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Thread: What kind of turnaround can we expect from the Steelers this year?

  1. #1
       
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    What kind of turnaround can we expect from the Steelers this year?

    Last season, the Steelers' performance was less than stellar. I know a lot of teams would kill for a 9-7 record, but in the Steel City, that just doesn't cut it. Over the offseason, we've had to deal with Ben Roethlisberger's domestic problems (and subsequent 4-6 game suspension) and we've lost one of our best offensive linemen for the year. This isn't good for a team that has high expectations year in and year out. In the wake of this, can we expect to see an improvement from the Steelers after last season's disappointment?

    Finding an interim QB for Big Ben is the first obstacle. Personally, I would like to see Dennis Dixon take over. I was impressed with his one game against the Ravens, and I think he's got the talent to do good things for a few weeks. It will more than likely be Charlie Batch, though, because he is way more experienced. The offensive line will be a big problem no matter who's lining up under center, but that's something the Steelers have had to grapple with for several years now. I expect to see a lot more productivity from Rashard Mendenhall as well. With a questionable QB situation, he'll be needed to grind out some tough yardage.

    Another thing the Steelers will have to look at is the strength of the division. The Bengals and Ravens have closed the gap competitively, and the Browns are slowly creeping up. If the Steelers want to make any progress, they'll have to win the divisional games. They also need to stay sharp in the "soft" games and not blow wins like they did against the Chiefs, Raiders, and Browns. This year, the soft games are against Tampa Bay, Oakland, and possibly Carolina. Beyond that, the Steelers will have to work for every win.

    The last time the Steelers turned in a poor season (2006, when they went 8-8) they followed up by reaching the playoffs (in 2007 they went 10-6, won the AFC North and lost on Wild Card Weekend to the Jaguars). After that, they were back in the Super Bowl. So, will a similar pattern emerge here? Maybe. Normally I would predict a record for this season, but with so much up in the air, your guess is as good as mine.

    Thoughts, anyone?

  2. #2
    Yes Nick, we can certainly expect to see an improvement from last year's 9-7 record. First off with the QB situation that you mentioned, I'm also in favor of giving Dennis Dixon a shot and see what the kid has. I agree with you that he played well against the Ravens. Enough in his one oppurtunity to at least get a shot to compete for the starter job during training camp. Who do you see being the odd man out from the bunch? ...Batch? Very doubtful the steelers will keep all 4.

    As an optimist, it's hard to not look at the defense and say to yourself that it should be improved immensely, especially in the crucial situations of the 4th quarter where the majority of collapses or breakdowns took place. While everyone is excited about having Troy and Aaron Smith back healthy, I'm more giddy about having Bryant McFadden back in the secondary. McFadden starting opposite Ike Taylor will allow William Gay to return to a role he excelled at in 2008 as the 3rd corner in the nickel package. Also, Ziggy Hood could potentially take a huge step forward this season when he gets his oppurtunities to relieve Kiesel or Smith for a few plays at a time.

    Some concerns heading into training camp include filling the void left by Holmes and finding out if young Mike Wallace will be able to step up in his second year and become more than just a deep ball homerun hitter. Can't forget about coverage teams either, which were atrocious in 2009, giving up what was it... 8 returns for TD's??

    Don't want to make any record prediction as to the # of wins, but will say higher than 9 wins at this point.

  3. Great division this year. Ravens finally add some receivers. Bolden's personality will make him the Ray Lewis of this offense. He doesn't quite have the chip on his shoulder that Steve Smith has with the Panthers but close. I love Hines Ward, best blocking WR ever, but Bolden is just as tough. The key though will be Stallworth. If he can still stretch the field, it is going to be tough to beat the Ravens.

    Bengals with Mike Zimmer as D coordinator look completely different on that side. They have one of the top defenses in the league and no Pro Bowlers. Jonathon Joseph, Leon Hall, and Rey Maualuga may change that soon. Bengals have to find a passing game. AWOL last year.

    Steelers get there MVP back in Troy Polomalu. I would have said Roethlisberger in the past, but watching their defense without him was not even close to the same. Aaron Smith may be Dick LeBeau's favorite player and he is back too. Softer schedule could put the Steelers on top of the division if they survive what I assume will be the 4 game suspension.

    Bottom line: Ravens the deserving favorite.

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    I agree, the Ravens are the favorites going into this season. Joe Flacco is going to get a huge boost of confidence now that he has some A-plus receivers working with him. Combine that with a solid running game, and the Ravens are just as dangerous as they've always been, maybe more so.

    The Bengals' defense is going be a force for years I think. That group of youngsters is scary. The offense needs work, though. Carson Palmer was strangely off his game last year. It also didn't help that their O-line was really banged up and they didn't have a reliable receiver outside of Chad Ochocinco. If they get that fixed, they're in good shape. I think their biggest goal this year is to make everyone forget about that playoff game against the Jets.

    What (if anything) do you expect from the Browns this year, Cris? As a Steelers fan, I don't personally like them, but I go to Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and I'm forced to watch the Browns every week.

  5. #5
    Cris, do you feel that the Ravens did anything to address their secondary in preparation for the 2010 campaign? While I'm high on the linebacker from Texas and feel he will be an outstanding player in the future, the ravens have not filled the void of losing Chris McCallister and Samari Rolle over the last couple of years, on top of the fact that Ed Reed may be on the decline or nearing the end of his career due to various injuries. The Ravens certainly appear to be putting the pieces in place to come up with a lot of points on the scoreboard, I just wonder if they'll be able to keep other teams from matching their offensive output on a weekly basis.

    Also Cris, what do you think about the wide receiving corps that Carson Palmer will have at his disposal for 2010? Do you see the Bengals sticking with a balanced attack that gave them success in 2009? Or going back more of a pass-happy system?
    Just call me Ott.

  6. #6
       
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    With the unsettled QB position, and an offensive line wracked by injury questions (not to mention a porous defense), the Steelers will struggle to finish .500 this year. They will probably start slow and get better later in the year, and just miss the playoffs again. Also, the special teams play was terrible last year, as they allowed multiple TDs on kick returns and punts, and had no spark of their own in the kick return game. If special teams is not more 'special' than last season, it will be a long cold winter in Pittsburgh.

    My prediction: 7 wins and 9 losses. Ravens win the division, followed by the Bengals, Steelers, and Browns (in that order)

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