Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Re: Scout Another Team
I'll scout the Steelers. Or, at least try to. Being that they are a division foe, I'm pretty familiar with them
Looking back at 2009: Coming off a Super Bowl, there was no reason for Steelers fans to think that the 2009 squad couldn't reach certain heights, but a major injury to team leader Troy Polamalu buried those hopes. There is no replacing that guy, and the pass defense proved to be a weakness without him. The Aaron Smith injury, although it wasn't discussed as much, was also extremely significant.
As a whole, the defense wasn't.......bad, but it wasn't what it was the year before. When a crucial stop needed to be made, the absense of Polamalu was definately felt. There was noone in the defensive backfield for the opposition to fear.
On the offensive side of the ball, the team was a pass happy unit. It wasn't "Steelers football" the way your father/grandfather remembered. Big Ben posted huge numbers, Holmes had a big year, supplanting Hines Ward as the top option. Heath Miller did his thing, and Rashard Mendenhall stepped onto the scene in a big way. Obviously, with the final record being 9-7, what was the problem? Pass protection, and the inability to get short yardage plays.
Finally, there seemed to be a real lack of focus. Losing games to the Browns, Raiders, and Chiefs, among others, was quite surprising. If they had won one of those games, they would have made the playoffs. When you win the games against the good teams, which they did, and lose to bottom feeders, that says something.
Looking ahead: The schedule is favorable for them early on, as Byron Leftwich will (likely) lead the charge. If they can maintain an amount of respectability in that time, there is certainly a good chance that they will be in the NFC North hunt. It's been an awful offseason for them, and losing Santonio Holmes will hurt. It will be interesting to see if Mike Wallace can become a top WR target.
Defensively, Polamalu being back and healthy will improve things dramatically, but one thing I'd be concerned about, if I were a Steelers fan, is the age of this unit. Farrior, Harrison, Smith, Hampton, Kiesel, Clark, etc are all on the wrong side of 30. While I don't think they will fall flat on their face, I think there is a chance that their play will drop below their typical standard.
Final record: 10-6. Still a lot of talent, and I'd hate to face against this team in the playoffs, but there are some question marks and age issues. This team has had a brutal offseason, so we shall see their character.