Joe Starkey: Steelers' main issue is talent, not effort or scheme

Joe Starkey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Football

PITTSBURGH — The Devin Bush debacle has reached the point where even his defenders are inadvertently ripping him.

Ex-Steelers linebacker Vince Williams tweeted what was supposed to be a passionate defense of his former teammate but within it referred to Bush as "an underperforming top pick" and a player whose "effort could and should be better."

Wait, so he's not only an underachiever but also a slacker?

With supporters like that, who needs detractors?

Bush also has become something of a Steelers outlier, in this respect: His talent exceeds his effort. The opposite is true for most of his teammates. They're trying, all right, but most just aren't good enough. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

So pay no mind when you hear all these people — including the head coach — claiming the Steelers merely need to try harder and scheme better.


This team's biggest problem, by a million miles, is a lack of talent.

Injuries, defections, old age and bad personnel moves (a fifth-round pick for Ahkello Witherspoon?) have contributed to a depth chart that's thinner than Kent Tekulve in 1979. Rest assured, Derrek Tuszka is trying. So are Dan Moore and Taco Charlton. I'm convinced Henry Mondeaux is playing as hard as he can, just like James Pierre, Kendrick Green and Dan Archibong.

Don't get the wrong idea. The Steelers need to scheme better. When defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin (it's his defense, after all) admits he was outschemed by Dan Campbell, that's a problem. And when offensive coordinator Matt Canada constantly ignores the middle of the field and usually neglects his first-round running back near the goal line, it's infuriating.

But what would better scheming get you? A 31-10 loss to the Bengals, instead of 41-10?


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