Steelers Lounge Podcast #79: Larry Brown

It’s another Steelers Lounge Podcast, y’all…

Three days later and reliving the Titans game remains as painful as if  it just happened.  But we did it anyway, trying to find some positive from some pretty repugnant football.

We start this episode by wondering why the hell Tomlin didn’t use a timeout prior to Ike Redman’s fumble into the end zone since the Steelers had the wrong personnel on the field.

The discussion then turns to the obvious trouble along the offensive line, why this group of wideouts can’t get open, how none of the tight ends not named Kelvin Beachem can’t block, and whether Le’Veon Bell has a chance to fix a running game that’s somehow worse than last year.

We also talk Arians vs. Haley and — seriously, I can’t believe I’m about to type this — if Tomlin should be on the hot seat if this team goes 4-12.

Amid the rubble, there were some positives: playing time for Shamarko and Golden, Troy and LaMarr looking healthy and spry, Jarvis Jones and my Week 1 Steelers MVP: Zoltan Mesko.

Other than that, there’s not much to be psyched about. And in fact, for the first time in SL history, all three of us are picking the Steelers to lose, this time to the Bengals on Monday night.

Alrighty, talking starts promptly…

Steelers Lounge Podcast #79: Larry Brown

Steelers Lounge Podcast

As always, thanks to everybody for subscribing to the podcast (do it now if you haven’t) and if you want to send questions, comments, complaints or whatever about the show, email us here.

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  • Randy Steele

    Below, Steeler Nation seen celebrating Pittsburgh’s inaugural game of the 2013 NFL season.

    • Rob D

      All in all, I think we handled it well! Time to invoke SteelerBill’s 24 hour rule and start talking about Cincy.

      • Randy Steele

        Ditto, Rob!

  • Cols714

    Good podcast. I agree that we are paying the price for being successful and all. What I don’t really agree with is that the WRs are now awful without Wallace.
    Brown, Sanders, Cotchery have all been able to get open in the past. However (and this will hopefully be the last time I mention this because it’s getting old I know) the Haley offense just does not have the type of routes that the Arians offense did and it makes their job tougher.

    It’s hard to get open when all you are doing is running 5 yard slants and outs. There is really no imagination with these route combinations. The quick passing game just is not well suited to this QB and these WRs. The old Arians intermediate and downfield game was much much better.

    • Randy Steele


      I mostly agree with your critique of Haley’s passing schemes, but I also think the correction for that may well already be in the house: Markus Wheaton.

      Even if he’s just running basic go routes, that will help open up the stuff underneath for the other receivers. And I think the pathetic performance by the wide-receiving corps last Sunday will help prompt this move more quickly by the Steelers’ coaching than normal.

      And Ryan, I, too, am getting weary of Tomlin’s “the standard is the standard” and all his other nonsensical blurbishness. What exactly is Tomlin’s standard when it comes to clock management, and other game day decisions such as active roster management? Those standards looks pretty low from here.

      As you guys said during your podcast, the decision to call a time-out at 2:02 is indefensible. Do we really need to hire a Chinese mathematician to manage the clock for Tomlin? Geez… it’s not that complicated.

      Also, not to call a time-out during the play at the goal line that lead to the fumble was breathtakingly stupid, although enough has been already said and written about that.

      The decision not to have a player (Cody Wallace, I guess?) dressed as a back-up was mindless if you are planning to use your other C/G back-up (Kelvin Beachum) as a blocking tight-end, which is a critical position, especially because your offensive line is young, inexperienced, and suspect, and your running backs and other tight-ends can’t block a bale of hay.

      Another looming bad decision, I think, will be if Tomlin does what he seems to be saying and deploys Beachum again as starting center against the Bengals. Hey, Velasco isn’t Sean Mahan. Velasco is a seasoned pro and should be able to step in and do at least an adequate job. (I think the Steelers may have gotten very lucky with this pick up.)

      That idea that Velasco needs time to absorb the playbook is a senseless luxury. If Tomlin returns Beachum to center, the same blocking and scheme problems the Steelers’ offense had on Sunday will haunt them again next Monday night.

      A couple other quick points and I’ll shut up.

      1) I loved the sound of the football coming off Zoltan Mesko’s foot. That’s the most hang time I’ve seen from a Steeler punter since… gee, well… it’s been quite a while.

      2) DeCastro’s chop block was completely legal, because, as he attempted it, he was positioned right next to Pouncey. If it had been one of the Steeler’s tackles making that block, it would have been illegal. It’s a nutty rule, I know, but there it is. That said, it’s DeCastro’s job to keep his eyes open to he can see who the heck he’s blocking.

      3) I, too, am a huge booster of Steve McClendon, but all that wonderful penetration he gets sometimes puts him out of position on running plays. Be that as it may, I will gladly accept this trade-off.

      • Intropy

        “What exactly is Tomlin’s standard when it comes to clock management, and other game day decisions such as active roster management?”

        Well, clearly, the answer to that is “the standard.”

        “This idea that Velasco needs time to absorb the Steelers’ playbook is a senseless luxury.”

        I agree completely with this. Can “don’t block anyone” even be considered a scheme? Because that’s the scheme they appear to be running.

    • bonairsfavoriteson

      You are right cols, we sure could have used that 1 completion for 15 yards that Wallace had against the browns sunday,

  • David

    Cols714, I mostly agree, but:

    1. It’s hard to catch passes when you finish your route and you can’t see your QB
    2. Ben was doing pretty well last year until he got hurt

    But also…that being said, there’s something called in-game adjustments, and so far our coaching staff has never heard of that.

  • Intropy

    I predict 24-2 Bengals. Now I’m assuming that the Bengals will give up a safety on the opening kickoff, and I do believe recent history suggests that is very likely.

  • Intropy

    Re: Chop blocks
    The stupid legal chop block rule is that linemen who are adjacent to one another at the snap may combine to chop block and that’s legal. DeCastro and Pouncey line up adjacent and so the chop is legal, though it shouldn’t be. The foul DeCastro committed on that play was clipping, though again it’s technically legal to clip your own teammates.

    • countertorque

      The best part of recreational hockey is that there are never any penalties for checking your teammates.

  • Eric

    I’m really curious about what will happen with Pouncey. There is already debate about how good he really is. Is he average? A Pro-Bowl player? Plus, he has had frequent injuries (even though it’s not his fault DeCastro hates him). Next year is his last year under contract.

    Do the Steelers extend him? Let him play out the last year and then try and re-sign him? It’ll be an interesting negotiation.

    • Intropy

      I think he’s pretty good, but not great. He is also injury prone. I guess I’d have to use Velasco play to help me judge what to do with Pouncey as well as him, but if pressed right now, I’d say try and extend Pouncey in the 3 million per year range. If he won’t take that, let him play out his contract.

      • Cols714

        I agree. Extend on their terms and if not, let him go. We can find a center cheaper who will give us 90% of Pouncey.

        • Randy Steele

          One thing I really like about this site, other than its civility, is that the people who comment ask really good questions. After all, how good in Maurkice Pouncey really (despite the fact that DeCastro loathes him)?

          • Terribletoweler

            It’s a great question. I think we find out by seeing what Velasco can do in comparison, using the same linemates.

          • Rob D

            I know I am a bit of sunshine optimist, but that truly was a steal for the STeelers finding a starting player of that caliber on short notice. He’s starting, BTW, on Monday.

            Not a smartass question but..can Pouncey play guard? I’ve never swallowed the KoolAid on him as an elite center.

          • Terribletoweler

            He played guard for the Steelers once. Willie Colon was injured, and they put Legursky in at center, if I remember correctly. Pouncey made the line calls from the guard position. Legs was a better center than a guard, and they felt that Pouncey was versatile and athletic enough to play guard. (OK, confirmed, I got curious and looked it up) Foster was RG, Beachum was RT, Starks was LT. Nov. 2012.

          • Rob D

            Thanks. T, I had completely forgotten about that. He’s probably our center for many years but this injury kind of brings up the question about his long term future with the team.

        • David

          I read an article on CBS Sportsline that said Mike is the better of the two, and it’s not even close (by Prisco):

          He was the best center in the league last year. His brother, Maurkice, gets more attention with the Steelers, but Mike was the better of the two in 2012. He is a smart, athletic player who is also strong enough to handle big players on his nose. For teams that want to run the ball, that is a must. Pouncey can also play guard in a pinch, which he did in college, but he is a natural center now and should be one of the best for a long time.

          My two cents:
          1. What an upgrade over Sean Mahan
          2. I’m beginning to question DeCastro, with his hit to Maurkice aside, he didn’t grade well last game.

          • Intropy

            I suspect he’s being overly contrarian just to get some attention.

  • Cols714

    Well the Steelers are up against it on Monday night. I’ll say 17-10, Steelers. Loser of this game is in trouble.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Wow, the Debbie Downer podcast! Perhaps all the negativity is warranted. Or perhaps this was just week one.

    I guess this is my contrarian week, as I thought McClendon wasn’t very stout on running plays, which made the job of the linebackers harder in the run D. I thought Gilbert was fine on pass blocking (I can’t see who does what on run blocking to tell who is doing well or poorly unless is it is blatantly obvious). I thought Ben didn’t play well, missing on several passes and performing far below last year on third down (what were they, 1 for their last 14 on third down?).

    I think the D is a playoff unit. I disagree that we have no ILB depth; I’m hoping Vince Williams is ready to play, as he he seems like a tackling machine and a smart player. I also thought Ziggy (who I was very down on last year) and Heyward both played their best games. Along with strong games from Troy, Clark and Keisel and seemingly unlimited upside from Jarvis, I think the D will be pretty good. And that’s not even counting Sharknado, who everyone thinks will be at least pretty good. And the special teams was fine.

    Obviously we need to have much better performances on offense or we won’t win any games. But if the O can get back to its level of the first 9 games last year, I still think this team can be pretty good.

  • Rob D

    I was kinda hoping Cincy would win against Chicago because they’ve always been a team that celebrates wins too long. Now I fear they’ll be very hungry and ready to play. If the D can hold them early and get it into their heads that it’s going to be a battle, I think we’ll be OK in this one. I don’t know we’ll see a big improvement in the running game but I do expect we’ll see how the O-line improve after a week of getting yelled at by coaches and having to hide from fans. It’s a test. I think they’ll pass….17-13 Steelers. Yep, 2 TD’s….one defensive.

    • countertorque

      You guys are bringing me around. Plus, I can’t pick against my own team. Nothing is ever as bad as it looks after a loss like this, right?

    • David

      I love your optimism, but that D-line of theirs will be camping out in our backfield.

      • Intropy

        That’s offsides!

  • Gretz

    Watching the Patriots receivers tonight and I take back all the bad things I’ve said about the Steelers receivers to this point.

    • Rob D

      Yep, wasn’t that several dark shades of awful?

  • Cols714
    • Rob D sure was.
      Big game Monday, dudes. EVen if they don’t win, they have to show some fight…scratch that..they have to make it into the Rumble in the Jungle..

    • Eric

      I actually thought it was pretty weak. His main argument is the same tired soap opera crap. Of course that ignores that Haley and Warner hardly had a cuddly relationship and all they managed was to take the Arizona Cardinals to the Superbowl.

      I thought this was a more thoughtful and nuanced read: