Steelers News

Heyward Confident In Improvement Because ‘We Can’t Play Any Worse’

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is optimistic heading into the team’s next game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to captain Cameron Heyward, and for one very simple reason: it can’t get any worse than what they showed on Sunday after giving up six touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes as a young starter.

He was asked about why the defense should be better than it was last week, and he said, “because we can’t play any worse. I know the sky fell, it can’t stay fallen”. Of course, sometimes the sky falls in Pittsburgh even when the Steelers actually win, according to the fans.

And Heyward doesn’t blame them. He understands where they’re coming from. “I appreciate them being concerned”, he said. “We’ll take it from here. You can’t hold us and coddle us. We know we messed up. We move on from here”.

Now this isn’t going to ease the minds of the fans who are insistent in believing that the defense is fatally flawed and beyond repair without significant changes being made both in terms of personnel and on the coaching staff, as well as in the system that they employ. Basically, it’s impossible for the Steelers to win the Super Bowl because the defense is the way it is.

And, to be frank, it shouldn’t necessarily make you feel any better, unless your standards are simply so low that all you need to hear is your team captain saying exactly what your team captain is supposed to, and should be expected to say.

The truth is that it’s unlikely the defense will play on Monday as bad as it did on Sunday. They are better than what they showed against the Chiefs, and I would hope that most here understand that. Flaws were exposed in that game that will be worked on and patched up.

That will, hopefully, include Joe Haden returning to the lineup, as his replacements struggled in that role. The rotation of Cameron Sutton and Coty Sensabaugh at cornerback was a problem, and the same could be said for the play of rookie safety Terrell Edmunds and the rotation with Morgan Burnett.

We know about the communication issues. It would be a virtual impossibility for the team not to address that over the course of the week—especially with an extra day—in an effort to get it more under control.

There is a reason that the Steelers regularly name Heyward one of their team captains. It’s not just because he is the most veteran, longest-tenured defender on the team. It’s because he is a natural leader and demands the best of his teammates, willing to tell them when they need to step up—behind closed doors.v

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