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Smith not concerned about early struggles


HOUSTON — Aaron Smith is one of the Steelers I’m looking forward to seeing today against the Texans.
The veteran defensive end has drawn the wrath of fans — and become an unlikely symbol of what ails a defense that is giving up close to 100 rushing yards per game.
Smith, one of the best 3-4 defensive ends of his generation, pushed back a little last week. One of the most accessible and down to earth players in the Steelers locker room, Smith seemed to take umbrage at any inferences that, at the age of 35 and coming off a third major injury in the last four years, he is in decline.
“I don’t think the coaches would leave me in there just to leave me in there,” Smith said. “I think every week I’ve gotten better and better. I feel as good as a 35-year-old playing football can probably feel. I don’t feel 25. That would be ridiculous.”
Smith said the Steelers have not been “gap sound” through the first three weeks.
That is another way of saying that players are trying to do too much at times and not taking care of their responsibilities — and trusting those around them to do the same.
Smith also said that it is too early to draw any sweeping conclusions about the Steelers, and their defense in particular.
“I remember when we started 2-6 (in 2006) and people thought we were done then,” the 13th-year veteran said. “I’ve been in probably every possible situation you can be in.”
Except maybe this one — when questions have been raised about his play.

— Scott Brown



  1. Frank B says:

    Biggets comedy Big Ben and Tomlin. Both should go.

  2. GC says:

    Why should Smith be concerned he hasn’t played a full season for the last two years and maybe now a third. O Line stinks, and the defense needs help. All you Ben haters, put Brady, Manning or Rodgers behind our O line over the years and see what they do. They couldn’t take half the beating Ben does. He holds the ball alot because of the play calling. BA should go. He would have to throw the ball away most of the time to avoid a sack.

  3. John Wondrasek says:

    I’m not concerned in the least. Like Dejan wrote earlier this season, we’re the Steelers, and you’re not.

  4. David says:

    i, am die hard steelers fan, but there isn’t alot any qb can do behind a line like that,, its embarrassing to say the least that Ben has to stand in there knowing he is gonna get hit 9 out of 10 times, this isn’t something that can wait to fix in the off season, Houston has a good team right now and to me, its more them then it is the steelers, we just aren’t up to that level of play right now, and we might not be for the remainder of the season, our run defense, pass defense arent that bad, the score could have been alot worse but to keep in perspective to for me, i was concerned that the steelers would lose the colts game and win the houston game when the schedule came out, its a good thing Manning was hurt out or we’d be sitting at 1-3 instaead of 2-2. and Wallace should have known better, but there again he’s just trying to get the emotions up… but it was a dumb penalty on his part, i also can see alot of fines coming out of this game, and if at least one doesn’t show up at the texans door step, im gonna have to give goodell a call….. hope the Ravens lose tonight to keep pace with us,,,,,

  5. Carl says:

    It was just a matter of time before this O-line got Ben hurt. We did an ok job of staying in the game, but the O-line is a joke. Coaching and management sticking their collective heads in the sand and not doing SOMETHING about is even more questionable. Second concern, Woodley has been horrible this season. Missed tackles, no pressure, absymal play. More than a little concerned here……

  6. Greg says:

    I do think Smith is all but done, but I don’t see much comming from Hood either.I do agree with GC that BA should go. They always talk how they love running the no huddle but never use it, I think it would have helped against the Texans. How do you let a rookie lineman go alone against Mario Williams without a TE or RB chipping him?BA can’t get out of town fast enough for me.

  7. K. Benson says:

    I agree with Joe Starkey. We don’t need an offensive line. Suck it up, Ben, you big softie!

  8. Paul Raspa says:

    Said it a couple of weeks ago Our line cannot keep Ben upright…. They will let up 50+ sacks this year. They need to Sign either Adams — Starks — Hell get Alan FANECA back!!
    Komeatu looked lost and very slow — Essex plain SUCKS!!! And how come nobody is calling out Kugler — The excuse can be made that Kugler is not the one playing and I do understand that but there is no technique in the lineman at all. They have no synergy whatsoever!!
    Tomlin needs to get his staff together and keep his team together and I do believe he will do this — But he needs to hold his coaches and players accountable as well as himself!!! Now Bring on the TITANS!!!!!!

  9. Brad says:

    The Offensive Line needs all fired besides Pouncey. OL needs to block so that Big Ben has time in the pocket and set up blocks for the running game. Arians needs to be fired, he should of been fired last year for running on most 3rd and long downs. The Defense is old (age wise), but they need the act together as a team, more practices to bring the Steel Curtain back. The Defense needs to win the battle of the trenches dig deep and push to win the battles. William Gay needs to go on the defense. I look for Moore and Redman to get more action since the performance of Mendanhall is sub par and turning into another Parker of stopping and not moving his feet or finding the holes.

  10. David says:

    one thing to note: we did start moving the ball on the ground once rashard mendenhall was benched…. he needs to sit cause he just aint seeing the holes isaac and mewelde moore is… with those two in there we can have a better ground game then we are getting from number 34…… see ya later Rashard…. on the fumbles on Ben, you’d have to credit the offensive line for a 3rd of them, with the way ben is being yanked and thrown i can understand the ball coming out of his hands being whipped around like that… and i agree these so called elite qbs would become mere mortals with this line……

  11. Carl says:

    Rashard wasn’t benched, he got hurt dude. I do love how Redman runs. Makes you think a bit. Man, our O-line couldn’t block 3 old ladies and a Chinese gymnast….

  12. David says:

    well however rashard got benched, the bottom line rashard got benched by an injury so you say, i have to look into that one cause i didn’t see it, but still the fact remains the ground game got better with rashard on the sideline dude….

  13. David says:

    looks like the ravens are gonna get a game up on us….. ho-hum….

  14. K. Benson says:

    Don’t worry. Mike Tomlin will think of something.

  15. Dave says:

    It’s not pretty. Can’t compete if losing battle in trenches ob both sides of ball. This team has too much to overcome to compete for playoffs. Can’t run when they need to, can’t protect QB, QB may not be able to play nor be effective with foot (plant foot unlike last year it was his right foot) and can’t stop the run. Steelers are being made dimensionless by opponents. It’s going to be a long season, there aren’t any quick fixes. Baltimore and New England games will be test to see if tam can turn it around. 4-12 if Ben us out, 8-8 if he can withstand season. Neither is the “standard”

  16. TAG says:

    Not ready to panic yet, but it’s Tomlin who has me worried. Everybody on the planet knows major changes are needed on this OL. I am positive Faneca would come out of retirement for a return to the Burgh. Also Max Starks and Tony Hills are available and would be a major upgrade over what has been put on the field this season. On defense, as much as I hate to say it, time/age has caught up with Smith and Farrior. They could not get in the proper positions against the running attack of the Texans. Tomlinson refuses to make any changes until somebody gets hurt. Redman would have never replaced the very ineffective Mendenhall if he wouldn’t have been injured. He also brought in Kugler and let him sign two of his former Bills Bums who couldn’t start for most major college teams. Pull some rank Tomlin!!!!

  17. Ollie says:

    That is the problem. No one is concerned about the early struggles.

  18. EF says:

    Its the O-Line, Hello !!! We have some real problems when the coaches believe W. Colon was their best lineman. This has nothing to do with injuries, they are collectively below average. Starks and Adams being way past their primes are much better than anything we have. Essex would not play for 75% of college teams !! You have to put this on Tomlin and the front office. Wake up, we have 1 maybe 2 starting NFL lineman !! What a waste of our talented skill positions. Ben simply can’t succeed with these bums. P.S. Arians is an idiot.

  19. Rick says:

    Ruined my son’s birthday.
    Sort of, cause we were expecting this. Not wanting it, but expecting it.
    Aside from the O-line and Ben’s health…
    Wallace – learn to keep your mouth zipped, let your play talk all it wants, just zip the lips. Don’t know what was said to be considered taunting, but it was too much.
    Brown, you are becoming great, but learn to read the proper moves for the blitz read, cost us in one drive.
    Pouncey, know when the play is finished, stop being extra nasty. First and goal to back to the 20!!!
    Finally, some running offense in the second half – partly because an H-Back scheme was used, partly because Redman is a bowling ball rolling downhill.
    Blocked field goal, off the left side O-line. Seems like that speaks more than their lousy play all day.
    Bad angles, missed blitzes, muffed tackles.
    Yeah, Harrison summed it properly – WE STANK!

    We here can rant and rave and suggest all we want – we can do nothing to change it, we don’t have the power or control. The ones who can need a sense of urgency. 2-2 is not a disaster, yet.

  20. David says:

    To say the Texans shot themselves in the foot would be an understatement. But giving up 17 points and losing by 7 isn’t an end of the world song. The thing is, when your under center and a defensive player is already on the qb before his 2nd step back is terrible. I don’t see any of the o line taking care of business. It’s like they’re letting these guys hit Ben with not a care or no pride in thier work. If I were Ben, is sit next week to heal the foot, and tell Tomlin to get people in there who can block .
    On a personal note: sit mendenhal . Start Redman and Moore , bench the players who don’t want to play and see where that takes us, oh and have a 101 class on not talking trash to the opposing sideline, I even thought that was stupid. Catch the ball and get ready for the next play. Jeesh!

  21. David says:

    This is to the Offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Really!, you guys paid substantial amount of money and this is all you got? This us it? This is the best you can bring for the past 4 weeks? Really? I good on pay days you guys are all looking down at the floor while you creep away with the check of a hundred thousand dollars or more, you might wanna save some embarrassment and have direct deposit started. If I were Ben, and I’m glad I’m not, I’d be shaking at the knees knowing you guys are Supposed to protect me.

  22. David says:

    Ben Roethlisberger Deserves a better offensive line…. That is to Colbert and Tomlin.
    I’m just frustrated with all the skilled postions its not doing a bit of good with that atrocious o line we have. It’s pathetic,

  23. JDub81 says:

    This team will only make it to the playoffs by virtue of it’s schedule….but expect an quick exit. I would be in favor of the team having a losing record just so it can get a decent draft pick (especially a top 3 offensive tackle). What bothers me is that this team has had offensive line troubles way before this….seems like that issue wasn’t properly address. Both coordinators are stuck in a time warp and the Steelers are being out-coached and out played because of it. Realizing there is no offensive line that can protect Ben….why have Ben stay in the pocket? Roll him out. And Ben has got to start hitting his receivers….missing Wallace in the end zone (again) is not your O-line’s fault. Did the same thing in the Super Bowl. Enough is enough!

  24. JDub81 says:

    Oh yes….before I forget. Mike Tomlin, you’re coaching ability is beginning to become a little suspect to me.This team seems awfully ill-prepared from my observation…good teams overcome adversaties. Now a chance to show your coaching moxie….and not against the Seahawks of the league.

  25. Bill Z says:

    You can blame the offensive line all you want to but the problem goes much deeper than that. The offensive line didn’t give up 200 rushing yards, miss tackles and not get virtually no pressure on the opposing teams quarterback. You can say that the defence is getting old, but I don’t buy it. Remember, these same players, 7 -8 months ago, were good enough to be playing in the Super Bowl. I don’t think that is enough time for a unit as good as they are to, “Grow Old.” And the offensive line is basically the same group that played in the Super Bowl. What I see is a team that lacks motivation, leadership and desire. Those things have to come from the coaches, that’s part of their job. Mike Tomlin may be a good technical coach, but he has no leadership or motivational skills. Remember Cowers jaw? Remember Nolls icy stare? What does tomlin do? He shakes everyone’s hand after a humilitating loss to the Ravens. Not exactly motivational. After every game he comes out and talks about how they are profesionals and know what they have to do to get better. I think he needs to throw a few chairs in the locker room and spit on a few players. Maybe that will get the team going. Dick LeBeau needs to change his defensive scheme. It was a great scheme, but the Steelers have used it so long teams are finding holes in it. Bruce Ariens has no idea what Steelers football is and doesn’t seem to care. He seems to be determined to make the players work in his system instead of adapting his system to fit the players. If Mike Tomlin was a leader he’d change that. And does Sean Kugler even know what a blocking technique is? If he does, he’s not teaching them to his players. Yes, the Steelers do need to fix some things, but I think it needs to be with the coaches more than the players.

  26. Chuck H. says:

    It’s a wonder Ben wasn’t hurt before this. The defensive linemen are in his backfield almost before the football is. I know it’s a waste of a down, but Ben needs to get rid of the ball quicker-even throw it away, if necessary, As said before, Brady, both Mannings, or any other . so called better qback, would not do as well as Ben behind our o’line. In fact, I don’t think Brady would even play if he had our o’line to PROTECT him. Buy Ariens a suitcase and get him packed up.

  27. Mr. Cynical says:

    Why did the Steelers cut Craig Urbik in 2010? Now he’s starting for the Buffalo Bills and doing a damn good job! It sucks that Darnel Stapleton had to retire because of his bad knees–he did well when he started. He played in the team’s three playoff games in 2008, including the Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

    Help wanted on offensive line; start dialing phone numbers Tomlin! Put and ad in the Classifieds! I only weigh 220 lbs but I’ll give it a shot!! I’ll have to ask Brian Cushing for some roids!

  28. Scott P says:

    I can’t stand Bruce Arians. If you even casually visit this page, you know how much I rip on the guy. For the first time I will defend him. This offensive line is so ridiculously bad that nobody could have success coordinating this offense. I still think Bruce sucks really bad at his job, but until things improve up front, I’m giving him a free pass.

  29. Scott P says:

    Hey Bill Z,
    How is this offensive line ” basically the same group that played in the Super Bowl”?

    I guess if you ignore the fact that the RT, LT, RG, and Center are different, then your right. It’s “basically the same”

  30. Bill Z says:

    The point I was trying to make is that they were all on the team last year and all of them played at one time or another. They’ve all been in the system for a while. It’s not like they’re new players. What I’m saying is that the system is broken more so than the players.

  31. K. Benson says:

    Relax. We’re the Pittsburgh Steelers — and don’t you forget it, Buddy!

  32. David says:

    If we make it to post season, it’d be because we won the north with a better record cause at this point we are losing all tie breakers.

  33. Dick says:

    Anybody who has watched the Steeler games this year would have to be concerned. We love this team, but hey, the dropoff in play is obvious. First, I am getting tired of watching the offensive line not finishing thier blocks. On one of Ben’s sacks i watched
    our 77 (is it Essex?) take the rusher wide then stop blocking when HE thought HE did the job. Result……..this same player then sacked Ben. STAY WITH THE BLOCK UNTIL THE PLAY ENDS. I sure hope this is pointed out in the film room. I have seen this happen more than once so far this season. So far I’ve seen better O-line blocking on every other team. Why can’t we measure up? I think we have one of the best QB’s in the game and, certainly one of the gutsiest. Let’s take care of him. We’ve got to have a good blocking back in there to help out. Don’t know what’s happened to our run defense but there were missed tackles. The only thing I can say is thank God for our safetys. I hate to have to be critical here but some of these problems can be fixed. Our O-line is not nearly as good as some people seem to think it is. Let’s recognize this and and game plan accordingly. That means we need a lead blocker for our running backs, more no huddle and play action passes, and lets flood their defense with these great receivers we seem to have. Things are not going to get better unless and until we are able to recognize problems and design a fix.

  34. Phi says:

    I think the problems that both offense and defense are having is directly related to the recent changes to practice in the new CBA. Yeah the players wanted less two a days and less practice in full pads because of the risk of injury but its showing up on the field on game day. Everybody is off their game by a split second. You cant hone your skills to stuff the run in shorts. Anybody else notice the increased number of injuries across the league? Mistakes lead to injury and practice reduces mistakes and keeps everybody sharp and mean. Players got what they wanted but they got it wrong.

  35. Sam Smith says:

    Colbert, Kugler and Tomlin got it right — there isn’t a darn thing wrong our offensive line. Ben is faking an injury again.

  36. Ollie says:

    I love my Steelers, but I am loosing confidence in the organization for not fixing the O-line problem year after year. We have a great QB and they are not trying to protect him. “We will go with what we have”. Great comment coach!

  37. Robert H says:

    I have been a steelers fan since the mike webster at center days. Win, loose, draw,or not even play, I am a steeler, but a $100 million dollar qb and a $100 offensive line like that? Protecting the investment? Go figure.

  38. ed lyman says:

    Everyone complaining about Mendenhall running poorly should check out the post at BTSC: . Read the comments. Very insightful folks over there.

  39. sjb says:

    “Relax. We’re the Pittsburgh Steelers — and don’t you forget it, Buddy!”

    Hopefully you’re being sarcastic but I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t. It’s that bonehead mentality that’s the bigger problem. The players are obviously fond of thinking that way too. It only happens…lets see….after every Super Bowl. They’re always ill prepared and lack any desire to prove anything even after they have the chip knocked off their shoulder and stuffed right up their a$$. Right now, outside of maybe a couple players, no one is manning up and answering the bell and as soon as someone tries, another player instantly $hits on everything. This team needs a collective bitch slap and Tomlin obviously isn’t the guy to do it.

    I think we need a player like Lambert to call the defense out publically as a bunch of heartless panzies and maybe Dawson to call the o-line a bunch of fat sloppy women. Maybe that’ll light a fire under their lazy uninspired butts. Doubt it though, only real men would take that as a direct challenge and there are very few of them on this team right now.

    So far, I think Woodley and Timmons should donate this season’s pay to a charity. Is there one out there for men without testicles?

  40. sjb says:

    Can’t wait to see this week’s lamo-yinzer-cheerleader report card that gives everyone A’s, B’s and a few C’s sprinkled in to make it seem legit. That’s one worthless article if I ever read one.

  41. Scott P says:

    “With the lockout, it’s much easier to throw it than it is to run it. I think most people think it would be easier the other way. But guys can throw and catch in shorts all the time. It takes a little time to grind out that running game and now with only one day a week in pads it even slows the process down.” — Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on the success teams have had throwing the ball through the first part of the season

    Really Bruce?? This is your excuse?? Plenty of other teams, including the Texans and Ravens, seem to be doing just fine on the ground.

    Losers make lame a$$ excuses like this. Winners address the problem head on and get it fixed.

  42. David says:

    Seems to me that the consensas here is that we all agree with James Harrisons assessment in that, we stink right now and its pathetic. Catch phrases are out the four Tomlin, answers, not questions is paramount, we all know where the source of the problem is…. Address it, and let’s start stacking wins now before its too late and we end up needing help just to make the playoffs.

  43. Carl says:

    Was reading the injury listings. Jesus, we are a walking MASH unit. Gonna need a near perfect game this week against the Titans….

  44. David says:

    I agree Carl, we are in need of medics…. Do not send Michael jacksons doctor tho, we like the injured alive. Lol.

  45. David says:

    Orbital fracture, Goodell, I good u r looking into that helmet to helmet and fine that dude a hundred grand, not Harrison, the guy who hit him on the offensive side of the ball I think he was the one who launched himself in the air…. An offensive player can launch his body in a crowd to gain more yards without penalty or fine, but not so for a defensive guy to do for the opposite, where’s the logic in that…

  46. David says:

    I declare this a 12 game season now, as far as I’m concerned we are 0-0 Fisher did that one year when we were 3-4 and it worked ….. We finished 11-5 that year.

  47. David says:

    That is cowher not fisher.

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