Let me start by saying that I don't have exact figures, but listening to Paul Hamilton this morning on 550, he rattled off figures over an alarming stat: the defense's inability to get off the field on 3rd down. Yes, I know this is nothing new if you've been a fan of the team and followed them closely during the past 3 years...
The Steelers converted 10/17 3rd downs, and all but 1 were of the passing variety. Most were long down-and-distance plays, and most conversions were well beyond the sticks.
What's going on here? If the situation is an obvious passing down, shouldn't the Bills' D have the upper hand? And again, yes, this is preseason (and we all need to take our iodine pills), so I know that the team is probably running their vanilla scheme. But devil's advocate would also say that the opposition, too, runs their vanilla offense.
Why are we led to believe and taken to lengths to discuss and debate that the vets are integral parts of the system? Everyone is up in arms over the offense right now, but I think there's a bigger storm brewing if the defense continues with their inability to get off the field. (As a reminder, the Steelers held the ball for 41:15.)
Is it too soon to discuss this as an area of concern? Should the guard be changed? Is it all on the front 7, or are the backfield guys also part of the concern? How safe could this organization feel cutting ANY of their defensive players if they continue to face 40 minutes of game time each week? They may need bodies, just to field a complete and healthy unit.
At the end of the day: Why can't this team get off the field quickly, and who gives them the best opportunity to do so come week 1?