By Jeremy Hritz
Sure, the Steelers are 5-5-1, and things seem dismal, bleak, hopeless, and full of despair. However, there are 6 games remaining, and anything can happen. I’m not necessarily saying the Steelers are going to win the Super Bowl, or even make the postseason, but there is still ample time for this team and its players to elevate, step up, and show their true worth and value for not just the few games that are remaining this year, but also for the 2020 season. With that in mind, here are my Steelers Study Notes for this last day of November.
- Former Steeler Vince Williams fired back at the critics of Devin Bush, stating that his ACL injury and loss of confidence are at fault for his underperformance so far in 2021. In a Twitter-fire, Williams said, “His effort could and should be better. BUT how can you ask him to lead the defense coming off that injury at 23…. while his confidence is in shambles????” You can read Williams’ full response on Twitter, but it was interesting to see Bush’s former teammate come out in support. Is there merit to what Williams is saying? Surely. Does it account for all of Bush’s flaws this year. No. But it does serve as an opportunity to reflect on whether or not Bush is truly a bust, or just struggling to return to form.
- In terms of injuries for this weekend, it has already been noted, though not an injury, that TJ Watt will not play as he is on the COVID list. This is a huge hit for the defense. On top of that, Robert Spillane, Pat Freiermuth, and Joe Haden are all battling back from injury, and it is very realistic that none of them play this weekend. Talk about a seemingly insurmountable obstacle this weekend against Baltimore…
- By now, you surely have heard Chase Claypool’s comments about how music at practice could help this team improve. Cam Heyward chimed in on this: “I hope he was kidding because as soon as he said it I was about to rip the speaker out. That is not what we need right now. It’s X’s and O’s and it’s execution. So I’ll leave it at that. Hopefully he was kidding.” Claypool is young and capricious, and it drew the ire of the heart and soul of the defense. I doubt Claypool makes anymore recommendations publicly about how to improve practice.
- Mike Tomlin was in no mood to mince words in his press conference on Tuesday. When asked is the Steelers could match the physicality of the Ravens, he responded, “We will see on Sunday, won’t we? It is put up and shut up time. Talking doesn’t get it done.”
- The Steelers will break out the pads this week in practice to ensure they will be ready for the physical nature of Sunday’s game. Will it make a difference?
- Yes, the Steelers got pounded by the Bengals. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking they will get trounced this Sunday against the Ravens. These are always close games, and Tomlin’s teams always battle and won’t lay down. And yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers win, as the Ravens have been playing football just as ugly as the Steelers. The big difference? They are winning while doing so.
- I see a lot of people out there wishing for the Steelers to tank in their final 6 games, but this is not the nature of the organization, so don’t plan on it. They are going to battle, and if anything, we should be rooting for Ben Roethlisberger to go out with a final postseason appearance. Even if they get bounced first round, Roethlisberger deserves to go out in the tournament, and not with a losing streak. Only 6 more games for us to ever see Roethlisberger as the Steelers QB forever. Yes, this is the final season.
That is all for today! Make it a great one!