When trying to find out who’s to blame for the disappointing season the Steelers are having is more difficult then it may seem. Here’s my “scientific” blame pie broken down by percentage.
- Kevin Colbert (35%) – Colbert is the man responsible for choosing the players who suit up for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has failed repeatedly to get the team a much needed pass rusher despite using high draft choices on the position. He also ignored the position in free agency opting to sign another offensive weapon in Ladarius Green. Players like Bryan Orapko (9 sacks) and Chandler Jones (6 sacks) were available in the offseason and could have really helped this team. Colbert again stood pat at the trade deadline when linebacker Jamie Collins was traded to the rival Cleveland Browns for just a 3rd round pick. Collins is exactly the kind of impact player the Steelers lack at outside linebacker. For these reasons, Kevin Colbert gets a 35% slice of the blame pie.
- Mike Tomlin (30%) – While he doesn’t necessarily pick the players, Mike Tomlin does have a big say in player personnel. Given that, he must share some of the blame on the misses in the draft. The real issue for the embattled head coach is his inability to find a scheme that gets the best out of the players he does have, particularly on defense. With star players beginning to question Tomlin in the press, one has to wonder if he may be losing this team. Add all this up, and Mike Tomlin gets a 30% share of the blame pie.
- Ben Roethlisberger (15%) – Big Ben is the leader of an offense that was supposed to put up 30 points regularly. Instead they’ve been very inconsistent, and down right awful at times. Despite losing to the Cowboys Sunday, Roethlisberger had maybe his best game of the season. That performance comes off one of his worst games against the Ravens just one week earlier. These two games sum up Ben’s season, and earn him his 15% share.
- Keith Butler (10%) – It’s really tough to judge how good or bad Butler is at this point. He’s never really been given the tools needed to be successful. In his two years as defensive coordinator, the Steelers have not had a decent pass rusher. This year he has had to work in three rookies into the squad to help fill gaping holes. Butler hasn’t helped himself by not blitzing to help create any sort of pass rush. Pittsburgh is on pace to have roughly half the sacks they had last season with basically the same players. Add to that the recent struggles against the run, and you have a defense that has gone backward in his second season. That will earn Butler a 10% share in the blame pie.
- Injuries and suspensions (10%) – injuries happen to every team in the NFL without question. Having said that, the Steelers have had more then there share. Losing Bud Dupree for the first 9 games has really hurt the defense. Martavis Bryant is suspended for the season and now Sammie Coates having multiple broken fingers has taken away the Steelers deep threat. In what may the most devastating injury news, defensive captain Cam Heyward is now done for the season with a pectoral injury. These are factors that can not be ignored, therefore it gets 10% slice in this messy blame pie.