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BlackNGold203
09-07-2006, 07:23 AM
By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, September 7, 2006


The Steelers can't be certain they'll repeat as Super Bowl champions, but they can guarantee maximum effort toward that end, beginning with tonight's 2006 NFL opener at Heinz Field against the Miami Dolphins.
"We're all going to be fired up," linebacker Joey Porter said. "We're fired up to really game plan for a team and go out there and show what we got."

That would be a great deal, in Porter's estimation.

"We got a great team," he said. "Check it out (tonight). We are what we are. We lost a couple people but nothing's really changed. We still feel like we have a championship team and we have a chance to go out and prove it (tonight)."

The Steelers return 19 of 22 starters and 44 players who appeared on their 53-man roster for Super Bowl XL (a 45th, offensive lineman Barrett Brooks, is on injured reserve this season; a decision was pending this week on whether to activate quarterback Brian St. Pierre or quarterback Omar Jacobs, neither of whom was with the team last season, from the practice squad).

The list of departed starters consists of wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen and free safety Chris Hope.

Also no longer a part of the 53-man picture in Pittsburgh are quarterback Tommy Maddox, cornerback Willie Williams, running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Lee Mays and defensive end Shaun Nua.

The new starters are Cedrick Wilson (for Randle El), Brett Keisel (for von Oelhoffen) and Ryan Clark (for Hope).

Only Clark wasn't a part of the Steelers' championship drive a year ago as a reserve.

The other newcomers are wide receiver Santonio Holmes, wide receiver Willie Reid, safety Anthony Smith, running back Patrick Cobbs, center Marvin Philip, offensive tackle Willie Colon, tight end Tim Euhus, and defensive end Rodney Bailey.

For the rest, winning the Super Bowl with the Steelers is a been-there, done-that proposition.

And that includes a coaching staff that returns in tact for the second consecutive season.

"We hate to lose, that starts with our head coach (Bill Cowher) and goes all the way down to the last guy on the team," linebacker Larry Foote said.

The Steelers were also a team that rode intangibles and character to a championship in 2005.

Cowher hopes his 15th Steelers edition will embrace similar characteristics, but he can't yet be certain.

He suspects the quest to capture back-to-back Vince Lombardi trophies won't influence the process any more than trying to win the first one did.

"Every year is an obstacle," Cowher said. "Every year, it's about re-establishing yourself, whether it's re-establishing yourself as a player or re-establishing yourself as a unit, and then doing it as a team. That's part of the process. Along the way you're going to have adversities, you're going to have challenges.

"Those are the things that allow you to become who you are."

The Steelers will confront one of those right out of the chute, as backup Charlie Batch will replace Ben Roethlisberger (appendectomy) at quarterback tonight against Miami.

Batch filled in for Roethlisberger twice last season, winning both times.

Maddox also started at quarterback twice, and the Steelers lost both games.

And Roethlisberger wasn't the only starter who missed playing time along the road to Super Bowl XL.

Left offensive tackle Marvel Smith (ankle) missed four starts and the Steelers went 2-2 with then-rookie Trai Essex taking Smith's place (Smith also missed three quarters of a Nov. 28 loss at Indianapolis, dropping the Steelers' record to 2-3 without him).

Wide receiver Hines Ward (hamstring) missed one start, a loss at home to Jacksonville (one of the games Maddox quarterbacked instead of Roethlisberger or Batch, who suffered a broken had in the second of his two fill-in starts).

Running back Willie Parker (ankle) missed one start and the Steelers won without him (Parker had been injured and replaced by Duce Staley after just five carries the week before in Green Bay, which made the Steelers' record 2-0 record when Parker wasn't the featured back).

And linebacker James Farrior missed two of starts (knee); the Steelers went 1-1 with Clint Kriewaldt replacing Farrior (2-1 if you factor in Kriewaldt taking over for Farrior midway through the Green Bay game).

It's a battle of attrition, as well as ambition in the NFL.

The key is making the playoffs, something last year's Steelers needed a regular-season concluding, four-game wining streak to achieve.

After that anything can happen, as the Steelers proved a year ago in winning three consecutive road playoff games against the AFC's No. 3, No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, something that had never happened before.

"I feel really good about this team," Keisel said. "We're going to be good. I'm excited to get the first win and keep on rolling.

"This is a whole new year, a whole new team, a whole new goal. We got the 'One for the Thumb.' Now, we're gonna see if we can go get another one, get the other hand going, but it's like that every year. You have to get rolling into the season, stay healthy _ that's the biggest thing _ and go after it again."

Cowher has said only that he "likes his team" when the subject of what the 2006 Steelers might accomplish has come up.

Foote will take his chances with this bunch, as well.

"We play hard," Foote said. "We play the way the game's supposed to be played. We play physical. Everybody on our team goes hard, that's the type of talent they recruit around here. We're unselfish.

"We're a bunch of unknown names; well, we used to be. Since our Super Bowl victory people are starting to get known around the world. We're exciting. We can play air-it-out or we can play smash-mouth. We can do both. We're a veteran team. We know how to win."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_469350.html

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Elvis
09-07-2006, 07:29 AM
nice thread but kind of long... looking forward to tonights game and hopefully we can keep this string of victories going... If Ben comes back healthy and stays that way then YES we can repeat..
God Bless
Elvis

bigbensgirl7
09-07-2006, 08:38 AM
well the Steelers only win SBs in pairs...so we have to win, and I think we have a good shot at it!!!

floodcitygirl
09-07-2006, 09:42 AM
The road starts today!!! HERE WE GO!!!! :bouncy:

lamberts-lost-tooth
09-07-2006, 11:52 AM
The Steelers were also a team that rode intangibles and character to a championship in 2005.

Cowher hopes his 15th Steelers edition will embrace similar characteristics, but he can't yet be certain.

Therein lies the key....cohesion,desire, and work ethic win superbowls...without those factors and with having to rely on talent alone, you have...well...San Diego. They had a very good QB..Possibly the best RB and TE in the game...an above average defense with the best rookie defensive player drafted...A HOF coach...but something was definatly not there. You got the impression that through some fault of either the coaching staff or the players themselves, they didnt jell together like they could have.

Here is hoping that Pitt fields another group willing to put aside personal goals and keep focused on becoming the FIRST franchise to win the sixth Lombardi trophy!!!

clevestinks
09-07-2006, 12:01 PM
Even if we weren`t defending champs, I would consider us a viable threat to go far in the playoffs. So I say yes we can!

Melo
09-07-2006, 05:05 PM
I believe they have a great chance to repeat. Seeing that they are the champs every team is gonna come up playing their A game. It's gonna be tough just within the AFC Central. But I think they have a legitimate shot.

Cape Cod Steel Head
09-07-2006, 06:10 PM
In a word, YES!

shevdog
09-07-2006, 06:12 PM
We definately will repeat. It is going to be a long and hard road. The Steelers haven't lost a lot of players and they still have a solid roster. My only concern is the running game. I just think that the running game will get off to a slow start and will eventually get back to where it always has been.

Polamalu43
09-07-2006, 06:19 PM
as a real steelers fan and not a homer, the answer is NO, they will not repeat this year..