The Blame Game
A 36-17 loss in the AFC Championship was going to lead to a ton of blame going around in Steelers country.
From the local media/talk shows to the national pundits, Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler have been getting crushed for being unprepared and out-coached at every avenue, while Todd Haley rightfully so is also no stranger to criticism for his offense again underachieving on the road and Haley falling into a trap of overthinking things with his play calling.
But, who knew the players would join the fray in saying the Steelers were unprepared for things like tempo, trick plays.
2nd year linebacker Bud Dupree came out and said the Steelers weren’t prepared for the Patriots to play with the type of tempo and pace they did from the first snap, indicating the Steelers were caught “off-guard”, though, he did say the Steelers had a “great game plan”.
Rookie CB Artie Burns said the Steelers should have probably played more man coverage than the soft zone.
None of them were really taking shots but that talk of being caught “off-guard” and should have played more “man coverage” only adds more fuel to the fire that the Steelers weren’t prepared from the coaching staff on down like they should have been.
What got the Steelers D to where they were over the previous nine weeks was simplifying things for a young D after the Dallas game and running more of a 4-3 cover-2 scheme with four to five primary defensive plays that was less complex than Butler’s 3-4 schemes.
That’s what made no sense for the New England game in changing their scheme by dropping Harrison and Dupree into coverage so much and hoping for pressure down the middle from the inside linebackers. If you’re going to put Harrison in coverage that often, you might as well play Jarvis Jones in place of him in coverage.
Onto Mike Mitchell……..
Nothing gets better than Mitchell immediately saying after the game the Steelers didn’t do any film study on the Patriots flea-flicker.
Mike Mitchell said a flea-flicker wasn’t on film study. “We were expecting some type of trick plays…like screen-and-gos and what not.”
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 23, 2017
If true that is absolutely stunning and hard to believe.
The Patriots have been running that play for 10+ years and they have some tape recently as in running it against the Ravens in December and again after that.
Even an intern in the video room would find this for film study.
What might be worse is Mitchell an 8-year veteran who got smoked on the play, would throw his coaches under the bus like that than manning up.
Appearing on ‘Speak for Yourself’ that airs on FS1, NFL great Chris Carter went to town on Mitchell for putting this out there that the Steelers didn’t prepare for the flea-flicker.
“He didn’t watch the last four-to-six games on film? He’s the veteran of that secondary,” said Carter.
“Your first read is two-three steps back. Read the receiver, which the tight end and receiver blocked on that side. They passed blocked. When they pass block, you keep going back. He came up! And it was obvious they were passing the ball. That’s a bad read. That’s not Mike Tomlin. That’s a bad player with bad technique,” Carter said.
“Also after the game. Mitchell knows he’s a veteran player. Don’t tell anybody what you study and what didn’t study. Like don’t let people inside the locker room. That’s a more rookie mistake even him his comments about the game show the organization wasn’t buttoned up, even the veteran players.”Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"