The Pittsburgh Steelers will be coming off of a bye week to visit the New York Jets winless in their first four games of the 2013 NFL Season on Sunday, October 13. They have had some shining moments and more than a few that have been just plain ugly. During the bye week, the Pittsburgh Steelers picked up Levi Brown from the Arizona Cardinals due to a youthful, yet struggling, offensive line. With a bit of extra practice, it remains to be seen if the Steelers have finally figured out how to run an effective offense for sixty minutes. There are also questions on defense as defensive backs have been beaten on long passes and the Steelers have struggled at times to stop the run. Penalties have killed drives as much as sacks, fumbles and interceptions. The team has been compared to the 1968 Steelers team. Week Six will be a do-or-die situation.
The 1968 Steelers struggled due to issues that followed years of trading away draft picks for veteran players that were near the end of their careers. When Chuck Noll took over, he was determined that the Steelers would improve their situation, and it had to start with talent.
The 2013 Steelers have talent, but have infused youth into an area that has traditionally been bolstered by veteran players - the offensive line. Prior to the loss of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey for the season, left guard Ramon Foster was the eldest player on the offensive line. The Steelers brought in Fernando Velasco at center, adding veteran experience. With the poor performance of left tackle Mike Adams, the Steelers reached out and brought in veteran Brown who spent the bye-week studying the playbook and then split reps with offensive tackles Adams and Kelvin Beachum on the left side with the first-team today. Head coach Mike Tomlin has insisted that Brown will have to show that he deserves to start with the team.
Some of the best leaders on the 2013 Steelers team are nearing the end of their careers; Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel. Even Roethlisberger is 'old' compared to a majority of the new youth movement in Pittsburgh. That has forced Pittsburgh to play each game as if it were a playoff game, to get a win at all costs. That hasn't come to fruition. Tomlin has preached improvement, execution and effort. He also stressed "belief". It comes down to the young players buying into the system on offense and defense. The bye week may have been a blessing, but will only be appreciated if the Steelers can turn the extra time to prepare into a win.
In this list, we will look at five areas that must be improved if the Steelers want to walk away from Sunday's game against the New York Jets as victors.
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