The Pittsburgh Steelers are facing a lot of pressure heading into week four after dropping their past two games. There was some enthusiasm after they managed to unseat the Buffalo Bills on the road in week one, but since dropping games to the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals (both of whom, admittedly, have three wins already), most have lost all confidence in this offense’s ability to move the ball. But the players still insist that they are so close.
“It is just one thing away. It is a whole new offense. It is a whole new team”, rookie running back Najee Harris said yesterday. “It’s people just blowing some stuff out of proportion. We’re not just gonna pop like that. It’s never been that easy, especially in the NFL. We’re always one block away, one read away, one whatever away”.
That is generally true—you can see it on the tape if you watch, especially on the coaches tape—but good teams hit that one extra block, make the final read, and do all the things that you need to do on a given play to be successful. It doesn’t matter if you’re one element or five away from running a play successfully.
“If we just keep sticking to it, though—because no matter what you say, in the NFL, you can dress up runs however you want, but it’s all the same stuff, so we’re not doing a lot to change it up”, Harris added. “We’ve just got to execute it, and we’re working on that”.
While he hasn’t been able to get much going on the ground—at times in spite of the fact that he has broken tackles in the backfield—the rookie has been a weapon on the passes that he has caught. Out in space, his ability to make defenders miss has really shone.
But like everybody else, he’s still trying to put all the pieces together and figure this thing out. To his credit, he said early on that he knew there would be growing pains and that it could be slow going. But everybody has to do better, and quickly, if they have any chance of saving this season.
“We understand there’s a lot of negativity out there, but we just worry about what we’ve got to work on in this organization, and just try to improve”, Harris added, emphasizing that their focus is trying to make the necessary corrections, rather than worrying about what everybody is saying.
Outside of perhaps Zach Banner, however, there are no reinforcements on the way, and it’s yet to be determined if Banner would be any better than a lateral move. Chukwuma Okorafor has been ruled out for tomorrow’s game, so somebody different will be starting at right tackle.