Producing a 2-6 record through the first half of the 2022 season, you can safely deduce from that that there are many things wrong with this current Pittsburgh Steelers team. They not only rank 32nd in points per game, but also 24th in points allowed per game, allowing 77 more points through eight games than they’ve managed to put up.
It doesn’t get that bad with numerous factors at play, and talent is certainly one concern, but it is only one of many. The Steelers are hoping to address some of those both on and off the field during this respite of a bye.
“I think it’s just having the approach of coming in every day looking to improve, stringing good days together, sticking together”, senior defensive assistant Brian Flores said yesterday via the team’s YouTube channel. “I think if you just continually do that on a day-to-day basis, things normally turn in your favor. That’s the message we’ve gotten from” head coach Mike Tomlin.
“I think we’ve had two good days out here, just getting back to fundamentals and technique and communication”, he added. “Guys will be excited to get back and get going next week”.
Although, for example, the Steelers’ defensive tackling hasn’t been uniformly poor this season, there are plenty of issues on both sides of the ball. Sometimes it’s just not making the plays that are there, whether it’s failing to come down with an interception or failing to prevent a touchdown, in either case scenarios that could have gone the other way.
Cleaning up fundamentals is something that we have been hearing about for weeks on end, from both players and coaches. Even former quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the latest episode of his podcast talked about how when they’ve struggled in the past, they would refocus and go back to basics for a while.
Sometimes a recalibration is important. It’s not that you suddenly don’t know the fundamentals of the game, but through routine and habit you can stray from them and lose focus. Concentrating on the basics can also be a sort of meditational and psychological tool.
It should also be said that, at least when teams do practice during this period, that’s typically what happens during bye weeks. What the Steelers were doing these recent days was far from abnormal, though in more optimal times, they might not have even had this on-field work, or to such an extent.