Fallout from the Steelers' 0-4 start

PITTSBURGH -- Steel City wake-up call: morning links

Players weighed in on what coach Mike Tomlin said following the 34-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings -- and the ramifications that come with the Steelers’ first 0-4 start since 1968. The players are well aware that they have been put on notice and that effort has to start translating into results.

A defense that kept the Steelers in their first two games despite getting minimal help from the offense has started to show cracks. The focus had been on the defense’s inability to create turnovers, and the Steelers are still without a takeaway a quarter into the season.

But the Steelers’ problems in the loss to the Vikings were much more fundamental. Shoddy tackling more than anything else is why Minnesota shredded the Steelers’ defense. And the Steelers need to shore up one of the most basic aspects of the game before returning to action Oct. 13 against the New York Jets.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he will be on the field when the Steelers visit the Jets despite partially dislocating the index finger on his throwing hand last Sunday. Roethlisberger’s weekly chat with reporters also revealed that help may be on the way for left tackle Mike Adams.

Here is something to ponder: If the Steelers remain on track for one of the top picks of the 2014 NFL draft, do they at least consider taking Roethlisberger’s eventual replacement? It is shaping up as a strong draft for quarterbacks, and Roethlisberger isn’t getting any younger, especially with the beating he takes behind the Steelers’ offensive line.

Speaking of the draft, here are a couple of more mock ones. Both have the Steelers picking fourth and selecting a left tackle.