The 2017 Steelers offense is a mess right now. Looking back at the off-season this should come as no surprise to anyone. In fact, we all should have seen this coming. The evidence that this offense would not be prepared for the season was so obvious. There’s no one person to blame, rather it’s a collection of circumstances that is holding this offense back. We all got blinded by the collection of talent the Steelers were throwing out there. Problem was, that’s exactly what they were doing just throwing a group of gifted palyers out with no chemistry at all.
It starts with the team’s best player. Le’veon Bell did not play a snap in the pre-season. The narrative from most was he would be able to step on the field week one as if nothing happened. Well that wasn’t true, as it took Bell several weeks to finally get into a groove. What we all underestimated was it would also take his team matestime to get used to him being back. Five weeks in, and the team is still struggling to find a balance between running Le’veon Bell and jump starting the passing game. This is something that may have been avoided had Bell been there to work through the offense during the pre-season. Let’s not forget that for the first time ever really, all the key weapons are healthy and on the field. That is bound to take a great deal of reps to figure out the pass versus run distribution.
Speaking of returning weapons, Martavis Bryant is now back in the fold. You’d barely know it by watching the first five games though. After missing an entire season, and a good chunk of the pre-season it should come as no surprise he has had a hard time getting going. Right now he and Ben Roethlisberger have little to no chemistry together. Bryant is very important part of what Todd Haley and the Steelers want to do on offense. It should come around in time, as long as frustration and losing don’t derail the entire unit.
I saved the best, and most important for last. Ben Roethlisberger has not been himself at all through five games. There could be many reasons for this including the most sobering of all, that he’s finished as an elite quarterback. When you dig deeper though, there are some underlying issues that may be affecting his play. Roethlisberger only played in one of the four pre-season games. He attempted nine passes total all pre-season, yes that’s not a misprint…… nine attempts. It doesn’t stop there. Big Ben has regularly missed Wednesday’s practices this season. Something it has taken the Steelers five weeks of ineptitude to figure out is a bad idea. It was announced that he will practice this Wednesday ahead of the huge game versus the Chiefs. How in the world is the offense supposed to gain any cohesiveness when the quarterback essentially skips the pre-season and takes a day off from practice every week? How to you break in a rookie receiver, a brand new tight end, and a receiver back from a year-long suspension when your quarterback isn’t participating in practice games? Well, the answer is you don’t apparently.
This is where coaching enters the equation. Todd Haley has taken his share of the blame for the offensive woes of the team. While his play calling may be suspect at times this season, he’s hardly to blame for the lack of chemistry. Who plays and who practices falls squarely in the lap of the head coach. Mike Tomlin is the man calling the shots, and must accept some the blame for what’s transpired. He’s gotten a great deal of credit for the strong finishes this team has had over the years. Perhaps it’s time to look at why his teams start so poorly. Given all this there is room for optimism believe it or not. It is reasonable to expect this offense to get better the more they all play together. If Tomlin can hold this team from imploding on itself, they could very well come out of this and realize the enormous potential. This is something we should all be used to by now. Hopefully Tomlin’s Steelers follow the scriot