To be sure, a player saying his team had a great week of practice is what you’d expect. It’s like a volcano insurance salesman telling you you need volcano insurance. Tough to believe the source.
But coming off a week where the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense looked as bad as it has this year, JuJu Smith-Schuster believes they’ll flip the script tomorrow afternoon against the Atlanta Falcons. Speaking to reporters on the team site, he said the offense had a focused, impressive week of practice.
“Very detailed to the point where, finishing blocks, doing everything, getting your depth,” he said. “Always communicating. I think that’s the biggest thing. We have to communicate after every play, every series.”
This is an offense that’s floundered in the second half for consecutive weeks, held scoreless for the first time since 1993. If there’s a week to let the offense hit its mark, it’s against a Falcons’ defense ravaged by injury. They’re allowing more than 30 points per game and are having as many problems stopping the run as they are the pass.
Smith-Schuster said coaches have placed even more emphasis on the gameplan than usual and are making adjustments throughout the week.
“Coaches are already adjusting it. In our meetings today and this whole week.”
Hopefully there isn’t an “paralysis by analysis” issue where there’s too much information but clearly, that’s been more of a problem child for the defense, not the offense.
It’s going to be the offense who will have to shoulder the load, as is the case most weeks. That starts with Ben Roethlisberger who must play better than last week. As he goes, so does the offense and really, the entire team.
If not, the Steelers will drop to 1-3-1 and be 0-3 at Heinz Field this season. Smith-Schuster said losing at home has “sucked” for the fans, the understatement of the year. Should that happen again Sunday, it’ll be the first time they’ve gone winless in their first three home games since 1986. They finished that year 6-10, beginning he year a pitiful 2-6.