Steel City wake-up call: morning links
PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers are trying to toe the delicate line between showing more of a sense of urgency without going into panic mode following their 0-2 start. The sideline spat that took place Monday night when wide receiver Antonio Brown voiced his frustration to offensive coordinator Todd Haley? It’s all good, Brown says. The meeting that the veteran players held among themselves Wednesday afternoon? They meet periodically anyway, says quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and they decided now is a good time to talk things over. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette looks at what might be bubbling beneath the surface and wonders if panic is starting to seep into an organization that has long been synonymous with stability.
The Steelers aren’t standing pat when it comes to their offensive line -- or at least their approach when it comes to running the ball. The Steelers are recommitting to the zone-blocking scheme they implemented during the offseason. They pretty much ditched the zone-blocking scheme after center Maurkice Pouncey’s unfortunate knee injury, but it will apparently be a big part of their game plan Sunday night when the Chicago Bears visit Heinz Field. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert is optimistic that the scheme will make the Steelers less predictable when they run the ball. And they have to try something after rushing for 75 yards in the first two games of the season.
The Steelers also need to get more out of their passing game, which ranks near the bottom of the NFL. Roethlisberger acknowledged that there have been timing issues that can be attributed to opposing defenses jamming the smaller Steelers receivers at the line of scrimmage. Getting more out of the passing game might open things up for the running backs -- and vice versa.
Both will no doubt benefit from the return of Heath Miller, whom Roethlisberger on Wednesday again called the best tight end in the NFL. Miller is certainly one of the most complete tight ends in the game, and the Steelers’ 2012 MVP is getting closer to returning from the major knee injury he sustained last December. Coach Mike Tomlin said earlier this week that the Steelers can’t expect Miller to be Superman when he does suit up again. True, but Miller is the biggest reason to think that things can get a lot better for the offense in the coming weeks.