September 23, 2022 6:02 am
Pittsburgh Steelers Insider Dale Lolley joins the show to break-down what went wrong in the TNF loss to the Browns.
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The Locked On Podcast Network, your team every day. Right now we're pleased to welcome Dale Lawley, who covers the Steelers, and has covered the Steelers since the early 90s, now with Steelers.com. It was a pretty impressive start for the Steelers offense going toe to toe with the Browns in the first half of Thursday Night Football, but then the Pittsburgh offense takes this nose dive and isn't able to do a whole lot of anything in the second half.
Dale, initial impressions, excuse me, initial impressions, an assessment of what you saw on Thursday. You know, Amy, I thought that they made some strides offensively and they did some good things again, but they, you know, just have a play here, a play there that seems to, you know, kind of push them off target. In this one, you know, they take the first drive of the second half. They hit the little inside screen to Jalen Warren and it goes down to the 15-yard line of the Browns and they get called for an illegal man downfield and, you know, negates that, puts them back into third and second and 19.
They can't convert that. They have to punt the ball and then basically Nick Chubb took over and the Browns play keep away for much of the second half and that's been a problem for the Steelers as well where the offense and defense just seem to go through a lull at the same time together where the defense can't get off the field and the offense can't stay on the field when the defense does eventually get the ball back. One of the things that I keep thinking is that you can only ask the defense to do so much. We saw that in the season opener and I know they ended up winning that game against the Bengals but it felt like a late in the game and then again in the second half against the Browns. The defense is on the field so much that eventually they're worn out, eventually they're tired, especially on a short work week. Yeah and that was a concern coming into this game to be sure that you knew the Browns were going to try to run the football and run it a lot. That's what they do. And the Browns definitely have an identity and that's kind of what the Steelers are missing right now offensively is an identity.
I don't know if they know exactly what they want to be at. It's still early in the season but that defense has been on the field a lot in these first three games and to ask any defense to continue to do that is probably too much and I know the final score looks like it was a Cleveland blowout but six points of that came on that desperation at the end of it that they kind of made this look a lot worse than it was. Overall the defense held its own against the Browns. Nick Sharp and Kareem Hunt are two of the best running backs in the league and the Browns came into this averaging 200 yards rushing or over 200 yard rushing per game but they didn't get to that in this game. But to ask your defense to continually go out there and shut that running game down is probably a bit much to ask.
You mentioned still searching for an identity with Mitch Trubisky. What's the hope for the offense? What do they want to do even if they're not there yet Dale? Well throughout the off season and training camp they talked about hey we want to get chunk plays we want to be able to run the ball better and I thought that they did both of those things in the first half. They got some chunk plays and they did run the ball effectively in the first half of this game and then it kind of just got away from them a little bit after that first drive and to start the second half you know they really didn't mount another drive until you know the field goal driving in the closing three minutes of the game.
So you can't have those lulls. They talked about they were one for nine on third downs in this game well they were 0 for 3 on third downs in the first half but the key was they weren't getting to third downs. You know they were they were moving the football they were getting the first downs on you know on first and second down so they were putting themselves in position to have success. So you know one for six on third downs in the second half isn't going to get it done. You know if you can eliminate some of those third down plays by getting those chunk plays like the play that George Pickens down the sideline that they connected on you know that that that takes care of a lot of that.
It backs the defense off a little bit and allows Najee Harris you know to run the football a little more effectively. Dale Lawley is with us fresh off Thursday night football. He's been covering the Steelers going back to the early 90s is now with Steelers.com and also the host of the drive on Steelers Nation Radio.
It's after hours with Amy Lawrence here on CBS Sports Radio. That George Pickens catch that you mentioned one-handed off-balance grab and there's been a lot of talk about his comments that he was open 90% of the time last game and that really every receiver he felt like was open. Strong words from a rookie I'm sure Mike Tomlin loved that. Which is supposed to come first is a chicken and egg thing here. Is it Najee Harris to open up the coverage downfield or do they need that vertical element to be able to give Najee the realm?
I think it's the latter. You know I think that they do need to hit some of those downfield plays because you know they're seeing a lot of crowded boxes early in the season. So hitting some of those putting that on tape you know I think is critical. The fact that they can do that Mitch Trubisky you know really hadn't pushed the ball down the field all that much in the first two games. Now he didn't need too much against the Bengals because they got a you know 17-3 lead you know midway through the second quarter and just kind of tried to sit on the ball a little bit. You know last week against New England you know they talked about hey we need to take more of those shots because you know I think he averaged like 4.8 yards per pass attempt which isn't going to get it done in the NFL. So I thought they were better with that in this game.
You know I think it's close as I mentioned before I think they're doing some good things but they're not a dynamic enough offense at this point to overcome the mistakes. Dale I know that on Twitter on social media I'm seeing a lot of rumblings about quarterback change of course in their game against New England there were fans calling for Kenny Pickett but how often is that coming up with Mike Tomlin in press conferences? Oh pretty much every time he talks. You know there's there's one particular reporter who works for a major network who you know has initials in his name that asks him about it every single time that we talk to him.
Oh man. And you know that's just how it goes I mean that's that's when you take a quarterback in the first round of the draft you're going to have those questions. You know particularly when you you know don't have a you know an incumbent quarterback coming back and Kenny Pickett is the you know he's the quote unquote local hero. You knew that as soon as they drafted him people were going to people were going to want to see him in the game.
The Steelers Mike Tomlin's not inclined to do that at this point. You know everything that they did in the off season in training camp was predicated on getting Mitch Trubisky ready to play and ready to be the team's starter. I mean he took more than 90 percent of the first team snaps throughout you know the entire process in the off season.
You know it didn't get any first team snaps until very late in the process. So you know he's not ready yet and the people who want to see him go out there would really be setting him up for failure. You know I like Kenny Pickett as a prospect.
I think he has a bright future but we've seen a lot of quarterbacks come in and start as rookies who have a much higher pedigree than much higher ceiling than Kenny Pickett and they've struggled in their first season. They want to take their time they want to do this right with Kenny Pickett and they're not going to make a knee-jerk decision about this. Except it doesn't seem like anybody's buying that explanation from Tomlin or anybody else right now.
Well they can buy what they want to buy. This is what I've been saying all along yes that they're going to take their time with them. I mean you know everything like I said everything that they've done has been predicated on Mitch Trubisky being their starter and so you know to make that change now you know would basically be throwing out everything as you did in the offseason. What is the strength of this team? I know T.J. Watt's not healthy right now but what would you say Dale are the strengths of this team that they can build on? You know they still rush the passer pretty well even without Watt. You know you saw that the Browns were getting rid of the ball quickly tonight. They didn't want Jacoby Brissett you know to have to face that pass rush. You know there's still some very dangerous guys in that defense. You know Minkah Fitzpatrick has played well this season. He's taking the football away. You know that's what they want to do. They want to be an aggressive defense that takes the football away.
But to do that you also have to stop the run and you know without Watt in there it's not you know quite as good as it could be. You know certainly he's a one-man wrecking crew. It was nice you know to see him out there in warm-ups tonight. I don't know if you saw that on the broadcast. I made note of it in the pregame show. You know he's out there running wind sprints, 50-yard wind sprints and stretching and doing all that stuff like he was getting ready to play a game.
You wouldn't know that the guy was dealing with a you know a pictorial injury. So I think they're close to getting him back. You know I know people are talking four to six weeks. It sure looks like it's going to be four weeks with him.
Wow that is incredible. A torn pec and he can be back on the field in a month? That's the way it looks.
I mean there are different degrees of torn pectoral muscles. I mean you know so I don't know exactly what degree his is but he looked like a guy who's really ramping, starting to ramp stuff up like he's going to be coming back as soon as he's ready to come off of IR here. Dale Lawley is with us after Thursday night football in Cleveland making that drive back to Pittsburgh.
It's after hours with Amy Lawrence here on CBS Sports Radio. This is the first time in a long time that Mike Tomlin or the Steelers have had to deal with any type of quarterback controversy or change. So what's it like for you as someone who's covered the Steelers for for such a long time over various eras quote unquote to see this happening with the offense when it's been Ben Roethlisberger for the better part of two decades? Well you know Amy I lived through the the Cordell Stewart Kent Graham quarterback controversy and in the 1996 you know it was Mike Tomczak and Cordell Stewart and Jimmy Miller battling it out early in the season or in the preseason and then you know Bill Cowher pulls Jim Miller at halftime basically of the opener and makes the change.
So you know I've seen this before you know this is different you know it hasn't happened with the first round quarterback so that's a little bit different here but uh you know it makes things interesting that's for sure. Are you surprised that Ben Roethlisberger had Merrill Hodge on his podcast and Merrill spent most of his time or I guess a good portion of his time ripping the Steelers offense? No I mean you know guys are going to be critical especially former players are going to be critical of the Steelers when they don't win. I mean you know Mike Tomczak always says the standard is the standard and you know in a lot of a lot of cities the standard is just they go out there and win some games and maybe get into the playoffs. In Pittsburgh the standard is different it's you know they have an expectation that you know you're going to compete for a Super Bowl every year you're obviously not going to win a Super Bowl every year but you better be competing for it and if you're not guys are going to they're going to speak their mind about it. I tell you every single time the Steelers lose I find people on my social media who are calling for Mike Tomlin's head and I'm thinking yeah you want to fire him I take him on my team I take him as the head coach of my team tomorrow actually. I mean he's a hall of fame judging by the the guys who have gotten in you know in the last couple years in the hall of fame Mike Tomlin's going to be a hall of fame coach when he retires if the Steelers you know if he left the Steelers and the Steelers they decided to part ways he would have a job within 24 hours. Yes he definitely would I agree Dale before we let you go you've seen Cleveland and Cincinnati now so the only AFC North team you haven't seen in person is the Ravens but what are your impressions you know a couple of weeks here about the AFC North? You know I think every team in the AFC North has something that's just at least right now a little bit off and I know Cleveland's two and one right now but obviously they're they're missing their quarterback and they spent a lot of money on that quarterback you know so you know that's what I think they're where I think they are Cincinnati still trying to figure out that offensive line and and maybe it's just that Joe Burrow likes to hold the ball too much you know they spent money on their offensive line and it's not fixed and then you know the Ravens I saw a stat tonight that Jeff Zrebek tweeted out about them that they've given up now I think five or six 400 yard passing games in their last 19 games and you know we can look at that last year and say well they were missing some guys well those guys are all back now there's a reason why they went out and signed Jason Pierre Paul they can't rush the passer and I don't care how good your quarterbacks are in the back on the back end if you can't rush the passer they're not going to be able to cover in today's NFL forever so I think they all have some warts I you know I don't know that any of them are there with Buffalo or the Chargers or Kansas City right now doesn't mean that can't change but certainly right now at least early in the season they're not you know right there with those teams quite yet right we have seen the fatal flaws and all four of them exposed through just two plus weeks so you can find Dale on Twitter at dlolly l-o-l-l-e-y underscore p-g-h it's covered the Steelers going back to the early 90s now with Steelers.com and you can catch them on the drive on Steelers Nation radio it's so good to talk to you thank you so much for a couple of minutes well anytime Amy thanks some fans gear up for game day but some fans follow their team team every day that's why the locked on podcast network has a daily podcast for your favorite NFL team every trade every overtime win every game our local experts cover the biggest stories around your team every day search locked on plus your favorite NFL team on the Odyssey app or wherever you get podcasts the locked on podcast network your team every day some fans gear up for game day but some fans follow their team every day that's why the locked on podcast network has a daily podcast for your favorite NFL team every trade every overtime win every game our local experts cover the biggest stories around your team every day search locked on plus your favorite NFL team on the Odyssey app or wherever you get podcasts the locked on podcast network your team every day what would you do with an extra 20 hours a week how about 40 get part-time or full-time help with a virtual assistant from the room trusted by entrepreneurs executives even busy families the room's virtual assistants are trained vetted through a rigorous data-driven process and matched to fit your needs work smarter delegate more and get your time back you have a lot more podcasts to listen to visit trytheroom.com that's trytheroom.com some fans gear up for game day but some fans follow their team every day that's why the locked on podcast network has a daily podcast for your favorite NFL team every trade every overtime win every game our local experts cover the biggest stories around your team every day search locked on plus your favorite NFL team on the Odyssey app or wherever you get podcasts the locked on podcast network your team every day Viator is the world's leading travel experience marketplace offering everything from simple tours to extreme adventures and all the niche interesting stuff in between extensive options ease of selection and flexibility at your fingertips help make sure your time is wonderfully spent Viator is the place to go to book experiences that will create long lasting moments that make lifetime memories and Viator has over 300 000 bookable experiences to choose from in over 190 countries in fact just last year Viator helped my family put together this amazing adventure on the island of Kona swimming with the manta rays trying to avoid the barracudas whatever your wildest dreams if you can imagine it Viator probably has an experience just for you download the Viator app now and use code Viator 10 for 10 off your first booking in Viator's world of wonderful experiences Viator one site over 300 000 experiences you'll remember
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-14 15:42:23 / 2023-01-14 15:49:55 / 8