Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick took a check to the organization and his teammates after their loss to the New England Patriots. One of the players who goes above and beyond on almost everything, Fitzpatrick did not seem to speak highly of some of his teammates. He sees complacency and almost a sense of arrogance among his teammates.
Interestingly, this comes after a week when the Steelers players noted they took the Arizona Cardinals lightly. Specifically, Diontae Johnson felt that energy switch when they entered the stadium on Sunday.
“I felt like that the whole week. Once we got out there, I felt like something was different,” Johnson said. “We wasn’t at our best. I feel like we just took them lightly. We can’t come in this Thursday with the same mindset. We’re gonna be fine. We’re gonna move past it.”
But now that the loss is official, the Steelers sit at 7-6 in a bad spot. They have lost to two bad teams. In fact, they are making terrible history. Fitzpatrick talked with ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, to whom he expressed the utmost frustrations with the rest of the team.
“I think too many people don’t want to toil for it. They just want to walk out here and think that they’re going to make plays and think that they’re going to perform at a high level. I think we need to have more people who want to work for it, not expect it to be handed to them,” Fitzpatrick told ESPN. “This is the NFL. Nothing’s handed to you. You got to earn everything. I think that dudes just think that because they’re wearing the black and gold, that they’re going to win games, and I think we need to check that mentality and make people realize that they got to earn that mentality.”
That’s a mentality shift. So, it’s a culture thing. Either the head coach is allowing that or the players themselves are not taking it seriously. But either way, it’s a huge issue. That reflects directly back on Mike Tomlin and his staff. If the players are not working hard enough to improve and fix issues, it’s hard to build a winning program consistently.
The Steelers are broken right now. It’s hard to imagine that they’ll salvage the season and make a playoff push after losing to bottom-feeders like the Cardinals and Patriots. Their final four games are against Indianapolis (7-5) on the road, Cincinnati (6-6), at Seattle (6-6), and at Baltimore (9-3). The Steelers could easily lose the final four games (six overall) and finish 7-10, marking the first losing season for Mike Tomlin in his career and the first for the Steelers since 2003.