The 2007 season was Mike Tomlin’s first as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It was also the first time in years that the offensive line was a glaring weakness as Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 47 times (second in the NFL to only the 51 times Jon Kitna was sacked) and knocked on his ass countless more. The image of him running for his life every week and on seemingly every drop back had Steelers fans screaming for offensive line help in the following draft.
After watching eight offensive tackles disappear before their pick, the Steelers went in the complete opposite direction at No. 23, shunning the opportunity to pick for need (offensive line) and grabbed a skill position player — running back Rashard Mendenhall — that wasn’t expected to be available with their pick. In the second round they again went away from the offensive line and took another skill player, wide receiver Limas Sweed.
The offensive line remained in shambles and Roethlisberger would spend the following season playing behind a unit that included Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Justin Hartwig, Darnell Stapleton, and Willie Colon.
Thanks, Bengals, for losing Thursday night. That makes the Steelers’ showing in Oakland even harder to take … and on that note, welcome to another Steelers Lounge Podcast!
Seriously though, can we all agree that the 2013 Steelers aren’t going anywhere? Of course, that’ll mean they’ll beat the Pats before the bottom falls out again. Whatever, we talk about what happened in Oakland, take a long look at all that’s wrong with this team (and yes, I finally concede that Todd Haley should enjoy his final two months in Pittsburgh), and hunt for positives in a season that’s largely been a disappointment.
Then we look ahead to Sunday’s game against a pretty bad Pats team. For what it’s worth — and I’d imagine about as much as a 2nd quarter Tomlin challenge — I have the Steelers winning. Bet your life savings accordingly.
Zoltan Mesko lasted eight weeks. On Tuesday, the Steelers replaced him with Mat McBriar, a 10-year vet who hasn’t played since last season, which means that Drew Butler wasn’t next in line for the job he lost just before the season.
Mesko had a punt blocked Sunday, and who knows, maybe we’re blaming him for Po-Sweezy’s two missed field goals too. We’ll have to see if this magically saves the season.
In related news: Tomlin has demoted Jarvis Jones to backup behind Jason Worilds. Hopefully, this has the same effect as Rashard Mendenhall getting benched back in 2009.
Two games, two wins. And this time, the Steelers did it with GUY WHIMPER.
Seriously, we all tip our Steely McBeam hard hat in Whimper’s direction, as well as the entire offensive line. David DeCastro had one of the most impressing run-blocking performances I’ve ever seen, and Kelvin Beachum continues to be solid at left tackle.
Oh, and Le’Veon Bell.
Easily the Steelers’ most patient runner since the Bus, Bell suddenly adds a dimension missing from this team the last few years: a running game.
As for the Ravens, we get Gretz’s perspective from 522, talk about the onside kick, Manny’s touchdown return that wasn’t, Troy leap-frogging the line and what that could’ve meant, as well as a bunch of other stuff.
Now if the Steelers can beat the Raiders (seriously, why have they struggled so much against this team?) then I might be willing to concede that they’re back in this thing.
The Steelers finally won a game last Sunday and they somehow managed to do it without Levi Brown. To Kelvin Beachum’s credit, he was serviceable at left tackle and really, that’s all we can hope for at this point. The running game’s still a mess but we all thought Big Ben had his best game of the season against the Jets, and that was with Antonio Brown dropping a touchdown pass in the end zone.
The defense also created TWO turnovers and Vince Williams and Cam Heyward both played, to quote that guy I went to college with, “above the line.”
Oh, right: It’s Ravens week. It doesn’t have quite the feel of usual get-togethers, probably because the Steelers are 1-4. But Baltimore is struggling too, especially on offense. And hey, who knows, if Pittsburgh can eke one out, then beat the Raiders next week, they’re 3-4.