Steelers are own worst enemy

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler did his best to explain the defensive failings of the Steelers on their way to an 0-1-1 start when he met with the media late last week. To say the least, his comments were baffling.

In referring to the 42-37 loss to Kansas City, Butler said, “They hit a play on us here and there. Then we would try to overcompensate instead of doing our job and counting on each other to be where we should be.”

Kansas City’s Pat Mahomes passed for 332 yards and six touchdowns versus the Steelers. The Chiefs rang up 449 yards in total offense a week ago.

“You saw the guy go down the middle for the touchdown,” Butler said. “That was lack of communication on the field. We gotta do a better job of that.”

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce pulled in seven passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. On his first scoring catch he was wide open in the middle of the Steelers defense.

“Some days it’s ironed out, and some days it isn’t. Some days, you’re communicating the same things, and sometimes, you’re not,” Butler said. “We have a quarterback on the team. We all have to play what he’s playing. Even if it’s wrong, we all gotta be wrong. We’ll be all right if we do that. It makes sense to our guys. If they’re all playing the same defense, we’re good.”

When Butler referred to a “quarterback,” he was actually referring to inside linebacker Vince Williams, who calls the signals for the defense. There has been a noticeable lack of cohesiveness in the Pittsburgh defense since Ryan Shazier’s injury last year. While it was understandable last year, improvement was expected this year. Isn’t this covered in OTA’s (Organized Team Activities), minicamp, training camp, film sessions and practices?

It would be better to do something simple and have everyone do it well, rather than trying to do something too complicated, and not having everyone on the same page.

Hopefully, the entire Steelers defense will be on the same page when it comes time for the kickoff tonight at Tampa Bay.

INJURY REPORT

On the offensive side of the ball, right tackle Marcus Gilbert and right guard David DeCastro are listed as doubtful for the Tampa Bay contest.

DeCastro broke his hand at Cleveland. B.J. Finney took his place in the Kansas City game and will do the same versus Tampa Bay. Gilbert didn’t practice on Thursday and Friday with a hamstring injury. Saturday, he practiced on a limited basis. Matt Feiler will step in if Gilbert can’t go.

Strong safety Morgan Burnett’s injured groin limited his practice reps on Thursday and kept him out of practice on Friday and Saturday. Cornerback Joe Haden, who missed the Kansas City game with a hamstring injury, looks to be ready to go against Tampa Bay.

Coty Sensabaugh took most of the first team reps at right cornerback in the latter part of the week in place of Artie Burns. Burns hasn’t performed up to expectations.

FORMER STEELERS

Former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace was placed on injured reserve by the Philadelphia Eagles after fracturing his fibula a week ago versus Tampa Bay.

Quarterback Landry Jones tried out last week for both Jacksonville and Dallas. It would be fitting if he was picked up by Dallas, as he was named after longtime Cowboys coach Tom Landry.

Safety Mike Mitchell, who was released last winter, tried out for the Bengals last week, as did running back Fitzgerald Toussaint. Toussaint, who played at Liberty High School, was one of the Steelers’ final cuts this year. Don’t be surprised if he ends up back with the Steelers before the season is over. Seventh round pick Joshua Frazier, who was the only 2018 draft choice to not make the Steelers, also tried out in Cincinnati.

In 2017, long snapper Colin Holba was the only draft choice not to make the team. Holba ended up being signed by Jacksonville. He did the long snapping for the Jaguars when they beat the Steelers in the playoffs.

The Steelers brought in two punters last week for a look due to Jordan Berry’s woes. They also brought in a long snapper for a look-see. Matt Wile, who actually outperformed Berry during the preseason, but was released, is currently on the Minnesota Vikings roster. Supposedly, kicker Chris Boswell preferred Berry over Wile when it came to holding for his placekicks.

If the Steelers lose at Tampa Bay, there will be more potential players visiting the Steelers’ facility on the South Side.

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