2014 DRAFT GUIDE
At 0-2, Steelers offense searches for a spark

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-18 18:06

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Unlike most of his teammates in the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery knows what rock bottom looks like.

This ain't it.

If any of the other Steelers want to know what true despair is following their own lifeless 0-2 start, Cotchery will grimly fill them in on the details.

Cotchery was in his first year starting for the New York Jets in 2007 when they opened with losses to New England and Baltimore. Then came a narrow victory over Miami in Week 3 that proved to be a mirage. New York dropped six straight on its way to a 4-12 season that taught the then-24-year-old Cotchery a thing or two about adversity.

``You need to share the burden,'' Cotchery said Wednesday. ``No one guy needs to be over here sitting in the corner moping because of the loss. Everybody needs to share that burden with them and that's how you can move forward. When that doesn't happen, that's how you get it to snowball and it becomes the avalanche I experienced in that `07 season.''

And because Cotchery survived that miserable fall, he's sure the Steelers can survive their pratfall out of the gate.

``We have a good group of guys and I think it's going to turn in the right direction,'' Cotchery said.

It needs to turnaround soon if Pittsburgh is going to salvage its season.

The Steelers will try to avoid falling to 0-3 for the first time in 27 years on Sunday when they host the Chicago Bears (2-0). Considering only three teams since 1990 have overcome losses in their first three games to make the postseason, Pittsburgh understands the urgency of the situation.

To be honest, however, winning a game is too big picture. At the moment, the NFL's 31st-ranked offense would settle for moving the ball without stumbling all over itself.

``Whether it's guys just not doing their jobs, turning the ball over ... there are a number of issues, and we just need to get those things fixed,'' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.

Pick a problem, and the Steelers probably have it.

The offensive line is struggling to find any kind of cohesion minus injured Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. The carousel at running back keeps on spinning, with Isaac Redman and Felix Jones unable to make something happen while rookie Le'Veon Bell recovers from a sprained right foot.

Pittsburgh's 75 yards rushing through two games are fewer than 34 players have all by themselves, including quarterbacks Michael Vick, Andrew Luck, Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick.

Roethlisberger isn't getting much time in the pocket, but he hasn't been sharp either. He's completing just 58 percent of his passes and his quarterback rating (74.6) is 26th in the league. The wide receivers are getting pushed around at the line, disrupting the timing of their routes.

The result is two touchdowns in eight quarters. Not exactly the recipe for winning football. And while the Steelers insist they're not panicking, they are getting prickly.

Wide receiver Antonio Brown downplayed reports he exchanged words with offensive coordinator Todd Haley during Monday night's 20-10 loss to Cincinnati. On a night when he finished with six receptions for 57 yards, Brown acknowledged approaching Haley wondering what needed to get done for Pittsburgh to break out of its funk.

``I did what every good player should do,'' Brown said. ``I went to the person who controlled the scheme of the game to see what he could do to get me involved more and see what he could do to get things going. ... There's only one ball, and I can't have it in my hands every time.''

Some of the time might help. The Steelers have been most effective working out of the no-huddle. It led to a touchdown at the end of the first half in Cincinnati in what is easily Pittsburgh's best drive of the year, preseason included.

While Roethlisberger feels a sense of comfort when given more freedom to call the plays, he's aware it's not a practical long-term solution for a team that's not quite ready to just give up on the run entirely.

``We need to figure out what's best for this offense, what's our best tempo,'' Roethlisberger said. ``There's times to go up tempo, to go two-minute type mode and there are times to substitute.''

While the Bears are unbeaten, they haven't looked unbeatable. Chicago needed late rallies to squeeze by Cincinnati and Minnesota at home. The Bears are 17th in yards allowed and aren't generating much in the way of a pass rush.

Given a little bit of room to maneuver, Roethlisberger remains confident the Steelers can locate the spark it desperately needs.

``We've got a big one this week at home against a really good team,'' he said. ``If we can get this one, who knows what it will translate into?''

NOTES: TE Heath Miller (knee) participated in a full practice on Wednesday, a major step in his recovery from right knee surgery ... Bell returned to practice in a limited capacity and almost certainly won't play against Chicago ... CB Cortez Allen (ankle) and DE Brett Keisel (heel) did not practice.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Will Graves at www.twitter.com/WillGravesAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Alshon JefferySep 22 07:21p

Chicago Bears WRs Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (ankle) are both active for the Week 3 game against the New York Jets. Both were questionable for the game.

Brandon MarshallSep 22 07:13p

Chicago Bears WRs Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (ankle) are both active for the Week 3 game against the New York Jets. Both were questionable for the game.

Eric DeckerSep 22 07:13p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) is active for the team's Week 3 game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Sept. 22.

A.J. EddsSep 22 07:13p

The New York Jets have declared LB A.J. Edds, OG Ben Ijalana, OL Dakota Dozier, CB Dee Milliner, DE IK Enemkpali, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell inactive for Week 3.

Eric DeckerSep 22 06:23p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) said he felt good while working out before the game and expects to play in Week 3.

Jamaal CharlesSep 22 06:13p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (ankle) will 'most likely' return to practice this week after sitting out in Week 3, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kansas City [ More ]

Nate FreeseSep 22 04:17p

The Lions released Freese on Monday.

Mike TolbertSep 22 03:03p

Carolina Panthers FB Mike Tolbert (leg) has a hairline fracture in his leg. The timetable for his return is unknown.

Donald BrownSep 22 02:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown rushed for seven yards on 15 carries in the second half against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. Seven of Brown's carries went [ More ]

Jonathan StewartSep 22 02:43p

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (knee) could very well miss Week 4 with a severely sprained right knee. Stewart will not practice until Friday, Sept. 26 this week, [ More ]

Kyle RudolphSep 22 02:13p

Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (groin) will need surgery and is expected to miss about six weeks.

Marqise LeeSep 22 02:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (hamstring) will be evaluated during the week but is not expected to play in Week 4.

Vincent JacksonSep 22 02:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson (wrist) fractured his wrist against the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday night. The fracture is small and Jackson is expected to play this week.

Josh McCownSep 22 02:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) is not expected to play in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of his thumb injury and could miss more time [ More ]

Jason KelceSep 22 02:03p

Philadelphia Eagles C Jason Kelce (hernia) will likely need six weeks of recovery time following surgery to fix his sports hernia, according to a source with knowledge of the [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinSep 22 01:53p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle) is dealing with a high ankle sprain, according to a source. An MRI exam confirmed the injury, and he's likely to miss some time.

Frank GoreSep 22 01:53p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore wasn't pleased with the offensive game plan in which they unleashed five-receiver sets against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3 because of a [ More ]

Ryan TannehillSep 22 01:32p

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is not guaranteed to be the starting quarterback in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders after head coach Joe Philbin declined to name a starter for the game.

Stephen TullochSep 22 01:22p

Detroit Lions LB Stephen Tulloch (knee) will have surgery on his knee at an undetermined date. LB DeAndre Levy will likely slide to middle linebacker to replace Tulloch.

Demaryius ThomasSep 22 01:12p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas finished with four catches for just 31 yards in the team's Week 3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but QB Peyton Manning targeted him [ More ]

Jason KelceSep 22 01:12p

Philadelphia Eagles C Jason Kelce (hernia) will undergo surgery to repair a sports hernia he suffered in Week 3. Head coach Chip Kelly said he does not know how [ More ]

Chris ProsinskiSep 22 01:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars FS Chris Prosinski (elbow) will miss two to four weeks because of an elbow injury.

Eric DeckerSep 22 12:52p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) will be a true game-time decision in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears Monday, Sept. 22.

Alex HenerySep 22 12:43p

Detroit Lions PK Nate Freese was waived Monday, Sept. 22, and the team signed free-agent PK Alex Henery (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal to take his place. Freese made [ More ]

Stephen TullochSep 22 12:43p

Detroit Lions LB Stephen Tulloch (knee) tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and is out for the season, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. Tulloch injured himself while celebrating in Week 3.

Owen DanielsSep 22 12:43p

Houston Texans TE Owen Daniels will be relied on in the tight end position with TE Dennis Pitta (hip) out indefinitely. Daniels has experience in offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's [ More ]

Frank GoreSep 22 11:32a

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore had just 10 yards on six carries Sunday, Sept. 21. He received 16 carries in Week 1 and 13 carries in Week 2.

T Y HiltonSep 22 11:32a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (ankle) is not expected to have a severe ankle injury, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Darrelle RevisSep 22 11:02a

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr was 5-for-6 on passes against New England Patriots CB Darrelle Revis Sunday, Sept. 21. That is tied for the second-most receptions Revis has allowed [ More ]

Jarvis JonesSep 22 10:13a

Updating a previous report, Pittsburgh Steelers LB Jarvis Jones (wrist) will require surgery on his wrist injury suffered Sunday, Sept 21.

LeSean McCoySep 22 10:03a

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy was held in check by the Washington Redskins' big nickel package and base defensive front Sunday, Sept. 21. He was rarely able to bounce [ More ]

Ike TaylorSep 22 09:32a

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ike Taylor (forearm) suffered a broken forearm Sunday, Sept. 21, and is out indefinitely.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group