faced with going up against the likes of Peppers and Allen. He is not ready for that task obviously. Put him over on the rt. side with lessor competition and let him get some more experience. We have all been guilty of ridiculing Adams, but starting only 4 NFL games at left tackle and facing some of the elite pass rushers is a tough task for anyone. I’m not quite ready to throw the towel in on Adams, maybe a swapping of the sides is what he needs at this point.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Perfect time indeed!

    I never thought we’d be 0-4, but I knew it was possible the way the team has played the last season and a qtr.

    I’m fine with swapping OTs, but I’m more convinced now than ever…Ben will always be among the most sacked QBs in the NFL…the OL was shaky in the 1st half…the sack right before the FG near the end of the 1st half was inconsequential, but the others were mostly avoidable.

    No edge pressure, that didn’t help, but clearly Allen was the target and he was hit often, but Clark had another bad game, and Troy wasn’t a whole better even though LeBeau had him in tight a lot.

    Good to see the OFC put up some points…may have been a blessing in disguise they got behind early…Haley was forced to open it up…Bell looks like a keeper…the combo of him & F. Jones looks good.

  • SteelerCop

    I HOPE SO!!! He has looked HORRIBLE!!! I still say first round pick…LT!!! Until then switch Gilbert to LT and Adams to RT…Ben keeps rushing stuff, and turning the ball over!

  • Brendon Glad

    Thanks.

  • Brendon Glad

    If I’m a fan of a restaurant, and then they get a bunch of new employees and they serve me 4 horrible meals in a row, then I either A) express my displeasure/concerns to a manager or owner (if I care enough about the place)B) Stop coming as much C) Stop coming at all.
    So whatever that is: That’s me. I’d prefer to call it “the opposite of stupid”. But maybe I’m not a “fan” by your definition. I think the Rooneys would think of me as a “consumer/fan”.
    Pretty weak point on the 3 fanbases you chose to criticize. Dallas, Washington, and Pittsburgh’s “non-fans” have “non-fanned” their respective teams to 14 of the Lombardi’s.

  • SteelerCop

    Ummm, I understand what you are saying…but I disagree! I believe that if you play poorly; then you are subject to criticism. I am a true fan that will criticize my team when they need it. Even Big Ben called our team “The worst team in the league” yesterday! I only expect greatness from my STEELERS! If they are not playing well…They Will hear it! I refuse to watch sub par play…that does not mean that I am not a fan…just means that I will not tolerate that kind of play. We deserve better as fans…and when a player like Adams allows my QB to get blasted or hurried…I’m going to say things that are NOT TOO NICE! :-)

  • Ahmad

    We may be 0-4 but we still have a chance to make the playoffs for one reason only. The AFC North sucks this year. We are only 2 games behind first place we everyone else in the division tied at 2-2. The Steelers normally start ripping off a good winning streak right around October so winning the next 4 games isn’t out of the question. I don’t think any other team in the division is gonna win more than 2 games next month so by the end of October we could be in a tie for first place or one game behind just like that. I know things look bleak right now but we have 3 months of football left and I ain’t giving up yet.

  • Mike Carroll

    Incredible to think they would have been only a game out of first in the North if they had won yesterday.

  • Mike Carroll

    Agree Bell and Heath were two big positives yesterday. Looking forward to seeing the offense with them being more fully integrated into the scheme after the bye.

  • Callentown

    Hmm, T R, I like your positive slant. But hard to believe the Steelers organization is reading any of our crap towards figuring out what to do.

    In fact, if they were, they should ALL go. Just sayin’..

  • Callentown

    This falls somewhat on the coaching staff as we don’t have any LT’s and Adams has been getting scorched game in and game out.

    Regardless of which Tackle is on the left side, they will need additional help from RB’s and TE’s with chipping and helping on almost every play.

    This SHOULD be part of the game plan from now on. If it’s not, it weighs as much on Steelers coaches as the player himself.

  • Brendon Glad

    Amen. I appreciate balance in a fanbase…some fanbases tend to be “hypernegative”. But that’s never been the case with Steelers fans before, and it isn’t now. To me, most of us are calling it like we see it. And so it offends me when we get criticized for that.

  • Rob

    They have been dealing with this for the last few years and look at the result. Steady decline of the team do to poor management of the team. Look for a consistent pattern and you will find it in the head coach. He has poorly managed the time clock, never has the next play ready to go in the hurry up, and nearly always stinks up the joint when a long trip is involved or a short week is involved. Cowher on the other hand was on top of things such as calling the official over and telling him he wanted a timeout as soon as the play was over. Our present leader has been below the line and is taking the team with him, how many more times do we need to watch him drill some more holes in the bottom of the ship to let the water out while it continues to sink?

  • Brendon Glad

    Yeah, that’s the rub. He definitely looked better at RT last year than he has at any point at LT, but I don’t know who would replace him at LT. So we may be stuck with it.
    Personally, I would have started camp with Gilbert at LT and Adams at RT…since Gilbert seemed to do “ok” there at the start of his career. But I pretty much “dislike” Gilbert as a player, so I’m certainly not acting like that would have really solved anything.

  • Dan

    Mike Adams should NOT be moved to Right Tackle. He should be moved to the waiver wires. He’s too slow and indecisive to get out the way of a wanna-be musician’s blade or to get in the way of anybody trying to tackle our QB.

  • Dan

    Saying Mike Adams looks pretty bad is the greatest understatement of all time. He looks worse than Colin Kaepernick’s nose. He is completely ineffective and nothing more than a mild nuisance to blitzers. I hope our coaches have gained valuable experience in looking at his film.

  • Fritz Baughman

    I’m 6’1 180 and I could probably slow down Jared Allen better than Adams did yesterday. It looked like a grizzly bear toying with a rotten tree stump. I can only imagine how much Vikings will laughing when they watch the game film.

  • Fritz Baughman

    I actually stopped drinking for a few weeks for some upcoming blood work. So, imagine the torture I had to go through yesterday.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    It’s definitely time to switch the tackles. Unfortunately, Adams can’t be benched, because we have no one to replace him with. He’s horrible at LT, and it was a bad, bad decision to play him there.

  • SteelerCop

    Yes, I agree. I will complain when the team plays poorly no matter if we are up by 21 or down by 21…or if we are 12-4 or 4-12…I DO NOT ACCEPT REPEATED POOR PERFORMANCES FROM THESE MILLIONAIRES!!!

  • treeher

    With a record of 2-13, including 8 losses in a row (counting pre-season) Ben is right that they take the numero uno position as worst team. I honestly believe that they might go 0-fer this year. With a two-time Super Bowl QB. Many faces will change again in off season, and coaches should be part of that. I’m targeting 2015 for a turnaround.

  • Kelly A

    Rob in your dissertation you noted a keyword, “They”. “They” meaning the people that are directly affiliated with the Steelers and have to live with this reality everyday. With that noted, allow them or “they” to worry about what is ailing them, I as well as all of you should have confidence that they’ll be able fix it. In regards to Bill Cowher, this idea that he was on top of such things such as play calling, didn’t quite materialize into successful seasons between 1998-2001 when they did not make the playoffs and when they were not very good. I think you like many others undervalue what Mike Tomlin has done. If you want to look at semantics as a reason to blame him for everything that is going wrong,feel free to do so. Last I checked, it takes an entire organization to make a team fail or succeed.

    Here is the bottom line ladies and gentlemen, no matter what coach comes after Mike Tomlin, this type of downslide is inevitable to happen at anytime in history. It’s the choice of all of to decide how we perceive it. If you feel entitled to get involved because you feel that you’ve devoted your time and money to this time, I would suggest taking the next step and join the Steelers organization, see if it’s easier to manage your ideas than you think.

  • steeltown

    …and Cincinnati

  • Riverstko

    Maybe we shouldve arrived in London on tuesday like the viks. Friday was to late to get settled. Maybe poor play was partly due to jetlag. Just Saying?

  • sean mcmartin

    You said it. When does being a fan get downplayed because the team is playing bad and you express it.
    I’d say those people don’t know what a good team should play like. just cheer for them because they show up and put on the uniform..whatever

  • Mike.H

    You drink more? 2%, non fat or whole milk? It does a body good…

  • Mike.H

    Brendon, after looking at your avatar nearly 25 times, I decided that it resembled Chuck Norris. yeah, CHUCKIE!

  • steeltown

    whole…. with vodka and Kahlua, ha!