A fed-up Ryan Clark absolutely unloaded on the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team in which he played for eight seasons, on ESPN’s November 29 edition of “Get Up.”
“Nobody’s scared to play this team. There’s absolutely no physicality. There’s no energy defensively. There’s no tone setters. You have one of the best play-making free safeties in football in Minkah Fitzpatrick. And you know what he is? He’s a fifth linebacker because you won’t tackle anybody in the run. Joe Mixon is flexin’, he’s throwin’ the football into the stands. You know why? Cause y’all don’t scare nobody because they ain’t about putting your face mask on somebody else’s face mask. It’s not about upholding what Joe Green did with Lambert did. It’s not about doing what James Harrison did, Casey Hampton, James Farrior, Troy Polamalu. Those days are gone. We want to be cute, right? We want to make videos. We want to do Tic-Tocs. We want to dance in the locker room. We want to be the team that everybody loves to be around. We want to make jokes. We want to smile. We want to have fun.
Pittsburgh football ain’t about having fun. Pittsburgh football is about dominating people on the field because of your physicality. But that ain’t what y’all want. What y’all want to do is, y’all want to show up and y’all wanna live on the back of legends. Don’t nobody care about that no more. Right? Young people aren’t respectful of the past. In the past, Pittsburgh was something. This Pittsburgh defense ain’t Jack. And I ain’t talkin’ ’bout Jack Lambert, I ain’t talkin’ ’bout Jack Ham. I’m talking about Jack — and you know the rest of the word. Y’all ain’t that.
And so now when Pittsburgh shows up to the stadiums, people like Joe Burrow, people like Joe Mixon, people like Tee Higgins, you know what they do? They call their girlfriends, they call their wives, and they say, “‘Baby, you gotta show up to this game. You know why? Because we’re going to win fantasy football for somebody because they ain’t stoppin’ a nosebleed'”.
You better change something, you better do something, or this will be Mike Tomlin’s first losing season.”
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Telling It Like It Is
Having played among legends of the franchise like Polamalu and Dick LeBeau, Clark understands the true meaning of being a Pittsburgh Steeler. And he understands that many on the current roster don’t seem to be grasping the concept. The “cute” attitude toward football and the Black and Gold has translated to an on-the-field product that is not of the Pittsburgh Steelers standard.
A defense that was once elite is allowing opponents to run and pass on them at will. The offense is a shell of what it once was and shows no signs of improvement.
The Steelers are no longer the dominant opponent that teams around the NFL fear because the defense is falling apart, the offense is doesn’t intimidate.
According to Pro Football Reference, the team has been outscored 267-224 and is in the bottom 10 of the NFL on both sides of the ball.
Practice Makes Perfect
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. The game day product is often indicative of how a team prepares throughout the week. Since the franchise’s performance on game days has been substandard dating back to Week 12 of 2020, their approach to practice comes into question.
Per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, receiver Chase Claypool believes practice could be improved by playing music. Adding salt to the giant, gaping wound that is the Pittsburgh Steelers, Claypool told the media in a November 29 press conference:
“We have music in the warm-ups and that, so it’s fun. People are dancing, having fun. So I think maybe music would make practice more fun and a little more uptempo.”
Claypool followed up his statement by saying music at practice has been a request since his Notre Dame days, then acknowledged that Mike Tomlin’s been doing it a lot longer than him.