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lamberts-lost-tooth
01-05-2008, 07:37 AM
The times they are a changingBy Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, January 5, 2008

They may have limped to the finish, but at least the Steelers made the playoffs. By doing so, they've come full circle in the transition from Bill Cowher to Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers reached the postseason in 1992 -- Cowher's initial season at the helm -- and nine times in the 14 seasons that followed.

The Cowher-era Steelers will always be remembered for Super Bowl XL, but they really distinguished themselves by bringing playoff football to the North Shore on a regular basis.

Only one team can win the Super Bowl, but even while failing to do so 14 times in Cowher's 15 campaigns, the Steelers hosted a playoff game on a remarkable 13 occasions.

They were at home in the postseason more times than any other team from 1992-2006 (at 11, San Francisco was second).
They're home again tonight, most likely for the final time this season and for the final time as we've come to know the recent bunch.

Two years ago, they were champions.

Last season, they were also-rans with an asterisk.

They entered this season with a championship core still intact, and hoping to recapture the magic, while, this time, avoiding such unforeseen developments as an emergency appendectomy and a motorcycle accident.

Ben Roethlisberger did his part -- remaining upright despite being forced to the ground 47 times -- but as the season played out, it became apparent these Steelers were a lot further removed from the Super Bowl than initially anticipated.

They're not a bad team; they're better than average, actually.

But their season is most likely destined to end soon, either tonight against a Jaguars, team that's beaten them once already at Heinz Field, or the following weekend in New England.

Once it does, that championship core will continue to dissipate and the Steelers will become that much less recognizable in relation to their championship predecessors.

By the time this season began, the likes of Kimo von Oelhoffen, Joey Porter, Chris Hope, Jeff Hartings, Antwaan Randle El, Jerome Bettis and Chris Gardocki had moved on down the road.

Once this one concludes, it's likely that Super Bowl XL-holdovers Dan Kreider, Alan Faneca, Max Starks and Clark Haggans will have played their final downs with the Steelers.

And before the 2008 campaign commences, Hines Ward will turn 32, Deshea Townsend will be on the verge of turning 33 and James Farrior will be 33 (that happens tomorrow).

And Marvel Smith will have to have established that he's made it back from back surgery.

The team is aging.

And the times, they are a changing.

That's why nights such as tonight ought to be embraced by Steeler Nation.

Home playoff games used to be taken for granted in these parts, and four of the five staged between 1992-2006 that decided the AFC championship aren't remembered fondly.

But they haven't played one of these since Jan. 23, 2005, and it might be some time before they play another one.

As Cowher used to say, "seize the moment."

As the Steelers rebuild, retool and re-invent themselves under Tomlin, they may take a step or two back before moving forward no matter what happens against Jacksonville.

They'll always have Super Bowl XL, but tonight might well be the previous incarnation's last hurrah.

SteelersJW
01-05-2008, 09:13 AM
Very well put.

Elvis
01-05-2008, 09:36 AM
:coffee: Well it sounds to me like the guy is just saying that we are gonna suck the next few seasons to me. We have alot of youth on this team in the right places in my opinion. Ben is only in what? his 5th year.. Willie is still very young as well. The right side of our OLIne is young with Colon and Simmons. On defense I think is where we are getting old. Aaron Smith is not as young as he once was and now he will be coming off a injury next season. Casey Hampton needs someone here to take notes and learn because he is coming to the end as well in a couple years probably. ILB has to be a priority in the offseason with Farrior turning 33 this weekend, and Foote just isnt making the plays that he was a couple years ago. Our secondary has played decently this year in my opinion, just not great. Troy has had all kinds of injury problems the last 2 years and made the pro bowl this year on reputation only and obviously we havent found a replacement for Chris Hope at FS.
Oh yeah.. and Hines Ward at WR is not getting any younger either and we need some depth here as well because Cedric Wilson is NOT the Answer
:tt02:

Jeremy
01-05-2008, 09:41 AM
Wow......is it still that bad in Pittsburgh?

Look folks.....teams in the NFL retool on a regular basis. Rosters can turn over 10-15 players a year if need be for a team to stay competitive. The Steelers are going to be fine. They've proven that they know what they're doing when it comes to managing the roster and bringing in players who can fill holes. Faneca leaves and they bring someone in to fill his spot. Parkers gets hurt and they find someone to fill his spot. Someday Ward will leave and there will be someone to fill his spot.

My expectations are always high for the Steelers and there's nothing that's going to change that.

cubanstogie
01-05-2008, 10:53 AM
It seems like every year we lose key players and always respond. Everytime one of our no name LB's had a break out year they seemed to bolt when their contract ended.Gildon, Porter, Kirkland, Chad Brown, Kendrall Bell. We have always had great lb's. Ham, Lambert, and Robin Cole when I was a kid, and I expect Timmons and Woodley to be the same caliber. We have youth at WR and TE with the exception of Ward. Who is a posession receiver so could have a couple of years left. We need improvement to both lines next year that is glaringly obvious. I still expect us to be a playoff team the next 5 to 7 years with Ben as our QB. Hopefully Foote, and Farrior will be willing to take a back up role the next two years.

Dodt
01-05-2008, 10:54 AM
no matter what happens i'm proud of this season .

19ward86
01-05-2008, 11:30 AM
youth wise, we suck. mid experienced players is where we are deep at and i think that is why we have so many players that produce well. we dont start the 21 yr old rookie very often.. holmes started the last 4 games last season only because cedrick wasnt doing that well. ben got the chance of a lifetime, who knows if maddox wouldnt of went down he might of sat for a whole year or maybe even 2. my point is that farrior,foote,haggans,harrison,ike,deshea,ryan,aar on smith, brett keisel just on defense didnt start their first season, farrior did but he was like 29 and already started with the jets. i dont think youth is a problem we just need to release the nick easons and the anthony madisons to get some players out of the draft.

desertsteel
01-05-2008, 11:33 AM
I know I'm looking forward to seeing Woodley, Harrison and Timmons for the next 5 years! Not to mention having the franchise QB for the next 7-8 years. A lot can go right when you have a great QB. I'm not worried!

BlastFurnace
01-05-2008, 11:57 AM
It's not as bad as Prisuta is saying, but where he is right is that our SB core players on defense are either gone or are at the tail end of their careers.

Next season, if McFadden, Woodley, and Timmons can start, we have 3 of the positions in concern taken care of. If Smith and Polamalu come back healthy....and stay healthy, we will be fine there as well. We really need Anthony Smith to step up and seize the moment. So far, he is a big hitter and nothing else. He is a liability in coverage up to this point. I'm not sure if Ryan Clark will be back or not due to his health concerns. Depth at DL must be added through FA or the draft as well. Eason is horrible.

The offense, with a core of Ben, Willie Parker, Holmes, and Miller will be fine. Washington and Wilson are servicable as #3 and #4 receivers, but not as #2 guys. We need to bring someone else in for help here. Our OL problems may be really helped if we can upgrade at Center. Mahan must be replaced, no matter how the Steelers try to spin it. According to Jim Wexell, we are going to make a serious run at trying to sign Faneca and Starks again. Wex doesn't make stuff up, so hopefully that will be the case.

The special teams....just find a kicker that can kick it through the end zone every single time on kickoffs and the battle is half won :>). I know it's not that easy, but I wish it was.

5goldenrings
01-05-2008, 12:32 PM
The Steelers need to try and re-sign Haggans for decent but not too too much. He is in his Prime and has 3 good years left in him.

The Duke
01-05-2008, 12:55 PM
The Steelers need to try and re-sign Haggans for decent but not too too much. He is in his Prime and has 3 good years left in him.

Probably staying more like a backup and a mentor, cause Woodley's definitely gonna take his job next season.

But I would like Haggans to stay at least one more season to teach the young guys some more. He's stated he wants to stay here so maybe he'll take a small paycheck

BlastFurnace
01-05-2008, 01:34 PM
The Steelers need to try and re-sign Haggans for decent but not too too much. He is in his Prime and has 3 good years left in him.

He is well past his prime. The only thing that Haggans needs to have his image on is the side of a Milk Carton in a missing person's add. He's been missing or invisible all season long.

No thanks. I want to see what Woodley can do next season. We need to get more impact at that position.

Haiku_Dirtt
01-05-2008, 01:37 PM
[B]

Ben Roethlisberger did his part -- remaining upright despite being forced to the ground 47 times -- but as the season played out, it became apparent these Steelers were a lot further removed from the Super Bowl than initially anticipated.

They're not a bad team; they're better than average, actually.
.

Ben DID do his part. Running from lions for 17 weeks won't add years to his career.

And we are better than AVERAGE. But it only takes one hole to sink a ship. Especially if that hole is in the center of the haul.

lilyoder6
01-05-2008, 01:49 PM
i would hope to see timmons play next yr.. so it would look like we didn't waste a 1st rd pick on him

Edman
01-05-2008, 03:06 PM
Is Prisuta expecting consecutive playoff-less seasons like in 1998-2000?

But yeah, he does have a point, these Steelers are getting old. I hope Pittsburgh is a player in Free Agency, but going by recent tradition, the Steelers will need another 2002 draft to at least remain competitive. The 2007 class has a lot of potential, though.

Speaking of times changing, thanks to Ben, our Offense has to evolve.

DACEB
01-05-2008, 03:30 PM
Probably staying more like a backup and a mentor, cause Woodley's definitely gonna take his job next season.

But I would like Haggans to stay at least one more season to teach the young guys some more. He's stated he wants to stay here so maybe he'll take a small paycheck

I second that.

Haggans provides very solid depth at the LB position. I would like to see him stay and the team build on the youth at the LB position.

Woodley looks good so far, but if he is going to stay at OLB he needs to lose maybe 10lbs IMO. He needs to get a little quicker for coverage. Either that or maybe take over for Foote inside.

Timmons definetely needs to get it together and get on the field next year. Whether that is on the outside or inside. It would be nice to see him be able to take over for Farrior inside, we could use the boost in speed and quickness that he possess at that position.

We are definetely NOT on the decline. We need some help on the O-line obviously, but the rest of the O looks good besides maybe a bigger threat at WR allowing Ward to move inside to the slot in the future.

The defense suffered alot with the loss of Clark first, until he got injured we had not allowed a pass play of over 40yds, and Smith in the run game. We need an explosive D-lineman to add depth and hopefully come in and help with the pass rush. Add to that a corner or safety that can add depth and help out in the return game, that is a must.

There will most likely be some guys lost for whatever reason; age, performance, attitude, cost, lack of versatility. The team has a little money to spend so hopefully the team bolsters the roster with the players we need to be successful year in and year out as we all are accustomed to.

steelers2685
01-05-2008, 06:00 PM
It is true that the Steelers are aging, and of course we will see many new faces. However, the face of the Steelers as a whole will not change. Growing up, I saw the Steelers as Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, Levon Kirkland, Carnell Lake, Rod Woodson, Neil O'Donnell (unfortunately), Barry Foster, Bam Morris, Jahine Arnold, Charles Johnson, Yancey Thigpen, Gary Anderson, etc....

Just about 10 years later now, the Steelers still have the same personality to me, with just a new group of likeable players - Big Ben, FWP, Hines, Deshea, Foote, Farrior, Hampton, Keisel, Faneca, Miller.

Times may change, but the Steelers to me are who they always are - my team. The Super Bowl team is dissipating at a rapid pace, and that means that these new guys simply have to carry on the tradition and win one for the city to set themselves with the rest of these core teams we remember so fondly.

steelcityjameser
01-05-2008, 06:34 PM
solid post LLT.

OneForTheToe
01-05-2008, 06:37 PM
The Steelers need to try and re-sign Haggans for decent but not too too much. He is in his Prime and has 3 good years left in him.


I think we need to upgrade over Haggans. He is an ok player, but he just does not apply enough pressure on the QB, IMO. We need an outside rusher to complement Harrison just as we got Kevin Greene as a compliment for Lloyd back in the day. Hopefully that player will be Woodley. I certainly wouldn't have a problem with Clark signing as a backup, but I doubt that will happen.

Preacher
01-05-2008, 06:48 PM
Actually...

I think that was an excellent article. He is right. There will be some things that will change, and that may cause a disruption for a couple of years. But we have great times coming.

Also notice.. As the Steelers rebuild, retool and re-invent themselves under Tomlin, they may take a step or two back before moving forward no matter what happens against Jacksonville.

He is not saying they will. He is saying they MIGHT. His assessment is dead on. Changes are coming. They have to. We may take a step back while we are getting setup with the new changes. Either way... we got a good team ahead of us.