Cracks sometimes move slowly. Sometimes they spread quickly. Sometimes the cracks were there the whole time.
For the Steelers, it doesn’t matter how the cracks came about. They are there. And coach Mike Tomlin will have a lot of work ahead of him as the Steelers try to get back on track after Sunday’s 13-10 loss at Cleveland.
Consider this from TheAthletic.com’s Mark Kaboly about receiver Diontae Johnson: “Then Johnson was visibly upset on the sideline in the second half on Sunday, which was significant enough for the rookie to tackle Broderick Jones on offense.” had to pick him up and carry him away from a member of the coaching staff. That led to a long side conversation between Johnson and coach Mike Tomlin during give-and-take.
Johnson was targeted eight times on Sunday. He made two catches for 16 yards.
Kaboly did not name the coach involved. The fact that Tomlin had to commit specifically was probably not something that made him happy in a game the Steelers could have won.
They could have won if they had just done a little more with their passing game. By far the most effective offensive player on Sunday was running back Jaylen Warren, who accounted for more than 58 percent of the day’s total offensive output with 145 yards from scrimmage.
Yes, the cracks are spreading. The Postgame comments from running back Najee Harris make that clear. And it sounds like a players-only (and maybe offensive-only) meeting is coming.
“We’ll have a conversation as a team afterward,” Harris said of Kaboly. “That’s the best way to put it. Just all of us. Insult, I think. You can look at the balance sheet and still say we’re doing well at the moment. . . . The way I look at it is, ‘How long does this shit last?’ Y’all can look at it as a good record, but that’s the NFL. Winning the way we did won’t get us anywhere.”
Harris closely resembles some of the naysayers, with defensive lineman Cam Heyward recently saying: “Fuck you“Then it might be a good idea to actually limit the meeting to the offensive players.