Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (86-49, 5-4 1 Super Bowl)
Offensive Coordinator: Todd Haley
Defensive Coordinator: Keith Butler
Tomlin's been the head man in Pittsburgh for each of the last nine years during which the Steelers compiled five 10+ win seasons and never finished worse than .500. In their five playoff appearances under Tomlin the Steelers reached the Super Bowl twice, winning one over the Arizona Cardinals in 2008 and losing the other to the Green Bay Packers in 2010, and were bounced from the playoffs in the Wild Card round on the three other occasions. Prior to taking over for Bill Cowher in 2007, Tomlin served as the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings the season after previously coaching defensive backs for Tampa Bay from 2001-05.
Haley became the head of the Steelers offense after a three year stint as the head coach of the Chiefs, during which time Kansas City made one playoff appearance sandwiched between a 4-12 year in 2009 and a 7-9 record in 2011. In his three seasons with Pittsburgh, the Steelers finished 21st, 20th, and 2nd in total offense under Haley.
Keith Butler meanwhile, is in his first season as defensive coordinator, taking over for longtime defensive warlock Dick Lebeau who had held the position since 2004. Butler however, has been with the Steelers even longer, serving as the team's linebackers coach from 2003-2014 before receiving the promotion. He held the same position with the Browns from 1999-2002, rounding out his NFL coaching experience.
Last Week's Recap: Lost to Baltimore, 23-20
The Steelers passing attack struggled in its first game without Ben Roethlisberger, as Michael Vick and co.failed to get anything up the field, despite the presence of Antonio Brown on the roster. In his defense, Vick has been on the Steelers roster just long enough to have a cup of coffee, and didn't turn the ball over. Still, Vick averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt in going 19-26 for 124 yards and a score while getting sacked four times. All-World receiver Antonio Brown hauled in 5 receptions for 42 yards, falling just short of extending his 5 reception, 50 yards streak to 36 games. Running back Le'Veon Bal delivered a vintage performance, carrying the ball 22 times for 129 yards and a score in addition to grabbing seven passes for 21 yards.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco continued to struggle, passing for just 189 yards and was routinely pressured throughout the contest. To the delight of frustrated fantasy owners everywhere, Justin Forsett ran fro 150 yards as the Ravens were able to mount a second half comeback after falling behind 20-7. (Now former) Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Josh Scobee missed two field goals, which may have contributed to some questionable play calling by the Steelers in overtime, as Pittsburgh turned the ball over on downs twice inside the Baltimore 40. After the second time, the Ravens proceeded to ride Forsett down the field before Justin Tucker knocked in the game-winner from 52 yards out to drop the Steelers to 2-2.
Key Players: Offense
QB Michael Vick, RB Le'Veon Bell, RB D'Angelo Williams, WR Antonio Brown, WR Martavis Bryant
After yielding 27 points to the likes of Josh McCown, Duke Johnson, and Gary Barnidge, the Chargers defense gets to welcome Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown to town. Hooray! The Chargers due catch a bit of a break in that Roethlisberger should miss Monday's contest after suffering a knee injury against the Rams. Still, the Steelers have one of the most lethal offenses in the league, with both a top 5 player at running back and receiver.
How potent Pittsburgh can be will likely depend on the play of Vick. Though he's 35 years old, the former first overall pick of the 2001 draft is still dangerously mobile and has a rocket arm. Whether or not he gets to show it off will turn on whether or not the Pittsburgh coaching staff believes Vick, who was signed to the team late August, can handle more of the playbook, which clearly wasn't the case against Baltimore.
No doubt the Steelers would like to open things up with Brown being perhaps the best deep threat in the NFL, while Pittsburgh welcomes back Martavis Bryant, who missed the first quarter of the season due to suspension. Brown is the quintessential deep threat - he's hyper athletic and the fastest man on the field. Jason Verrett's foot better get healthy in a hurry.
However, even if the Steelers fail to stretch the field for the second straight week, the combination of Bell and Williams is among the best in the NFL. Williams, who spent the previous nine years with the Carolina Panthers, surprised many with a very productive two game stint as the Steelers main back as Bell missed the first two weeks. Bell is, of course, the main attraction. He's a do-it-all back that could be a starting-caliber NFL receiver if he wasn't an All-Pro running back. Extremely shifty with tremendous vision, Bell is capable of making good defense, let alone one that misses tackles inside of a phone booth, silly.
Key Players: Defense
DL Stephon Tuitt, DL Cameron Heyward, LB Ryan Shazier, LB Bud Dupree,
Tuitt, a second year player from Notre Dame, paces the Steelers defense with 3.5 sacks and has already outpaced his rookie year production. Running mate Cameron Heyward meanwhile, is coming off of perhaps the best game of his career. He played extremely well against both the run and pass, notching a sack and six stops.
Ryan Shazier is one of the most athletic linebackers in the game and could very well be the fastest. The former Ohio State Buckeye is currently nursing a bum shoulder, but if he is good to go on Monday he can be a difference maker in the middle of the Steelers defense. Rookie Bud Dupree can do just the same off of the edge. The first round pick already has two sacks in his first four games and is living up to his billing as a freak athlete with the power and speed to go up against NFL lineman.