The defense came up miserably short in the postseason last year because Butler and Mike Tomlin, for that matter, have no ability to adjust the plan in-game. They are stubborn and would rather die by the original plan vs. making necessary adjustments to advance. Egos are getting in the way. I’ve written this before, but the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and getting the same result. Therefore, Butler and Tomlin are insane. At least insanely defiant and a bit ignorant.
Apparently, they don’t realize that the Super Bowl window for this team is closing—quickly—and they allowed it to shut on the 2017 season.
But it’s not just the defense. The offense isn’t without blame. First and foremost, I believe Tomlin’s decision to sit just about all of the starters in week 17 backfired. I guess he didn’t learn from his good buddy Jim Caldwell with the Colts a little less than a decade ago. They did the same thing and lost every time they were in the playoffs. The blueprint for failure was already laid out, Tomlin ignored it. I understand not playing them the whole game, but a quarter or even a half would have been fine.
The offense came out flat and it cost them.
Ben Roethlisberger had an all-world game but he’s not without some blame, either. The pick inside of their own red zone and the fumble returned for the touchdown can be considered the difference in the game. Yet, Todd Haley’s calls on fourth-and-1 are certainly questionable. Or how about the Steelers not kicking the field goal on fourth down early in the game? Think they’d like those three points now?
There is plenty of blame to go around but one thing is certain; in between now and next season, things need to change.
The offense is in good shape with Roethlisberger committed to returning. I expect Le’Veon Bell to play for the Steelers in 2018 so they should be equally as potent. If that’s under a new offensive coordinator, so be it, Haley has certainly proven he’s capable of bone-headed play calls. Big Ben is a coordinator on the field at this point, anyway.
From a coaching standpoint, Butler should go. If the Steelers fail to release him of his duties, Tomlin will be displaying his usual defiance and ignorance that costs this team regularly. He needs to make the right, sometimes tough decision. If he and the organization are committed to getting another Lombardi trophy, they need to prove this offseason that they are capable of doing the right thing. If they don’t, this team will continue to do what they are doing right now…waiting ‘til next year.
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