The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a rough way these days, there’s no way around it. They are losers of five of their last six games, and even their two victories on the season have been narrow—one going to overtime and the other saving another potential overtime fate thanks only to a blocked two-point conversion attempt.
So what do you do when you’re struggling? They say that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, right? So, obviously, if you continue to do the things that you were doing while you were losing, you can only expect to continue to lose.
While there must be changes made, however, the Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin are not believers in, as he has enjoyed saying recently, ‘blowing in the wind’. That is to say, he believes in having consistent messaging, something offensive coordinator Matt Canada talked about yesterday, via team transcript:
We’re not walking around like everything’s perfect; we know it’s not. So, what can you do different? I think that’s the thing Coach Tomlin does such a good job of the same message. This is where we are, this is what it is, and that doesn’t mean we’re not hunting schematics or, “Can we do something different?” I’m not saying that “Oh, he’s just doing the same thing,” that’s not it. There is a point where if you change your message every week and you do something different every week, you never get any better at it.
The Steelers are about to face an undefeated Philadelphia Eagles team that is scoring nearly 27 points per game while only allowing 17.5 points per game. That’s almost a 10-point margin of victory per game. Only twice in their first six games have they failed to win by at least two possessions.
The Steelers’ two wins, meanwhile, had a combined margin of victory of five points. They have only scored 107 points (15.3 per game) on the season while allowing 162 (23.1 per game). Something’s got to give. But what exactly needs to change, and in what manner? Could changing the messaging really affect change?
Frankly, I don’t think so. The only thing that’s going to help during the 2022 season is getting T.J. Watt back, and they hopefully will only have to play at most one more game without him this year as he works his way back from pectoral and knee injuries.
Tomlin always preaches not riding the emotional roller coaster as a cornerstone of his coaching philosophy. That certainly applies here in making sure you have consistent messaging to your players whether you’re winning or losing. What you’re doing right is what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong is what you’re doing wrong. Figure out how to accentuate the former and minimize or eliminate the latter.