2018 Steelers Report Card

January 7th, 2019
by admin

This is much earlier than I anticipated but here is the Beer We Go Steelers 2018 Report Card. Coach Tomlin always says, “The Standard is the Standard!” This season was a tremendous disappointment by any standard marked by too much controversary and complete under achievement.

Despite a tremendous cast of talent, the Steelers missed the playoffs for the first time in five years. The season also ended in bitter fashion with the Antonio Brown controversary.


Coaching: C-, The Steelers finished at 9-6-1 and were inconsistent the whole year. It was a roller coaster ride all year long with terrible low spots and outstanding high spots. Mike Tomlin is getting crushed in the media for the end. He never gets the credit he deserves when they win and consistently takes the blame when they lose. There were several distractions and too many mistakes and that starts at the top.

Keith Butler’s, defense was inconsistent all season. They blew FIVE fourth quarter leads and surrendered a 16-point lead against the Chargers, the worst collapse in Steelers history. They blew a 14-point lead to the Browns in the fourth quarter that mercifully ended in a tie, they blew a lead to the awful Raiders. The Turnovers were non-existent, and the pass rush was spotty and inconsistent. Joey Porter was the first casualty of the purge.

Randy Fichtner offense was up and down all season. They looked brilliant at times but in a theme that was consistent with the entire season…they made too many mistakes. Costly turnovers were the difference this season. Fumbles at key times and costly interceptions doomed the team.

Danny Smith’s special teams also were lousy, highlighted by the horrible play of Chris Boswell. Boswell was the worst kicker in the NFL coming off a Pro Bowl season. His problems looked mental and he missed several key kicks and extra points. The return game was a disaster and went several weeks getting flagged on nearly every return. The good news, the Steelers threw a touchdown on special teams and blocked two field goals and two punts.

In another common theme, is it possible NOT to lose to an under .500 team on the road during a season? The Steelers lost to the awful Raiders which all but cost them the division and lost to the Broncos who were horrible. Not to mention a tie to the Browns. This is the worst mark against Mike Tomlin and his team.

QB: A, Big Ben had a great year again. He passed for a mind boggling 5000+ yards and over 30 touchdowns. He had a very good season and did a great job leading the Steelers back in several games. He consistently gives the Steelers a chance to win the game. Joshua Dobbs took a step forward.

RB: A-, Did anyone’s contract situation ever go worst than Le’Veon Bell. The offense never really missed until injuries reared their head. James Conner had a HUGE year and was on track to be the best running back in the NFL. When he was injured, Jaylen Samuels did a great job, including pasting the Patriots. Stevan Ridley, was a disappointment and made key mistakes. Roosevelt Nix played a key role on special teams (His fake punt faux pas not withstanding) and plays a great old school fullback.

WR: A+, This is the best receiving core in the NFL. The Steelers had two 1000 yards and 100 catch receivers, Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. AB and his crazy behavior not withstanding is an absolute force and one of the best players in Steelers history. His problems are all off the field and he was a distraction at times. JuJu Smith-Schuster had a huge season and continues to emerge as a superstar. James Washington took time to develop but looks like he will be a star. Ryan Switzer was an unsung hero and did what was needed. Eli Rogers did a nice job when he returned.

TE: B, Vance McDonald finally showed what the Steelers were waiting for. He played great and had the highlight of the season in Tampa! Jesse James contributed nicely and together they had over 1000 yards between them. Xavier Grimble contributed when called upon and is a solid blocker, but his fumble in Denver was a key lowlight of the season.

OL: A, The Offensive Line is outstanding and one of the best in football. The protection was excellent, giving up only 24 sacks and the running lanes were consistent if unspectacular. Alejandro Villanueva built on his success from the previous season and absolutely dominated in some games. Maurkice Pouncey and Dave DeCastro both played at a high level and the old pro Ramon Foster did well. Matt Feiler did a terrific job filling in for an injured Marcus Gilbert and looks like he will be a mainstay.

DL: B, Cameron “Steelhead” Heyward, anchored a line that played well. Heyward had eight sacks and played at an All-Pro level. Stephon Tuitt had five and a half sacks stayed healthy and anchored the line. Javon Hargrave had a great bounce back year and had seven sacks. Tyson Alualu did well when called upon and played well. Mt. McCullers made some strides but is still not a huge factor. This is now the strength of the defense.

LB: C-, A very inconsistent season for the linebackers again, the usual strength of the Steelers defense. There is no way to compensate for the loss of Ryan Shazier and the Steelers never did anything to find someone for the spot. L.J. Fort was the closest thing, but he is not Shazier. Jon Bostic was badly miscast in the middle and Vince Williams played well but was a liability in coverage. T.J. Watt had a MONSTER year and looks like he finally will break the curse of OLB first round picks. Bud Dupree was inconsistent and while he is serviceable seems to be a disappointment. Anthony Chickillo is a high motor tough player.

DB: C-, The Steelers secondary was inconsistent. Joe Haden played well and did a great job. Terrell Edmunds played the most snaps of any rookie and had a good rookie season. Artie Burns was a disaster and his lack of development really hurt the Steelers. Sean Davis had a good bounce back year. Coty Sensabaugh was serviceable but isn’t the answer. Morgan Burnett came on strong after a slow start. This unit needs a serious makeover in 2019.

Special Teams: D+, Chris Boswell, AKA “Little Bos” was awful and his touchdown pass was his only highlight. His kicking can be the attributed to the reason the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs. Jordan Berry did well overall. Kameron Canaday was a non-factor which of course is a good thing. The return teams were a non-factor despite having Ryan Switzer. Penalties plagued this unit!

One more thought…the officiating was terrible this year.


We will be publishing regularly so please stay with us! Next Up…The Case for Tomlin!

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