As our first segment from “5 Questions” this week had me answering questions from Dominic DiTolla, the co-editor from Nice Pick, Cowher. He fired back his answers to my questions that i had for him on tomorrows game. This is what Dom had to say on the state of affairs in Pittsburgh.
1. The Steelers have been uncharacteristic this season. What has happened to them? Is there one specific area that is obvious to their lack of success?
This team is an absolute dumpster fire at the moment. The inability to draft and develop players during the 2008-2013 seasons has killed them, injuries have taken their toll on some of the team’s best players (Maurkice Pouncey), and the fact that the franchise is hanging onto useless veterans for a year or two too long has not helped either. The coaching staff has had this team unprepared to play numerous times this year, and the lack of effort illustrated towards the end of the New England game by members of the defense was shameful.
2. Last weeks game was a tough loss. What changes, if any are the Steelers going to make going against the Bills?
While it would serve the Steelers to play some of their younger guys and plan for the future this weekend, it is not in their nature. My hope is that we will see more of Ben Roethlisberger leading a no-huddle/hurry-up attack on offense, especially since he has performed so well doing it over the years. Sadly, we could be in for another “same story, different chapter” once again on Sunday at Heinz Field.
3. Who has been the biggest disappointment so far this season for the Steelers?
Wow, there are so many to choose from right now. Ziggy Hood has done almost nothing during his “contract year” and has been demoted in favor of Cameron Heyward. Although he is only a rookie, Jarvis Jones has regressed since the preseason, lost his starting job to Jason Worilds, and has more Subway commercials (one) than sacks (zero). Mike Adams also pissed away his starting gig at left tackle as well, and he was an utter turnstile in pass-protection. Zoltan Mesko was nothing short of god-awful as a punter with his “junior varsity” kicks. I could go on and on, but those are four guys who came to my mind immediately.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention what a pathetic liability that Ryan Clark has been this year too. His missed tackles, poor angles, and lack of speed have cost this defense far too many times, although it’s not really a disappointment when you expected all of this out of him before the season started.
4. Who has been the Steelers so called “MVP” so far this year?
Had Shaun Suisham made two chip shot field goals in Oakland two weeks ago he would be the runaway winner. Right now it would have to be Ben Roethlisberger. The fact that “Big Ben” has put up the numbers he has behind the worst offensive line in the league is nothing short of remarkable. Shout-outs must also go to Jerricho Cotchery and Antonio Brown (who is leading the league in receptions) for their play as well.
5. What are your game predictions? Score?
Buffalo should coast in this game as long as they rely on their ground attack led by Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Dick LeBeau has had success against rookie and inexperienced quarterbacks in the past, so it might be wise for the Bills to take advantage of the fact that Pittsburgh cannot stop the run (31st in rushing yards allowed per game) to help set up the pass for Manuel.
If the Steelers’ defense is forced to put eight and nine men in the box, the Manuel should see plenty of favorable matchups in the passing game.
The Bills’ defense has a lethal pass-rush led by Mario Williams and Kyle Williams, and both should be able to take advantage of the fact that Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 32 times in only eight games. The only chance the Steelers have at success is protecting Roethlisberger long enough to get rid of the football, because Le’Veon Bell is no “prize” at running back and is not capable of making “splash plays.”
As long as Buffalo takes care of the football they should be fine, so I see them winning 23-9.