- No one knows what to make of the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Who is right?
- The truth is no one really knows.
Take the Steelers running back stable. Not happy with mediocre results in 2013, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin all but whipped the slate clean. Rashard Mendenhall is in Pittsburgh West aka Arizona. Chris Rainey, Baron Batch, and Jonathan Dwyer are filing for unemployement insurance.
Only Isaac Redman remains. Le’Veon Bell was to offer hope, but his NFL career amounts to four carries. Could Felix Jones realize that this is his last shot at NFL glory?
At wide receiver the Steelers situation is much the same.
Mike Wallace’s speed will be missed. But his lack of maturity and “me” focus will not. On paper Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are more complete receivers.
But are they complete enough to make up for the loss of Heath Miller?
Lynch Pin on Offense – The Line
When “the Steelers have done it before they can do it again” emotions fade, any rational analysis will hold that the Steelers receivers and running backs will face learning curve.
- But there’s a big X Factor at work, and that is the Steelers offensive line.
As Steel Curtain Rising (and others) have repeatedly observed, the Steelers Brain Trust has invested heavily in changing that.
- Now is the time for the Steelers investment in the offensive line to begin paying dividends.
Ben Roethlisberger’s, the receivers, and running backs have played a lot of winning football in 2008, 2010, and 2011 behind offensive lines that were playing musical chairs.
- If the line’s personnel can stabilize and those men can stay healthy, and even begin to play to their pedigrees, then they can cover up for some growing pains in the skill positions.
Word on Defense, it Isn’t Quite Polamalu or Bust, But…
The Steelers defense had its soul ripped out when James Harrison opted to walk over accepting a pay cut. But the heart of this defense is Troy Polamalu. As Tim Gleason aka Mary Rose of Behind the Steel Curtain has pointed out, Polamalu is like an expensive European sports car. When not in the shop, he is the ultimate football player.
Polamalu’s ability has almost taken on mythic proportions in Steeles Nation and perhaps those comparisons are simply exaggerations.
ESPN’s Scott Brown has calculated that the Steelers defense allows on average 5 fewer points when Polamalu is healthy.
- It’s a good bet that the defense is stingier yet when Polamalu is healthy.
- Can the Steelers make up for Harrisons and Casey Hampton’s run stuffing ability
- Will LaMarr Woodley return to his explosive self?
- Are either Ziggy Hood and/or Cameron Heyward going to have a break out year?
And there are others. Can Danny Smith transform the special teams into something that is not a glaring liability? What of the depth, the younger players that played so poorly in the preseason?
In a very short time Steelers Nation will begin getting some answers.