Steel City wake-up call: morning links
Panic has set in at Steelers headquarters. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and safety Ryan Clark convened a meeting of veteran players on Wednesday and one result of that is no more ping-pong for the young guys during “working hours.” No shooting pool (gasp!) or playing shuffleboard (double gasp!) for the non-vested players either. I may have to stake out the team cafeteria today to see if cookie intake has also been targeted as the Steelers try to rebound from an 0-2 start. The Steelers have a lot of problems. But tweaking locker room protocol, as silly as the ping-pong ban may be, is not one of them, With that I digress.
Embattled offensive coordinator Todd Haley talked to reporters on Thursday, and he sounded as frustrated as Steelers fans are over the offense’s struggles. Are changes coming? We already know the Steelers are re-committing themselves to the outside zone-blocking scheme that they got away from after center Maurkice Pouncey went down with a season-ending knee injury. And Felix Jones looks like he is next up at running back. Nothing will help the offense more than when Heath Miller returns and gives the Steelers a viable receiving threat at tight end as well as an established blocker to help in the running game.
Are the Steelers close to getting things on track offensively? Beaver County Times columnist Mark Madden says no, and he wonders how a team that committed itself to running the ball more after making a change in offensive coordinators seems to have no clue how to do so.
Clark did not provide a lot of details about what went on behind closed doors on Wednesday. But the first-time Steelers captain said he was pleased with what came out of the veterans-only meeting. Both Clark and Roethlisberger have downplayed the effect the meeting will have on the Steelers -- and specifically whether it will help a team that is accustomed to contending for the Super Bowl play better.
There were some hiccups as Kion Wilson and Vince Williams combined to take over for the injured Larry Foote at strongside inside linebacker. But veteran defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau isn’t worried about the duo. And each figures to play better with more experience.
Haley again found himself the main attraction on what is called coordinators day. He denied that a confrontation took place between him and Antonio Brown last Monday night after the latter demanded more passes get thrown his way. He also expressed his frustration over a running game that has mustered all of 75 yards through the first two games of the season.