Reporting Bob Pompeani
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While the newly crowned Super Bowl champion Ravens bask in the glow of their second world title, the Steelers have gone back to work, trying to win a 7th.
After a 2-5 finish to a very mediocre 8-8 season, there are many challenges ahead.
Bill Cowher has not been shy about offering his opinions, now that he sits in one of the anchor chairs at CBS Sports, so KDKA-TV Sports’ Bob Pompeani wanted to get his take on the team he once coached and where they go from here.
Even though Cowher has been out of coaching for six years, he still loves to talk about his former team.
He said he didn’t expect to see the Steelers go 8-8 this past season.
“No I don’t think so,” Cowher said. “I think when you look at it, to me, the games that the Steelers usually win, the close ones, they lost this year. And I think even Ben, you know, he was playing his best football. Maybe having a career year prior to his injury and when he came back, he just seemed a little bit off. And whether it was the throw to Mike Wallace down in Dallas, you know, that ball I’ve seen Ben make so many times, he puts it on the outside, not on the inside and maybe it was knocked down and not intercepted … these are some of the things I think he never really got back into a very comfortable flow with things.”
Cowher says he doesn’t believe that window has closed for the Steelers.
“I think they’re doing a very good job,” Cowher said. “I mean when you think of the offense, Ben’s the oldest player and what is he – 31?”
Cowher also says he expects the Steelers to cut ties with Rashard Mendenhall and pretty much start over in the run game.
And then there are the wide receivers and he doesn’t think Mike Wallace will be back.
“I don’t think so,” Cowher said. “That’s my gut feeling is I just think he had that opportunity a year ago and I think that window’s closed.”
Cowher says if a player wants to make the most money, they might want to go to a different team or market. But if they want to play with a good team and go to the playoff regularly, they’ll want to stay in Pittsburgh.
Players like Keenan Lewis, who was coming off of his best year as a Steeler and ready to cash in, like Wallace, Lewis is unrestricted and can go to the highest bidder.
But Cowher thinks that might be a mistake.
He also thinks the Steelers can still be a force in the AFC, even though age, injuries and money are against them.
“They’re still to me a good mix of experience and youth,” Cowher said.