BWG Final 2017 Report Card

April 24th, 2018
by admin

So this was long over due, but figured it was worth doing!

Here is the Beer We Go Steelers 2017 Report Card. Coach Tomlin always says, “The Standard is the Standard!” Not making a bigger impact in the Post-Season is extremely frustrating. It was a good showing for the Black and Gold in 2017 but getting throttled by the Jaguars was an extremely bitter way to end.


Coaching: B+, The Steelers finished at 13-3 and played well the whole year. That doesn’t happen without great coaching. Mike Tomlin never gets the credit he deserves, and he is without question one of the best coaches in football. However, there were several distractions and he needs to do a better job managing those distractions.

Keith Butler’s, defense seemed to take a step backward and was completely pushed around during the playoff loss. The secondary had several communication issues and were prone to the big play. The run defense was awful and the pass rush all but disappeared late in the year. Todd Haley’s offense was solid all season and his challenges seems to come off the field not on it. He was shown the door after a tumultuous but successful tenure.

Is it possible NOT to lose to an under .500 team on the road during a season? Steelers lost to the Jaguars (TWICE) who were 10-6 and a very tough team, the Patriots, who were 13-3 and the AFC Champions again, a game in which they were absolutely cheated and the Chicago Bears who were…wait for it…5-11 and blown off the field by just about everyone they played. Not to mention the leadership made an absolute mess out of the National Anthem Debacle at the game. This is the only real negative during Tomlin’s coaching tenure.

QB: A-, Big Ben had a great year again and played well in all but one game. He continues to give the Steelers a chance to win and is an elite player. He brought the Steelers back to four last-minute victories in a five-game stretch and it should have been five out of six if not for the nonsense of the New England game. His stats are even better if you remove the first Jacksonville game where he threw five interceptions. Either way he had a very good season! Landry Jones, did a nice job and won his only start.

RB: A+, Le’Veon Bell, is an outstanding running back and finished with nearly 2000 yards from scrimmage. James Conner, had a respectable first year campaign, but was sidelined for the last part. Steven Ridley, still has some tread on the tire and he did well when called upon. Roosevelt Nix played a key role on special teams and in the power running game.

WR: A, Antonio Brown and five stiffs would be one of the best receiving groups in the NFL. He is an absolute force and one of the best players in Steelers history. You run out of adjectives to describe him. The Steelers of course don’t have five stiffs, they have an outstanding crew of receivers. JuJu Smith-Schuster was a tremendous addition. He put together a great rookie season and became a go-to guy. Unfortunately, Eli Rogers and Martavis Bryant were both disappointments in different ways. Rogers took a huge step backwards and was inconsistent and eventually shown the door. Martavis Bryant is a world class talent but looked rusty, he started to bounce back in the second half.

TE: C+, Jesse James was a key contributor and despite the Steelers constantly looking to upgrade, James seems to hold them off. His “drop” in the New England game is one of the signature moments of the season. Newcomer Vance McDonald had a nice season but seemed injury prone. Xavier Grimble contributed when called upon and is a solid blocker.

OL: B, The Offensive Line is an absolute strength for the Steelers and survived adversity all season. The protection was excellent, giving up only 21 sacks and the running lanes were consistent if unspectacular. Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro are two of the best at their position. Alejandro Villanueva has developed into a pro-bowl talent and is a great Steeler. Ramon Foster continues to play well. Marcus Gilbert was a disappointment, getting suspended and missing most of the season. Chris Hubbard did a great job and will get a chance to start somewhere next season. Matt Feiler played well and should fill Hubbard’s spot.

DL: C+, Cameron “Steelhead” Heyward, had a monster season racking up 12 sacks and played at an All-Pro level. Stephon Tuitt is a great bookend and played well. Javon Hargrave struggled at times in the middle and seemed to regress in his second season. Tyson Alualu was a nice pickup and played well. Mt. McCullers was a non-factor. Despite a good season, the line struggled in the running game and were dominated in the playoff loss.

LB: C+, A very inconsistent season for the linebackers, the usual strength of the Steelers defense. There is no way to compensate for the loss of Ryan Shazier and the Steelers never recovered. With Shazier out everyone struggled. T.J. Watt had a nice start but slowed down at the end. Bud Dupree was inconsistent. Anthony Chickillo and Tyler Matakevich were good on special teams but were not impact players on defense. Vince Williams had a very good year but can’t play to his strengths without Shazier’s speed beside him. Sean Spence did an admirable job, but he clearly couldn’t come off the couch and fill in for the fastest linebacker in football. The James Harrison situation was a disaster and made no sense at all. It was handled terribly by both sides and he was shown the door.

DB: C, The Steelers secondary started out great but then were exposed down the stretch. Joe Haden was a GREAT pickup and played well. Artie Burns and Sean Davis both had sophomore slumps. They played well but clearly took a step back. Both still have bright futures in Pittsburgh. Willie Gay contributed but slowed down. Mike Hilton developed nicely and was a good find. Coty Sensabaugh never really developed. Mike Mitchell, Willie Gay and Robert Golden will not return next season after good careers with the Steelers. This will be a draft need.

Special Teams: B, A much improved season for the Special Teams. Chris Boswell, AKA “Little Bos” was terrific and did a great job and made the Pro-Bowl. factor…again that is a good thing! Jordan Berry, struggled early but came back and did well overall. I actually couldn’t remember the Steelers Long Snapper’s name which again is a good thing…BTW it’s Kameron Canaday. The coverage teams were an asset for the first time in a long time. The return teams were okay highlighted by JuJu Smith-Schuster.


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