This past week we saw former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier call out the 2018 team in a social media video and now former outside linebacker James Harrison has made his feelings known about this year’s team ahead of them playing the New England Patriots.
In an interview with TMZ, Harrison made it known that much like Bleier recently said, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and the players need to step up their collective efforts to close out the 2018 regular season.
“I think it’s a combination of coaching and playing and the two are not actually, they’re not coming together at the right times in the right situations,” Harrison said when asked what he thinks is currently going on with his former team. “Sometimes you got the offense on tick, on key, and sometimes you’ve got to defense on key but it seems like they’re not on cue together and that’s the combination of players and coaching. And right now, I think they’ve done dropped three or four in a row, something like that, and now is where you actually have got to kick it in and everybody has to be held accountable from the top, down.”
Harrison was then asked if he thinks the Steelers can beat the Patriots on Sunday at Heinz Field.
“It’s the NFL,” Harrison said. “Anybody can get beat on any given Sunday. It all depends on what you come into that game with and how you perform the execution of your plan.”
Does Harrison believe wholesale changes need to be made?
“I can’t say that right now because I know it has worked, it’s just not working now,” Harrison said. “I think right now you know the players you have, you know what they can do. Rather they are not playing up to their abilities, or you’re not giving them the opportunities to be able to play up to their abilities. I think now a lot of it has to be put onto what the game plan is – the coaching, what they’re going out there trying to execute and how are you getting them to execute at their top level every game, week in and week out.”
Tomlin was asked on Tuesday to respond to the criticism he and the team had recently received from Bleier and he did so tactfully.
“Those guys are entitled to an opinion, they care and care deeply. We appreciate them and respect the fact that they care and care deeply,” Tomlin said. “Trust that we’re equally or more disappointed than Rocky but get an opportunity to do something about it so that’s where focus our energies, and we meaning those of us that play, those of us [that] coach, and are in this thing day to day right now. We have a big week ahead of us in terms of the work that we do, forget how we feel.”
Sunday’s game against the Patriots is certainly a big one for the Steelers. If they lose to the Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens win their Sunday game, they will no longer control their own destiny when it comes to winning the AFC North. Additionally, the Steelers could finish Week 15 a few spots outside of the playoff picture depending on how several other Sunday games go.