The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a hot topic in the world of talking heads this week after being absolutely blasted by the Cincinnati Bengals, 41-10, at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Steelers were lifeless as the Bengals ran through and around them all game long, doing whatever they wanted on both sides of the football, making for one of the worst defeats in recent Steelers history.
Sunday’s display was so weak that it caused names like ESPN’s Ryan Clark and former Steeler Rocky Bleier to speak freely about what they’ve seen from the Steelers in recent weeks, causing quite a stir.
Clark questioned the mentality of the Steelers, especially defensively, stating that the team has lost the identity that once made it great, while Bleier bluntly stated that the “Steelers suck.”
Those harsh (mostly true) comments have caused quite the talking point leading up to Sunday’s Week 13 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, so much so that Steelers’ defensive coordinator Keith Butler was asked about the comments during his Thursday media availability.
Butler, who has been with the Steelers since 2003, has seen a thing or two with the black and gold, and knows where guys like Clark and Bleier are coming from. For Butler, he believes the former players want to see the Steelers do well, and that they’re free to say whatever they want.
“They’re free to say what they want to say, you know?” Butler said to reporters Thursday, according to the official transcript provided by the team. “I mean, those guys were here, the guys who are saying the stuff. They won two Super Bowls. I’ve had a chance to leave here a few times. I never have, because I always felt this was the best place for me to try to win another Super Bowl. And then Larry Foote goes down to Tampa and wins one and calls me up, ‘ha ha ha, I’ve got three.’ So, you know, one of those deals. But it’s all about winning the Super Bowl and they did a great job winning the Super Bowl and yeah, they want us to do well. They’re pulling for us to do well. They don’t want us to do bad. Nobody, I don’t think anybody wants that, including us. So, we’ve got to get better.”
The goal is obviously to always win the Super Bowl, but in a year in which that is highly unlikely with this current version of the Steelers, Butler’s defense better get things fixed in a hurry, because allowing 41 points in back-to-back weeks simply isn’t Steelers’ football.
Granted, Pittsburgh is dealing with a lot of injuries to key guys on the defensive side of the football, but that hasn’t stopped them in the past, especially with the “next man up” mentality. This year though, the lack of depth and experience is killing them, as teams are running right through them and getting whatever they want through the air.
The coaching has to be better, and the execution much sharper. There’s too much talent on this team overall defensively to be this bad, this “embarrassing”, as T.J. Watt said.