ESPN analyst and former Steelers safety Ryan Clark spoke at length about how the 5-5-1 Pittsburgh Steelers lack physicality in a disappointing season.
“They’re not my beloved Steelers anymore.”
That’s how Ryan Clark began a two-minute ESPN segment on how the Steelers have transformed over the course of a season.
Clark, who was drafted by the New York Giants in 2002, spent the majority of his NFL career in yellow and black. During his stint there from 2006 to 2013, Clark became a Super Bowl Champion and a 2011 Pro Bowler. He played alongside Troy Polumalu in a dangerous safety tandem that instilled fear across the league.
Today, Clark is disappointed in his former team as he watched them come undone in a 41-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Nobody is scared to play this team,” Clark said. “There’s absolutely no physicality. There’s no energy defensively. There’s no tone-setters.”
Clark mentioned Minkah Fitzpatrick, whom he considers “one of the best play-making free safeties in football”, dubbing him “a fifth linebacker” because the Steelers linebackers refuses to tackle runners.
Former Steelers safety Ryan Clark obliterates Steelers season on ESPN
Clark went on to critique the Steelers’ use of social media, referencing the Tik Tok dance videos that made Juju Smith-Schuster the subject of intense criticism (and heavy-hitting tackles) late last season.
“Pittsburgh football ain’t about having fun,” Clark said. “Pittsburgh football is about dominating people on the field because of your physicality.
But that ain’t what y’all want. What y’all want to do is show up and y’all want to live on the backs of legends. Don’t nobody care about that no more. Young people aren’t respectful to the past. In the past, Pittsburgh was something. This Pittsburgh defense ain’t jack.”
Clark’s cohosts, Rex Ryan and Dan Orlovsky, wholeheartedly agreed with Clark’s comments about the Steelers, using harrowing statistics to drive home the point even further. Ryan pointed out that the Steelers are 6-10-1 in their last 17 games, while Orlovsky reminded the audience that 20 NFL teams have won a playoff game since the Steelers won their last playoff game in 2016.