PDA

View Full Version : NFL Outsider Season Preview 2009: Pittsburgh Steelers


mesaSteeler
07-06-2009, 07:08 PM
NFL Outsider Season Preview 2009: Pittsburgh Steelers
http://mvn.com/outsider/2009/07/nfl-outsider-season-preview-2009-pittsburgh-steelers.html
By Richie Denis

Super Bowl XLIII - FANTASTIC FINISH 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 slide by Arizona Cardinals

NFL Outsider is hosting a season preview of all 32 teams. The NFL regular season begins on September 10; in the meantime follow the best NFL bloggers as they analyze their teams in this 2009 season preview.

Donald from Steelerstoday.com gives insight into what to expect from this year's Pittsburgh Steelers.

2008 regular season record: 12-4
2009 predicted record: 13-3
Predicted finish in AFC North: 1st

The Pittsburgh Steelers ended 2008 by taking home their sixth Lombardi Trophy. However, repeating in 2009 is not going to be an easy task. Steeler Nation is not going to like hearing me say this, but I don't think the Steelers were the best team in the NFL last season. However, the Steelers got hot at the right time, and had a few breaks go their way. Next thing you know, they're throwing a parade in Pittsburgh.

Key Weaknesses:
If the Steelers hope to repeat, they are going to have to address their biggest weakness; the offensive line. The Steelers' offensive line allowed Ben Roethlisberger to be sacked over 45 times during each of the past 3 regular seasons. For comparison, Peyton Manning has averaged 17 sacks per season during the same period, and Drew Brees has averaged 16 sacks. Moreover, both quarterbacks threw significantly more passes than Roethlisberger, who plays in a run-oriented offense. See the problem? The Steelers may be the only team in history to win the Super Bowl with an offensive line that was among the league leaders in sacks allowed. Keeping Roethlisberger off his back has got to be priorities #1, 2, and 3 for the Steelers this year.

The offensive line is also going to have to assert themselves in the running game. The 2008 Steelers rushing attack was dreadful. They struggled to gain short yardage in key situations time and time again. Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians often found himself calling passing plays on 3rd and short, something that almost never happened when "The Bus" was still parked in the Steelers' garage. The ground attack that has historically been a Steelers' strength has suddenly become a weakness.

Key Strengths:
Despite the Steelers' offensive shortcomings, they still boast the best defense in the NFL. With the addition of former 1st round draft pick Lawrence Timmons into the starting line-up, the Steelers defense should be even stronger than last year. If opponents can't run against the Steelers, and can't pass against them, it makes beating them a pretty tough task.

On offense, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to establish himself as one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. The emergence of WR Santonio Holmes is sure to help Roethlisberger's further development.

Key losses: CB Bryant McFadden, WR Nate Washington, ILB Larry Foote, QB Byron Leftwich, S Anthony Smith.

Despite the losses, the Steelers should actually emerge as a better team than they were in 2008. Byron Leftwich and Anthony Smith were both backups. Bryant McFadden and Larry Foote were both splitting playing time with players of equal or greater talent. Nate Washington was the Steelers' #3 receiver, so he won't be as difficult to replace as Hines Ward or Santonio Holmes would have been.

Free Agent additions: CB Keiwan Ratliff, WR Shaun McDonald, P Dirk Johnson, RB Stefan Logan.

As usual, the Steelers didn't really participate in the free agent market. Instead, they let other teams battle for the overpriced free agents, and then pick and choose from the leftovers to find potential contributors at a bargain price.

Shaun McDonald could actually emerge as the Steelers' replacement for Nate Washington, although he will face tough competition in training camp from 2nd year player Limas Sweed and rookie draft pick Mike Wallace.

Draft Picks: DE Ziggy Hood, OG Kraig Urbik, WR Mike Wallace, CB Keenan Lewis, CB Joe Burnett, RB Frank Summers, DE Ra'Shon Harris, C A.Q. Shipley, TE David Johnson

The Steelers draft as well as any team in the NFL. They have a system, and it works for them. They build through the draft. That's the Steeler way. And they usually have the luxury of not having to depend on any of their draft picks to contribute immediately. The same can be said this year.

The Steelers had a stellar draft. Yet, being the reigning Super Bowl champs, few of their rookies will be able to win starting positions. In fact, guard Kraig Urbik is the only one that I would imagine will break into the starting lineup this year. The rest will have the luxury of learning the playbook so they can contribute in 2010.

That's exactly what happened to the 2008 draft class. The Steelers got almost no contribution from any of them last year. But this year, 2nd year players Rashard Mendenhall, Limas Sweed, Bruce Davis, Tony Hills, and Ryan Mundy should be ready to make a significant contribution, though none may start. It's almost like having a second batch of incoming rookies.

So the Steelers go into 2009 having lost very little talent, and having added lots of talented young players. I think it is fair to say that the Steelers' roster is actually going to be stronger this year than it was last year when they won the Super Bowl. Combine that with a very easy schedule, and it is difficult to imagine the Steelers not winning their division and making the playoffs.

fansince'76
07-06-2009, 07:26 PM
Nothing here that hasn't already been said ad nauseam. Do these bloggers really think they're "enlightening" anybody or coming up with insight that's original? I can't wait for preseason.

revefsreleets
07-06-2009, 08:00 PM
Actually, I thought it was one of the better summaries I've seen. It was short and on-point, and not overly complimentary while still paying proper respect.

But, yeah, it's still just more of the same, which will get slightly worse before it gets better as we are still a month away from camp....

LVSteelersfan
07-06-2009, 09:07 PM
These idiots still don't get it that it is DEFENSE that wins championships. If you have a number one defense and a soso offense with decent special teams play, you have a Super Bowl contender. Period. Enough said. All our offense has to do is get a little bit better and this team is going to knock everyone's blocks off. If they learn to put the ball in the end zone from the red zone, it will be lights out on almost everyone this upcoming season.

Men of Steel
07-06-2009, 09:21 PM
These idiots still don't get it that it is DEFENSE that wins championships. If you have a number one defense and a soso offense with decent special teams play, you have a Super Bowl contender. Period. Enough said. All our offense has to do is get a little bit better and this team is going to knock everyone's blocks off. If they learn to put the ball in the end zone from the red zone, it will be lights out on almost everyone this upcoming season.

yesssiiir... couldnt have said it better myself :thumbsup: :tt02:

OUR DEFENSE IS BACK.. PROBABLY EVEN BETTER THAN LAST YEAR.
OUR OFFENSE SHOULD IMPROVE WITH MORE EXPERIENCE AND FRESH YOUNG TALENT.
OUR SPECIAL TEAMS ONLY GETS BETTER THIS YEAR AS WELL.
EASIER SCHEDULE

man we better repeat..... :tt03:

Psyychoward86
07-06-2009, 09:25 PM
Same old same old. But good analysis. And wasnt Dirk Johnson cut?

Galax Steeler
07-07-2009, 03:51 AM
Lets show them what we have this year. A better running game I think we will have this year. With Mendenhall coming back not to mention Moore and hopefully Frank Summers will contribute some as well.

He talked about our offensive line I can see and improvement with it this year with Urbik comming in and getting into the lineup hopefully.

Our special teams have got to get better especially on the return game with Logan, Wallace and whoever else can step up.

I don't even have to say anything about our defense it will speak for itself with the imergance of Timmons and Gay and the rest of the awesome defense we have.

Number seven here we come.:tt02:

KeiselPower99
07-07-2009, 07:31 AM
I actually enjoyed reading that article. Nice to see Ryan Mundys name on there. I think he might be the key to us keeping Ryan Clark.

Dino 6 Rings
07-07-2009, 09:27 AM
Making the Playoffs with this team is without a doubt a requirement. If we fail to make the playoffs with this team, I'll be sick.

Pretty sure I've posted that exact same break down on a Pats site when talking about the Steelers next year. Basic breakdown of or "key" losses and gains, allude the schedule and the key young guys needing to step up. Yep, pretty sure I wrote that article a month ago on a Patriots Forum.

He did however forget to mention the fact the Entire Coaching Staff is returning and our QB hasn't faceplanted a car this off season.

The_WARDen
07-07-2009, 10:07 AM
Making the Playoffs with this team is without a doubt a requirement. If we fail to make the playoffs with this team, I'll be sick.

Pretty sure I've posted that exact same break down on a Pats site when talking about the Steelers next year. Basic breakdown of or "key" losses and gains, allude the schedule and the key young guys needing to step up. Yep, pretty sure I wrote that article a month ago on a Patriots Forum.

He did however forget to mention the fact the Entire Coaching Staff is returning and our QB hasn't faceplanted a car this off season.

and hopefully, the head coach hasn't mentally mailed the season in this time...
:drink:

Dino 6 Rings
07-07-2009, 11:49 AM
and hopefully, the head coach hasn't mentally mailed the season in this time...
:drink:

Great point, I think this head coach is still hungry, in fact, he has yet to actually Touch the Super Bowl Trophy he already won.

AllD
07-07-2009, 02:54 PM
If everybody remains healthy, anything less than a repeat would be failure.

Dino 6 Rings
07-07-2009, 03:21 PM
If everybody remains healthy, anything less than a repeat would be failure.

I like you're thinking! :tt02:

AllD
07-07-2009, 05:17 PM
Similar circumstances to the 1970s team. Running game powered the O while the D was dominant. Then there was a move towards more O with the "Mel Blount" rule.

Ok, last year's running game is still trying get get up to speed, but substitute trick plays and the Bus for Franco and Rocky. Now we have a modern day Swann & Stallworth and history to be made.

truesteelerfan
07-07-2009, 05:45 PM
That was a sick statistic regarding how often Ben was sacked compared to Manning. Yes its been said often that Ben's style leads to more potential sacks, but 45 to 17 - Yikes! Mostly the same OL (i understand the chemistry is important), but who is the OL Coach.....should Tomlin be looking in that direction? Obviously Tomlin wants to keep his staff in line, cause its working....but its no secret our line can be exploited...Anyone remember last year's Philly game? Blitz, Blitz, Blitz....I was sure every other team we had yet to play was going to watch that game and know how to stop our offense.