CLEVELAND — Najee Harris is not happy. The Steelers are not satisfied. Underneath the win streak and the 6-3 record, doubt crept in from the outside. Harris just said the part everyone else on the outside was already saying. Pittsburgh’s winning style is not a championship formula, and something has to change.
But Harris is tired of it. He called a team meeting and said the group needed to talk about many things. And he even sidestepped a question when asked if everyone on the team legitimately has a team-first attitude to embrace in the locker room.
“We’re going to have a talk,” Harris said. “I guess, I should say, as a team. That’s the best way I can say it. There’s just a lot of stuff that just goes around that you guys don’t see. I’m just at a point where I’m just tired of this shit.”
Harris does not think the style of winning is sustainable. Mike Tomlin and others, in the past, have dodged that question. But not Harris. It’s a hard truth to accept, but it must be taken if Pittsburgh wants to kick it into high gear and start sustainably winning football games. Harris does believe these problems are fixable, but he is not sure just how much the team will invest into fixing them.
“Record-wise, we’re good,” Harris said. “You can look at the record. You can do one of two things. You can look at the record and say, ‘OK, we’re still good right now,’ or you can look at the record and be like, ‘If we keep playing this type of football, how long is that shit gonna last?’ I look at it like, how long is that shit going to last? Y’all can look at it like it’s a good record, but this is the NFL. Winning like how we did is not gonna get us nowhere.”
What Can They Do?
Harris did not seem pleased with the playcalling, either. At the very least, he noted that he felt teams would often cheat on his run plays and other plays, such as screens. In the past, defenders have called out Pittsburgh’s scheme and play calling as easy to pick up on throughout the game.
Harris felt the impact of those players on Sunday, even though Jaylen Warren broke out and had a big game. Harris’ runs had multiple people shoot into the gaps and wrap him up behind the line of scrimmage.
“Yeah, in some situations, to be honest with you,” Harris said. “Do they know what plays are coming, this team? I don’t know yet. But I mean, there have been some in the past. I just don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m just stuck in this situation where I just don’t have an answer to it. All I can do is just ride this little wave.”
Pittsburgh has no answer for the passing game struggles. Their run game has found some level of water. Against an impressive Browns defense, they even found some severe success against them. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for the putrid passing game, which affects the offense.
Not only that, but the group continues to fall short continuously as an entire cohesive unit. That is a testament to poor coaching, and the play of the quarterback has only worsened over time. In other words, Pittsburgh has to find the solution and fast. There are winnable games on the schedule, but they can lose to anyone until they find a solution, no matter how flawed that team may be.