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Steelers owner “not satisfied,” but thinks team headed right way

Rooney Getty Images

It was hard to get a clear look at the Steelers this season, as injuries kept them from looking like themselves.

But team president Art Rooney II said he saw enough good things amid the injuries to feel encouraged going into 2016.

Via the Associated Press, Rooney acknowledged: “I do think the direction of the team is a positive one.”

The main reason for optimism is an offense that still put up points at a ridiculous pace, despite injuries that kept Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey, and Kelvin Beachum off the field for various points, if not most of the season.

And while the defense made strides under first-year coordinator Keith Butler in terms of takeaways (a league-high 30 created), they were still 30th in the league in pass defense.

“On that front, I would say no, we’re not satisfied with where we are,” Rooney said. “[But] I’m not going to suggest that we need to do something dramatically different.”

A year ago, the dramatic changes involved farming out longtime coordinator Dick LeBeau. This offseason, they’re hoping some of last year’s draft picks (notably cornerbacks Senquez Golson and Doran Grant) are healthy enough to help fix a secondary that needs to be addressed. But the 2014 extension for Cortez Allen and last year’s trade for Brandon Boykin didn’t work as expected.

“We invested some draft picks in some players last year that we certainly hope are going to take a step forward in this coming season and be contributors,” Rooney said. “Obviously we’ve got to look at some opportunities this offseason both in terms of free agency. It’s something we have to keep working on. . . .

“We’ve made some mistakes, there’s no denying that in terms of some of the evaluations. Having said that we still have players in that group we think can improve and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Of course, if he could guarantee health, the Steelers would likely enter next season as one of the favorites.

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21 Responses to “Steelers owner “not satisfied,” but thinks team headed right way”
  1. holeinone09 says: Jan 29, 2016 7:13 AM

    Next season assuming they can keep the injuries to key players to a minimum and perform as well in the red zone as they do on 2 point conversions, the Steelers’ offense may break just about every offensive stat in history, while the defense will continue to show improvement with the younger players and play well enough to enable the next Super Bowl victory. They should be playing the Panthers this year, they gave Denver a much better game than the Cheaters did and should have won the game.

  2. 6ball says: Jan 29, 2016 7:47 AM

    .
    Added Rooney, ” We’re having a great offseason already. Myself, Irsay, Mara, Blank, Johnson, McNair, Bisciotti, and Jones have been spearheading the assault on the Patriots. Our payoff will come in March when Brady has to defend himself against Rooneys false charges. Then we take their draft choices.

    Pittsburgh will win next year because we are Cheats. I led my consortium of owners to falsely accuse and try an innocent man because we can’t beat the Patriots. ”
    .

  3. TebowedOutOfThePostSeasonAndNeverToReturn says: Jan 29, 2016 8:11 AM

    In 2011, they went 12-4 and got Tebowed out of the playoffs by the 8-8 Broncos. In 2012, they got to watch the Ravens win the Superbowl. Instead of improving, they went 8-8 again in 2013 but the next year, they WON the division. WOW! Only to get one and done by the Ravens at Heinz Field. This year, they beat the Bengals after the refs advanced them 30 yards when Brown lowered his helmet and Joey Porter picked a fight on the field. Of course, they lost to Denver because they were the only team in the NFL with any injuries.

  4. ikeclanton says: Jan 29, 2016 8:17 AM

    Health alone will not fix that secondary, and Roethlisberger has to flat out commit, at this stage in his career, to get in shape and stay on the field for a full season. He’s got great fight in him when he has the ball, but he’s got to start to be smart about getting rid of it and protecting his body.

  5. excusemewhileiwhipthisoutagain says: Jan 29, 2016 8:27 AM

    “We’ve made some mistakes”
    ____

    Chief among those was letting Boykin rot on the bench while Blake saw too much playing time given his mediocre coverage skills.

  6. yourmadre says: Jan 29, 2016 9:01 AM

    Until we get a new coach we’re going to be stuck in the same spot – just good enough to make the playoffs, not good enough to go to the Super Bowl. We easily lose 2-3 games every year due to poor in-game decision-making by Tomlin, on top of the fact that we’re consistently under-prepared to plan teams that we should easily beat.

  7. Stiller43 says: Jan 29, 2016 9:28 AM

    yourmadre says:
    Jan 29, 2016 9:01 AM
    Until we get a new coach we’re going to be stuck in the same spot – just good enough to make the playoffs, not good enough to go to the Super Bowl.
    __________________________________________

    Considering he’s been to 2 already (and won 1), your statement makes little sense.

    And but for a Toussaint fumble, they were about to go to the AFC Championship with a “bad” defense, and an offense that was missing its:

    All-pro Center
    Starting LT
    All-pro WR
    All-pro RB
    #2 RB

  8. mswravens says: Jan 29, 2016 9:42 AM

    One of the things we Ravens fans begrudgingly admire about the Steelers organization is their stability over the past 4+ decades. I look at the Steelers roster for next year and see a number of issues…but every team has those. Not every team has a proven QB and the best WR in the NFL…so as much as it pains me, I have no doubt that the Steelers will be in the mix…but given their depleted, almost non-existent secondary, injury history to key players (I’m thinking Ben, Shazier and Bell…as well as someone on the OL it seems every year), and Tomlin’s poor game management, I think they are – just like this year – on the bubble. But it is admirable, and part of their success, that they never panic in a storm, and doggedly stay the course. (sounds a lot like my QB!)

  9. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 29, 2016 10:04 AM

    In 2011, they went 12-4 and got Tebowed out of the playoffs by the 8-8 Broncos. In 2012, they got to watch the Ravens win the Superbowl. Instead of improving, they went 8-8 again in 2013 but the next year, they WON the division. WOW! Only to get one and done by the Ravens at Heinz Field. This year, they beat the Bengals after the refs advanced them 30 yards when Brown lowered his helmet and Joey Porter picked a fight on the field. Of course, they lost to Denver because they were the only team in the NFL with any injuries.

    And the Ravens sucked……and we all lived happily ever after. Back to distorting reality like Ray Lewis? Porter picked a fight….that’s cute. Of course the refs made Burfict hit Brown….

    Not one of your better attempts at misrepresenting the truth but hey from a Ray Lewis fan it’s expected.

    Jealousy of the Steelers is very powerful as evidenced by your obsession.

    The Rooneys are realists and patient.

  10. TebowedOutOfThePostSeasonAndNeverToReturn says: Jan 29, 2016 10:29 AM

    I wish I could have seen Rooney’s face after last year’s WC beatdown at Heinz Field. I wonder if he had the same expression after the Heinz Field disaster when Justin Tucker kicked a winner in overtime. Or when the Ravens’ 4th string QB owned the Steelers in Baltimore. Three in a row, baby! Three in a row!

  11. citizenstrange says: Jan 29, 2016 10:32 AM

    In their last three playoff games the Steeler offense has scored 16 (13 when it mattered), 18, and 15 points.

    Small Ben in Big Games strikes again … and again …. and again.

  12. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 29, 2016 10:33 AM

    You know you are good when the trolls daily do their best to discredit you.

  13. yourmadre says: Jan 29, 2016 11:06 AM

    yourmadre says:
    Jan 29, 2016 9:01 AM
    Until we get a new coach we’re going to be stuck in the same spot – just good enough to make the playoffs, not good enough to go to the Super Bowl.
    __________________________________________

    Considering he’s been to 2 already (and won 1), your statement makes little sense.

    And but for a Toussaint fumble, they were about to go to the AFC Championship with a “bad” defense, and an offense that was missing its:

    All-pro Center
    Starting LT
    All-pro WR
    All-pro RB
    #2 RB

    We were also 1 Jets win away from not making the playoffs at all, due to the fact that we blew several games (2 to the Ravens alone) that we should have easily won. We also should have beaten the Broncos, but continued to do stupid things like punting from the 35 yard-line in Denver, where kickers regularly make 60-yard field goals without a problem.

    He’s made it to 2 Super Bowls (and won 1) because he’s had amazing talent to work with, and because he took over a well-coached team from Cowher.

  14. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 29, 2016 11:06 AM

    I wish I could have seen Rooney’s face after last year’s WC beatdown at Heinz Field. I wonder if he had the same expression after the Heinz Field disaster when Justin Tucker kicked a winner in overtime. Or when the Ravens’ 4th string QB owned the Steelers in Baltimore. Three in a row, baby! Three in a row!

    How far the once mighty Raven troll has fallen from bragging about being SB champ to gloating over three straight wins over the Steelers….no pity just laughing at how bad the Ravens sucked this year. Keep reaching for material skippy your efforts are amusing.

  15. Spazz says: Jan 29, 2016 11:07 AM

    6ball says:
    Jan 29, 2016 7:47 AM
    .
    Added Rooney, ” We’re having a great offseason already. Myself, Irsay, Mara, Blank, Johnson, McNair, Bisciotti, and Jones have been spearheading the assault on the Patriots. Our payoff will come in March when Brady has to defend himself against Rooneys false charges. Then we take their draft choices.

    Pittsburgh will win next year because we are Cheats. I led my consortium of owners to falsely accuse and try an innocent man because we can’t beat the Patriots. ”
    ************************
    Time to make yourself a nice tinfoil hat.

  16. steelcurtainn says: Jan 29, 2016 11:27 AM

    When the steelers pick up some better secondary guys, find some good depth in the draft and the offense can stay healthy. The skys the limit in terms of winning superbowls for this team.

  17. Lou Stools says: Jan 29, 2016 11:34 AM

    “It was hard to get a clear look at the Steelers this season, as injuries kept them from looking like themselves.”
    ===========
    What an idiodic statement. Every team is exactly what they are, injuries and all. Only the Steelers get judged by what could have been, by thier fans and PFT.

  18. TebowedOutOfThePostSeasonAndNeverToReturn says: Jan 29, 2016 11:46 AM

    Rooney needs to figure out a way to keep the fans in the stadium when the team falls behind. I’ve never seen so many quitters.

  19. toldlikeitis says: Jan 29, 2016 1:39 PM

    Once Big Ben is out of Pittsburgh the Steelers are done. Tomlin can’t coach his way out of a paper bag.

  20. youknowiknowitall says: Jan 29, 2016 6:46 PM

    Rooney acknowledged: “I do think the direction of the team is a positive one…

    And, if not, me and my other owner buddies can always frame NE again and steal their draft picks so we can try to keep up and maybe have a chance.”

  21. lp0320 says: Feb 4, 2016 8:42 PM

    This next season should be it for Tomlin. If he doesn’t make a deep run into the playoffs he should be gone. The talent he has on this team is incredible.

    He simply is not head coach material. Probably an awesome defensive coordinator, but completely lacking when it comes to game management, preparation for teams with a losing recording, not to mention his less than stellar reputation.

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