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KILLERSteelers77
08-10-2005, 10:37 PM
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not going to the Super Bowl.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are not winning the AFC North.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are not making the playoffs.

When you think of the Steelers' success a year ago, when they went 15-1 and lost to the Patriots in the AFC championship game, you think of a smash-mouth running game where Jerome Bettis sipped from the fountain of youth, and a fantastic Ben Roethlisberger shined in his rookie season.

The Pittsburgh running game, however, will take a major step back this year.

There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and Duce Staley will get hurt. Bill Cowher spent all last week telling everyone that Staley's knee was nothing to worry about. Staley spent the ensuing Monday undergoing knee surgery to repair a tear. You cannot count on Staley, even when he comes back.

Bettis was a guest on my radio show in March, and described how while last year was special, he doesn't think he could carry the load in 2005, and how he really doesn't want to. Sure, 2004 undrafted free agent Willie Parker gained 102 rushing yards against Buffalo in Week 17 last year, but 58 of those were on one play. Verron Haynes is what he is; a nice third-down back.

But here's the reality: A team that wins and sets everything up based on the run doesn't have a legit starting running back. Plus, the team is starting Max Starks at right tackle, and he was your typical boom-or-bust lineman at Florida. The Steelers losing tackle Oliver Ross to Arizona will also hurt.

Hines Ward is a no-show at Steelers camp, rightly upset he isn't getting a new contract after the Rooney family and Cowher promised him he would get one, and get fair market value. Then the Steelers insult him by floating to the public that they offered Ward the highest signing bonus in Steelers history.

That's nice. Who cares? It's 2005. Ward should be making more money than Isaac Bruce and Eric Moulds. He's the perfect receiver for the grind-it-out Steelers. Ward affects the Steelers every time the ball is snapped. He's got very sure hands, runs hard patterns that juke defenders, is a fantastic run blocker, and loves laying out defenders, hurling his body at potential tacklers.

Ward never complains about not getting the ball, as he is a rare bird who genuinely just wants to win. Ward defines Steeler football. The Steelers currently aren't even talking about a new deal with Ward and his rep, and the players are frustrated at management that their leader is nowhere to be found. His absence hurts the Steelers offense in every possible way. This really touches Roethlisberger getting ready for year No. 2. He has asked the very smart offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt to throw the ball more. That's tough to do when Ward is out, Plaxico Burress is with the Giants, and Ced Wilson is the replacement.

Know this: every team in the AFC North is better than they were in 2004.

The Ravens will have a special defense this year and will win the division. This secondary has a chance to be one of the greatest in years. I watched this team practice last week and the secondary is already in midseason form. Ed Reed, a game changer, is the best defensive player in the league not named Peppers. Chris McAlister is focused after contractual distractions last year. CB Samari Rolle was one of the best pickups in free agency. Underrated safety Will Demps was flying all over the field. And oh by the way, Dale Carter and Deion Sanders are there, too.

I spent 15 minutes with an all-fired-up Ray Lewis, who told me he's never trained harder in an off-season, sparked by media criticism that he's lost a step. I'd be afraid. Lewis and Adalius Thomas will be even better in the 4-3 defense. Kelly Gregg isn't big, but he's a tough-as-nails defensive lineman that defensive coordinator Rex Ryan adores. Ryan will use some of Papa Buddy's 46 defense to make this talent even more unpredictable.

This isn't your older brother's Ravens. Brian Billick's got a great new offensive coordinator in Jim Fassel, a smart quarterbacks coach with Rick Neuheisel, and a brand new weapon in former Titan Derrick Mason, who caught 96 balls last year and had good chemistry with Kyle Boller last week at camp. Boller has the talent and brains around him to succeed, much like Big Ben did last year.

The Bengals are going to be a playoff contender. Yes, the Bengals, as they return 11 starters on offense, including Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson and Carson Palmer, who together are on the verge of something special.

Cleveland won't win many games, but when you are coached by Romeo Crennel, and add leaders like Joe Andruzzi and Trent Dilfer, the Browns will be in every game.

When you dive deeper into the Pittsburgh schedule, you will find very few cupcakes. The Lions, Bears, and Texans are all clearly improved. New England is New England. And the Chargers just might be the most balanced team in the AFC.

In addition, so many teams in the AFC rightly believe this is their year. New England, Buffalo, the Jets, the aforementioned teams in the North, the Colts, Texans, Jaguars, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders and Broncos are all very capable of eight or more wins. For Pittsburgh, it was a near-perfect ride one season ago.

Eight or nine wins seem much more realistic this time around.

The Bus stops here.

Man these problems are worrying ME!!

LINK (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/3879518)

slashsteel
08-10-2005, 10:42 PM
If we valued Ross' he would still be a Steeler and a starter. But the fact is the FO sees something in Mad Max..................


And Ward should be back before the regular season, so we shall see.............

ironcitychef
08-10-2005, 11:17 PM
I'm not saying that we don't have a list of question marks right now, but I don't think they are any bigger than anyone else in the division. Who is going run for Bal right now? Lewis can train all he wants, but he is a year older and he got more over the top help(older help so we'll see) but still no line help and LB help. So he still has to patrol a large field.Never said it would be a cakewalk, but I still like our chances.

Prosdo
08-10-2005, 11:53 PM
I'm not saying that we don't have a list of question marks right now, but I don't think they are any bigger than anyone else in the division. Who is going run for Bal right now? Lewis can train all he wants, but he is a year older and he got more over the top help(older help so we'll see) but still no line help and LB help. So he still has to patrol a large field.Never said it would be a cakewalk, but I still like our chances.

I am with ICC on this. I think we do have questions, but I think this article kind of overblows it. I think we are still one of the top contenders.

BlitzburghRockCity
08-10-2005, 11:54 PM
Dude, why are you even sweating these articles..its a worthless writer trying to get people to read his drivel. Remember these are the same people that said after 6-10 we'd finish 3rd inthe division and no playoffs.

Pay no mind, its no big deal. It pisses me off too that people actually believe this stuff and then start doubting us. But let them doubt, we know what we have and we can do!

There is NOT 1 team in the league that doesnt have some question marks, not 1 !!

bigbensgirl7
08-11-2005, 01:04 AM
THis guy is obviously a hater. Yes, of course we have some question marks, but who doens't! He has gone to far...
Know this: every team in the AFC North is better than they were in 2004.
Are you telling me the Stains are going to be a better team than we were last year. I guess the AFC North will have 3 teams finishing at 16-0...hum...last time I checked...that's impossible!
I could care less what this guy say....and didn't we have quite a few ???? last year and what happened???
I like our depth and we will be fine. Not 15-1 fine, but I believe you will see us in the post season...and we will remian the team to beat in the North!

BlitzburghRockCity
08-11-2005, 01:27 AM
He makes absoutely no sense.. are we sure he isnt related to Prisuta ?????

Justin Otstott
08-11-2005, 11:14 AM
I have to agree with Killersteelers77 even tho I don't want to, oh and Hi everybody at SF! But im worried about the team this year, not just because we lost our deep threat, but because of Ward and injuries so far. I have a bad feeling about this year, and I hope this time I am wrong.

bigbensgirl7
08-11-2005, 11:17 AM
I have to agree with Killersteelers77 even tho I don't want to, oh and Hi everybody at SF! But im worried about the team this year, not just because we lost our deep threat, but because of Ward and injuries so far. I have a bad feeling about this year, and I hope this time I am wrong.
There are always question marks going into any season...we have the depth to take care of the injuries. I think we'll be fine as long as we don't suffer many more. And with Ward....I truely believe he will report by the end of camp. If he doesn't, it can end up hurting him also. Not to mention, with him being out of camp...our other recievers are getting more reps and practice they need!

Justin Otstott
08-11-2005, 11:19 AM
I hope so ^^^ We need Ward more then anybody else, well thats just what I think. But maybe your right.

bigbensgirl7
08-11-2005, 11:25 AM
I hope so ^^^ We need Ward more then anybody else, well thats just what I think. But maybe your right.
Not to mention...he knows how close we are to that long awaited ring....I know he wants it too!

Bamataco1
08-11-2005, 11:39 AM
I think that IF Cowher could manage to actually think for a change and see these problems things could be handled. Right from this point on make Parker the starting tail back. He's young and fast , which would bring a new dimension the the Steeler offense. Also Bettis could contribute and spell Parker when needed. That way we would still have a running game which would help Big Ben out and not put to much on his shoulders. But like i said it would take Cowher to actually think for a change so I guess that this won't happen.

RichmondVA
08-11-2005, 11:39 AM
I belieive the key to the Steelers ability to have a playoff team this year will ride on the O-line. I'm not saying the other points are not valid but history tells me that teams that have the O-line play together all year and stay healthy have a much better chance of winning games. For Example - Steelers O-line in 2003-2004 had no real continuity and didn't do so hot. Steelers O-line in 2004-2005 played together almost every game and did pretty well.

We need all aspects of the team to perform, but the O-line performance has always been the key to NFL teams success or failures. It sets up the WR's & RB's for success. It keeps the D of the field and keeps them from defending a short field most of the time.

Justin Otstott
08-11-2005, 12:02 PM
^ I agree with u on that Rich, but we have to wait and see. I just have a bad feeling.

Blitzburgh55
08-11-2005, 12:05 PM
Killer what kind of steelers fan r u of course we will makje the playoffs and i think we will win the SB

KILLERSteelers77
08-11-2005, 12:26 PM
Man, by no means am I saying I defend or support this article... but anyone who looks at our problems right now as a whole should worry. This could also be the best things to ever happen as well, in being able to get the young guys in there and used to the system. Parker, Haynes, Herrron, Cobb, Gibson, Morey.... They can all gain from this, and the problems we have won't be around forever, when Bus & Staley are gone... these guys will be that much more ready... and Big Ben is slowly but surely building a rapport with the younger receivers... helps LONG TERM.... but a true Steeler fan can't say they aren't worried at all about this year!!!

ironcitychef
08-11-2005, 09:55 PM
I think that is where I am at right now...short term problems but maybe long term solutions.

Cape Cod Steel Head
08-13-2005, 12:12 PM
This bonehead fails to mention anything about the NFL's #1 ranked defense.