Steelers lack talented players

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers are slogging through a lousy season, and a lot of people are hot to fire some coaches.

That’s fine. That’s also the way things usually play out in the NFL.

The key to being a successful head coach or coordinator is always the same: Have good players.

The Steelers don’t have enough of them, which is why they’re 5-8 with three games left on the schedule.

The task for ownership will be to find out why there’s such a talent shortage. The Steelers have had some unproductive drafts. Who bears the most responsibility for those?

They’ve made some questionable personnel decisions. Who made those calls? Are the people choosing the players indecisive? Jonathan Dwyer was cut in training camp because Felix Jones was better. Dwyer was re-signed when LaRod Stephens-Howling was injured.

Has anyone seen Jones lately?

One spinoff from the fire-the-coach movement is a wayward theory that offensive coordinator Todd Haley got that job because the Rooneys were doing a favor for his father.

Dick Haley, a former Steelers defensive back, helped run the Steelers personnel department in the years when the four-time Super Bowl teams were built.

He left the organization in 1990, and took a similar job with the New York Jets.

For all the success the Steelers enjoyed in the ’70s, there were some lean years after that. When Dick Haley left, the Steelers had endured four losing seasons in five years, and made the playoffs just one time in seven years.

So Dick Haley’s results were certainly mixed.

Todd Haley was hired after he’d served as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. His resume got him the job, not his name.

Anyone who thinks the Rooneys allowed sentiment to play a part in the decision hasn’t been paying attention.

Dan Rooney fired his brother, Art, Jr., because he believed he was no longer helping the organization. It caused a rift in the family.

Does that sound like a guy who is going to hand an important job to someone as a favor?

It’s all business with the Steelers. You can argue that Todd Haley was a bad idea, but it wasn’t based on the Steelers’ past relationship with his father.

Silly season

Baseball’s winter meetings are in progress this week, and there will be equal amounts of news and speculation generated.

It’s important to make a distinction between actual developments and things that are fantasy baseball on a different level.

Someone suggested that the Pirates go after Tampa Bay pitcher David Price. The proposed deal – which was nothing more than one writer’s speculation – suggested the Pirates should deal pitching prospects Tyler Glasnow and Nick Kingham, along with infielder Alen Hanson and outfielder Josh Bell.

While Price would be a nice addition, there is no way the Pirates would part with four prospects to get him.

As salaries take another leap, it reinforces the plan the Pirates must follow: Have a steady flow of prospects produced by a first-rate scouting and player development system.