CINCINNATI -- Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger delivered a pointed message in a locker room where the quiet reflected the Steelers' first 0-2 start since 2002: Look in the mirror for answers before looking anywhere else.Roethlisberger actually told his teammates to point thumbs instead of fingers. And nothing could have been more apropos, since the Steelers' offense was pretty much all thumbs again, this time on national TV in a 20-10 loss to the Bengals.Roethlisberger had trouble with his accuracy, his wideouts had trouble getting open and his offensive coordinator called a reverse for a 31-year old possession receiver.The Steelers' ground game, meanwhile, again was missing in action. And forget for a second that an offensive line that has supposedly been fortified through recent drafts didn't create a whole lot of running room. Steelers running backs managed just 13 yards after contact on 16 carries, according to ESPN Stats Information.[+] EnlargeGreg Bartram/USA TODAY SportsFelix Jones and the Steelers' running game struggled in Cincinnati, gaining just 44 yards with an average of 2.8 yards per carry.Following another abysmal showing by the offense, at least one member of the offensive line pointed a finger, although right tackle Marcus Gilbert wasn't pointing at his teammates.Gilbert took issue with a tripping call at a critical juncture of the game. It came early in the second half after Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown in stride with a third-down pass that eventually covered 33 yards.Gilbert took out a Bengals defender when he went tumbling to the turf at Paul Brown Stadium, but he said there was no intent. Therefore, Gilbert said, there should not have been a penalty called."That's a shame," Gilbert said. "They were getting tired, frustrated. They were walking around and we thought we had them. It was an awful call."Whether the call stunk or not, Gilbert's claim of how drastically the penalty changed the complexion of the game is legitimate.The Steelers had tied the game at the end of the first half, with Roethlisberger looking like his old self in directing a five-play, 65-yard touchdown drive. Week 2 Spotlight Harvey: Bengals must go with Bernard Brown: Steelers find ways to lose Seifert: End of line for these Steelers? Seifert: Studs and Duds Blount: Seahawks storm past S.F. Williamson: 49ers far from perfect Yasinskas: Failure on Schiano Legwold: Broncos eager to show more Graziano: Long road ahead for Giants Walker: Dolphins put NFL on notice Keim: Redskins need dynamic RG III Rodak: Bills erase Manuel's mistakes Teicher: Chiefs show their gritty side Sheridan: Flaws in Kelly's approach Newton: Panthers' Rivera on hot seat Cimini: Geno bad, Jets worse Reiss: D bails out Patriots' offense Week 2 Rapid Reactions Gallery: Week 2 in pictures Monday Night HQ The defense did its job after halftime, forcing a three-and-out. Soon after a Bengals punt, Brown made a couple of nifty moves after hauling in Roethlisberger's third-and-10 pass near midfield.He got run out of bounds at the Bengals' 30-yard line, but the Gilbert penalty brought it all the way back to the Steelers' 27. The Steelers' offense was scarcely heard from again the rest of the night."That's a big play," Roethlisberger said after throwing for 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception. "We've got all the momentum in the world going there and next thing you know you're backed up."The thing is, the Steelers owned the Bengals for years in Cincinnati -- and were a consistent Super Bowl contender -- because they always found a way to overcome bad breaks like that.That hasn't been the case going back to last season, when the Steelers lost five games by three points, including one to the Bengals that knocked them out of playoff contention.Whether the Steelers have lost their mojo isn't the issue as much as their talent, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.A unit that has been the worst in the NFL this side of Jacksonville will get some much-needed reinforcements when tight end Heath Miller and running back Le'Veon Bell return from their respective injuries.But for those who think Bell will be a cure-all for the Steelers' sickly run game, consider that his next carry will be his first in the NFL.It is one thing to run all over Iowa and quite another to run against AFC North teams.Until Bell does the latter -- and the second-round pick will be given every opportunity to do so once his mid-foot sprain has fully healed -- it can't be assumed he will save the running game.It might be up to the line to do that, and lift the offense as a whole. SportsNation: What's wrong with Steelers? The offensively challenged Steelers fell to 0-2 Monday. What's behind the issues? Can they rebound? Vote! Not too long ago, some Steeler fans all but accused general manager Kevin Colbert of negligence for not making the hollister pas cher offensive line more of a priority in the draft.Since 2010, the Steelers have used two first-round picks and two second-round picks on offensive linemen. And yet they still haven't had anything close to a dominant offensive line during coach Mike Tomlin's seven-year tenure.The Steelers caught a bad break when Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey (first-round pick in 2010) went down with a season-ending knee injury. But now more than ever, they need a serious return on the investment they have made in their offensive line.And they need it sooner rather than later.When asked how the Steelers can win up front more frequently moving forward, right guard and 2012 first-round pick David DeCastro said, "Keep grinding and don't feel sorry for yourselves and just get better. [Pointing fingers] is the worst thing you can do."That is one thing the Steelers haven't done, and it starts with Tomlin."I believe honestly that the answers are still in that room," Tomlin said.At least one person does.
NFL: Answering offseason hollister pas cher questions about the NFC Westposted on 19 Nov 2013 10:05 by iunola8dm2f
Plugging the Holes: NFCWestImportant offseason questions about the Cardinals, Rams, 49ers andSeahawksOriginally Published: February 16, 2011By Vince Verhei | Football OutsidersJerry Lai/US PresswireDerek Anderson got a shot to start for the Cardinals, but wasn't the answer at QB.Last Wednesday, Football Outsiders began its Plugging the Holes series, in which it targets the offseason issues facing each team in the NFL by division. Vince Verhei continues with the NFC West.In this edition, Outsiders looks at the Cardinals' quarterback situation, the Rams' receivers, Alex Smith's future with the 49ers and the Seahawks' run defense.Arizona Cardinals: Who is going to play quarterback?Ken Whisenhunt entered the 2010 season with Matt Leinart as his starting quarterback, but for whatever reason coach and player could not coexist, and so Leinart was shown the door during the preseason. Apparently Whisenhunt was more comfortable with a one-year wonder and a pair of undrafted rookies than he was with Leinart. What could go wrong?As it turns out, everything. Derek Anderson, the one-year wonder, played as he always has outside of 2007 -- poorly. He completed only 52 percent of his passes, with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. That's right in line with his career numbers (53 percent, 53 touchdowns, 55 interceptions). He was so bad that he was subsequently benched for Max Hall, an undrafted rookie out of BYU. Hall showed why he went undrafted, completing half his passes with just one touchdown and six interceptions before going on injured reserve with a separated shoulder. Anderson returned to the lineup, but suffered a concussion in Week 12 and did not play again. Instead the Cardinals turned to rookie fifth-round pick, John Skelton of Fordham, who completed only 48 percent of his passes. By the end of the season the Cards were being quarterbacked by Richard Bartel, who was fresh off a stint as a backup (repeat, backup) in the UFL.(Leinart, meanwhile, made a reported $600,000 with the Houston Texans without throwing a single pass. As revenge goes, it's not Brett Favre leading the Minnesota Vikings to a win over the Green Bay Packers in his return to Lambeau Field, but it'll have canada goose parka to do.)It's unrealistic to expect any of Arizona's quarterbacks to improve in 2011. The Cardinals' best bet to upgrade will likely be the draft, when they pick fifth. The problem is that the first four teams all have question marks at the position. Do the Carolina Panthers believe Jimmy Clausen is the long-term answer? Is new Denver Broncos coach John Fox committed to Tim Tebow? Are the Buffalo Bills satisfied with the mediocrity of Ryan Fitzpatrick? Are the Cincinnati Bengals going to lose Carson Palmer to trade or retirement? To read the rest of Football Outsiders' analysis of the Arizona Cardinals, plus answers to key questions for every other team in the NFC West, you must be an ESPN Insider. Welcome!We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage. 1 Year Membership - $3.33 a monthIncludes a 1 YEAR subscription to ESPN The Magazine - Over 62% off the monthly price! 2 Year Membership - $2.50 a monthIncludes a 2 YEAR subscription to ESPN The Magazine - Over 72% off the monthly price!With Super Bowl XLV in the books, Football Outsiders starts looking ahead to 2011 and the biggest issues every NFL team will be facing.February 9: Plugging the Holes - AFC EastBuffalo Bills: How can they fix the run defense?Miami Dolphins: Is Chad Henne getting a bad rap?New England Patriots: Was the defensive improvement at the end of the season a mirage? New York Jets: What happened to the third-down defense? February 10: Plugging the Holes - AFC WestDenver Broncos: Who will play quarterback ... and how?Kansas City Chiefs: Can Jamaal Charles become the next Chris Johnson?Oakland Raiders: Will Tom Cable's firing delay the long-awaited turnaround?San Diego Chargers: Will A.J. Smith play "Chicken" again?February 11: Plugging the Holes - AFC SouthHouston Texans: Do they have the players to run Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense?Indianapolis Colts: Who's going to play with Peyton Manning?Jacksonville Jaguars: Can anybody here play defensive back?Tennessee Titans: What kind of team and quarterback does Mike Munchak want?February 14: Plugging the Holes - AFC NorthBaltimore Ravens: Can Billy Cundiff possibly have this many touchbacks again?Cincinnati Bengals: How much does Carson Palmer have left?Cleveland Browns: How will Pat Shurmur's offense differ from Brian Daboll's?Pittsburgh Steelers: Could age prevent another run at the Super Bowl?February 15: Plugging the Holes - NFC EastDallas Cowboys: Is it time to move on from Terence Newman?New York Giants: How can the second-half struggles under Tom Coughlin stop?Philadelphia Eagles: Should the Eagles trade Kevin Kolb?Washington Redskins: Can we please have a quarterback?February 16: Plugging the Holes - NFC WestArizona Cardinals: Who is going to play quarterback?St. Louis Rams: Can anyone around here catch a football?San Francisco 49ers: Is there any hope for Alex Smith? Seattle Seahawks: Can Red Bryant return to health? February 17: Plugging the Holes - NFC SouthAtlanta Falcons: Where's the speed?Carolina Panthers: Is Jimmy Clausen a franchise quarterback?New Orleans Saints: Is an excellent defense around the corner?Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Can the Bucs be the 2011 Packers?February 18: Plugging the Holes - NFC NorthChicago Bears: How can the offense cut down on sacks?Detroit Lions: What was real: the 2-10 start or the 4-0 finish?Green Bay Packers: How do they sustain success?Minnesota Vikings: What is the timetable for recovery?
posted on 14 Nov 2013 09:04 by iunola8dm2f