Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,589

    Glass half full- pre-training camp edition

    Reasons for optimism-
    Overall-
    Team finished 6-2 and a blown call from the playoffs
    Didn't lose anyone big this year in FA, actually added upgrades

    Offense-
    Another year under Haley, promise of more no-huddle
    If Ben stays healthy, the team should roll
    2 similar backs in Bell and Blount, shouldn't be a huge issue if Bell misses a couple games at some point
    Brown is legit at WR, Moore is likely an upgrade over Cotchery, Wheaton and Bryant offer legitimate long term potential
    Heath healthy (still don't see a viable fill in on the roster, though)
    Oline could be the best in a long time- Munchak is a top flight coach, Pouncey and DeCastro have the ability to be the best at their positions, Foster and Beachum seem like they can be reliable starters and Gilbert/Adams should be at least servicable. Now if they can all stay together for a few games and establish some continuity.....

    Defense-
    It appears the coaching and FO identified ILB next to Timmons and FS next to Polamalu as the reason for the lack of splash plays and the failure to prevent big plays- based upon spending the big money on Mitchell to replace Clark and the drafting of Shazier to replace Foote/Williams. As opposed to CB, where FO seems content with what is on the roster.
    DLine- Hayward looks like he could be a beast. I think Keisel comes back as a rotational player with Tuitt (who looks like he could be a Hayward clone)
    LB- Worilds has always looked better on the Woodley side, rather than the Harrison side. Hopefully he stays healthy and dominates like the prototypical Steeler's LB. Hopefully last year was Jarvis Jones' redshirt year and he'll duplicate what he did in his second season playing in college- where he led the SEC in sacks. If Shazier can avoid the big mistake and make a couple big plays, Timmons could vie for Defensive Player of the Year.
    DB- hopefully Cortez is ready to match up with the other team's #1, allowing Ike to take the #2 and Gay to man the slot. If Polamalu can stay healthy and disruptive and Mitchell can duplicate with Ryan Clark was in his prime.... Shamarko gives me hope if Troy gets hurt. A good pass rush would likely go a long way to fixing the secondary.

    Special Teams
    Suisham is steady, consistent
    Dri has the potential to cause the opponent to discuss how not to kick to him. Blount can also return kicks. Hopefully Dri wins the PR job with Brown being relegated to only fielding the punts when the coaching staff wants to have full confidence in the completed, safe, catch.
    the punting competition should result in something better than a JV punter with Podlesh and Wing (although I thought the Zoltan was going to accomplish the same thing).

    Schedule-
    9 of 16 games are against teams with an established QB/HC combo- at Ravens, at Panthers, Colts, Ravens, Saints, at Bengals, at Falcons, Chiefs, Bengals, winning the home games in that group puts the team at 5-4. That leaves 7 games against Browns (twice), Bucs, Jags, Texans, Jets, Titans, beating up on the bad teams, say 6-1 would give the Steelers an 11-5 records and a spot in the playoffs.

    The wish list- Ben stays healthy and the defense finishes in the top 5 in sacks and turnover ratio.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    8,593
    I am so ready for football, the pirates have been just barely holding me through the recent offseason and they still need to step it up and get healthy too.

    The influx of youth the past couple years should seriously start upgrading a team that was slowing down even though barely missing the playoffs which could be directly contributed to early season injuries costing us a couple early games.

    Offensively going into training camp the addition of Munchak and a healthy OL will be the huge. He should make it alot easier for the younger guys and with the depth now at RB the run game really should take off and give Ben alot more options. Agree that though we lost a couple WRs overall our receiver core should be upgraded with Moore and healthy Wheaton and Miller. As much as I like Moye, it could be J. Brown who really steps up this year to solidify a spot. Bryant will be an interesting guy to watch develop through the season, from a redzone threat to getting down the field in the no-huddle.

    Defensively I love the upgrade in playmakers. If Worilds and Jones can stay healthy they could be a very solid duo, Shazier is a huge upgrade over Williams (still a good smart depth guy) due to his speed. Our LB core could be best in years. Mitchell, Allen could be big time playmakers in secondary and once again Troy should be able to freelance a bit more after Clark's major dropoff last year. As usual though it starts in the trenches and if McLendon really has added size while not diminishing his ability to move along the line that will help alot as he was pushed around to much last year. Woods was a bit of a loss due to his versatility and was starting to come into his own but Hoods won't be missed at all as he never fit this defense. The addition of Thomas and Tuitt will be really good. For now a rotation of the two should be solid opposite Heyward until Tuitt gets more and more comfortable in the defense. I think he is going to be exceptional within a couple years, progressing like Heyward. I don't see Harrison coming back at all honestly but the verdict is still out on Keisel, it's all dependent on what they see in the young guys and if Keisel is willing to take a huge paycut and cut in playing time. I'd love to see him back but only if it doesn't stunt the growth of one of the younger players.

    Depth could be as big a plus this year as anything on both side of the ball. We now have solid depth in the trenches with guys who could be future starters as well not just bodies on the bench. The skill positions are very deep with the fact that some guys who could have easily made the roster last year not fighting for a spot, competition is always good. LB may be deeper than its been in a long time, though we'll see at OLB, which depends alot on the versatility of some and the progression or not of Carter.

    ST should really get a boost from all the speed both in coverage and on the return teams. Though Suisham is set at Kicker the competition of Podlesh and Wing should be interesting.

    This team is definitely going to be a playoff contender, staying healthy is the key and getting the defense back to it's previous glory.

    All I can say now is it is time for some STEELERS football finally.
    "Once I start, they'll be no stopping me."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Bend Oregon
    Posts
    1,208
    I agree. I like the retooling that has gone on the past couple years. The offense should be better with more no huddle, Munchak's coaching, a healthy Heath and a better running game. Sander's loss is NBD - he was just another of 100 WRs out there and Wheaton has the potential to be better IMO. Cotchery was more valuable and I think they have ably replaced him with Moore.

    The D is a bit more worrisome but the changes had to be made. We'll be faster if nothing else. We seem to have shored up the Dline, ILB and Safety though we won't really know until the rubber hits the road. OLB and CB are concerns both in terms of depth and maybe talent. Jarvis Jones has to be better and Worilds has to be more than a one year wonder.

    I liked Wing at LSU though he was a bit of a wild card off the field. He's got a leg on him so maybe the 36 yd punt is a thing of the past if he wins the job.

    We have Ben and we have more playmakers. No one else in the division really stands out as a power. Hope springs eternal but I'm excited about the young players on the squad and I like our chances to make the playoffs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Phoenix
    Posts
    2,897
    Some good stuff, fellas. I'm going to bring up a potential key player on both sides of the ball and why we should be confident in their success.

    Like I mentioned in another thread, Mike Adams was stabbed last year...on June 1. Supposedly he had time to heal. But was he able to really do so physically and mentally? He had a pretty good rookie year and with some real coaching, I expect him to take the next step, last year was almost a throwaway.

    Jarvis Jones did pretty much the impossible in this defense, he started as a rookie, where many guys take 1-2 years watching before they succeed. I equate Jones' potential to that of a sophomore basketball player, it's where they take their biggest leap. It's the whole speed of the game, longer season, learning to be a pro stuff. He is WAY ahead of the game and let's not forget, he played the same position in college and was identified as a no-brainer by the Steelers to get on the field quicker than most. I don't think they really wanted him to play right away, but that's how it worked out. I expect it will all slow down and his instinct can start to take over.

    There are other ones like Shazier and Tuitt, but I mostly want them to be solid and have enough around them not to be detriments. I want Wheaton to take a similar step as Jones as he watched a lot. And I want Archer to be used creatively from day 1. I also can't freaking wait for early September...especially as a D-backs fan. :)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  






Part of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties.