Starkey: The joke's on the Steelers
TribLIVE Sports Videos
This Steelers' offense is an abomination.
Worse, it's soft.
They cannot run the ball. They do not score enough (2.2 touchdowns per game if, unlike them, you're scoring at home). Their red-zone approach stinks, and maybe most critically, their quarterback still goes sandlot too often and is getting his brains beaten in.
Bottom line: Bruce Arians must go.
I mean, Arians called for 25 passes in the first half at Dallas! He didn't use a fullback on several short-yardage runs against the Chargers! His third-and-1 handoffs take an hour-and-a-half to unfold and only work when Isaac Redman performs a miracle.
The running game is laughable. Byron Leftwich, who couldn't steal a base off Rod Barajas, has the team's second-longest run of the season. Rashard Mendenhall doesn't even bother to show up anymore.
The Steelers have lost their two divisional home games even though the opposing offense DID NOT SCORE A TOUCHDOWN. That's hard to do.
Mike Wallace is now a possession receiver. Emmanuel Sanders can't take a hit. Antonio Brown has lost his mind.
This group needs a coordinator with a backbone.
Besides, Arians is too friendly with Big Ben. He's more like Ben's uncle than his boss. You can't have that. Players can't be friends with coaches. That's insane.
It's obvious, in watching Ben play, that Arians isn't tough enough on him. Did you see the ridiculous interception that lost the Bengals' game? Typical Ben, doing whatever he wants out there and taking silly chances.
The Steelers need a guy who'll get in Ben's face, for Ben's own good. The man turns 31 in March. He won't make 34 if this kind of punishment keeps up.
What's more, Ben has misplaced his clutch gene. Behold his recent history in big games:
• He was terrible in the 2010 AFC Championship.
• He air-balled the last shot of Super Bowl XLIII.
• He double-dribbled on the last regulation possession of the Denver playoff game.
• He had multiple chances to finish off the Cowboys two weeks ago and the Bengals four days ago and came up empty every time.
The magic is gone.
So here's my suggestion for Steelers president Art Rooney II: Let it be known to Mike Tomlin that you'd like to see Arians jettisoned. Leave the decision up to Tomlin, of course, knowing that any intelligent employee will take a hint from his boss (I sure hope Art and Mike aren't friends, by the way, because we've seen how poorly that has worked out with Bruce and Ben).
That'll be it for Arians, but the Steelers should let him down softly. Maybe disguise the firing as a “retirement.” It's not likely Arians would find work right away and make the Steelers look bad. Everybody knows Ben made him.
Secretly, I'm sure Arians still wants to be a head coach. Can you imagine that? With his luck, he'd probably wind up in charge of a no-hope, 2-14 team.
Once Arians is gone, Rooney II should tell reporters that Ben needs to “tweak” his game, even if Robert Kraft would never say anything like that about Tom Brady. The Steelers need to rock Ben's world. He's too comfortable.
Look, it's past time the offense carried this franchise for a bit, but that's hard to do when you can't score. This sickly unit has reached 30 points once all season. The Seahawks score that many in a quarter.
If the Steelers don't hit 30 against Cleveland on Sunday, it'll be the first time in 20 years that they failed to reach the number at least twice in a season.
The bigger picture, though, is the quarterback. Ben must be tamed. He must be spared more bodily harm. My God, the man nearly speared himself to death with his own rib. Somebody needs to put him in his place — the pocket — and maybe even blow up at him once in a while.
I don't know who the new guy should be, but I've got a solid tip for Rooney II and Tomlin.
I hear Todd Haley's available.
Joe Starkey co-hosts a show 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays on 93.7 “The Fan.” His columns appear Thursdays and Sundays. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Consumer, core prices inch up
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- Flyers continue mastery of Penguins at Consol
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Penn State defense returns to familiar spot atop Big Ten Conference
- Florida fugitive nabbed in Pittsburgh-area homeless shelter
- Pitt offense eyes healthy balance
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
- Contempt citation sought by state against Highmark for alleged violation of deal with UPMC
- Highmark seeks double-digit increase for more benefits, heavy use
- VA promotion for administrator stuns legislator