The Steelers bye week priorities are indicative that things are as bad as they have been in a long time in Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-6 and dead last in the AFC North. Right now, they’re on pace for their worst season in terms of total wins in the Mike Tomlin era. It’s been an eventful season thus far including a benching of their Week 1 starter, Mitchell Trubisky, and turn to rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Obviously, things are not great, and with the team on a bye, you might expect it to be a good time to recalibrate and get some things in order in practice. Instead, it sounds like there’s been more dealing with personalities than the game plan. That’s not great news.
This team is eight games in and still not on the same page. They’re spending the bye week not sharpening things up and putting some polish on the existing game plan, but instead airing things out.
Is this grade school?
2013 was a rough start as well, but bye week comments were much different for Steelers
In 2013, the Steelers started 0-4 before going on an early Week 5 bye. The team would close the season after the bye going 8-4, including 6-2 in their final eight games of the year. That season, the tone could have been a similar mix of using the bye week to manage personalities and, especially early in the season, get on the same page, but it was much more of a schematic week.
Here’s what Ben Roethlisberger had to say in Week 5 during the bye that year about the team:
"“The people we have in here…that they’ve been here, they’re good players and we trust in each other. Give it everything we got. Get some rest coming up and get our bodies healthy for a 12-game streatch and let’s give it all we’ve got.”"
Far cry from where things feel like they are now, huh?
And yes, Big Ben was established at that point, but it wasn’t a team without youth. Le’Veon Bell was a rookie at the time to paint a picture of where things were.
This year, they have seven rushing or receiving players on pace to play 10 or more games that are 25 or younger. In 2013, they had six such players.
The big difference is obviously at quarterback. Pickett has been thrown into the fire and is figuring things out on the fly. But keeping the locker room intact goes far beyond him in terms of who is responsible, and it seems as though that ball has been dropped.