Both Scenarios - Making and Missing the Playoffs
Let me preface this by saying I don't think our season is over and I do think we're going to win out and make the playoffs. Unfortunately this isn't the popular opinion on this site which I think is a pessimistic view on things. If we win out and go to the playoffs, this season will almost have a 2005 feel to it. But, say that doesn't happen ..
We Make the Playoffs
Let's go with the obvious one here - we're in 'the tournament'. If we're in, we always have a chance to win and I don't care who we're playing. If we sneak in at 6, we'd be the underdog against teams that have a positive record. Whenever that happens, it's almost a certain win for this team. There would be no playing-down-to-the-competition, it would be bringing the best out of this team. I honestly think that if we squeak in at 6, the only team that would even slow us down would be the Patriots. I sincerely hope we go into Houston and show them what a real defense looks like, but maybe that's just me dreaming.
If we're in the playoffs, we are going to be in the conversation for the AFC crown. Here's the thing, though. We'd either have to go into Denver and beat the Broncos or head into Foxboro and beat the Patriots. Pick your poison but personally, I'd rather head into Denver. Knowshon Moreno doesn't strike fear into my heart, and I'm sure Ike wants to make up for his mistakes against Thomas.
Putting it simply, if we get in the playoffs and our defense decides to show up and play football, we can win this thing. We just need to settle down and get in first, though.
We Lose and Miss the Playoffs
So this is the shittier of the two versions of what could happen, but it needs to be addressed none-the-less. So, say we lose and miss the playoffs - what happens? Well, we'd be in a great position to draft for this team and I'm not just talking about the first round. Assuming we go 8-8 or 7-9, we're picking anywhere between 15 - 19. In this range, we're in the Dion Jordan sweepstakes. This kid combined with Woodley would instantaneously improve our pass rush significantly. On top of that, we're in good shape to draft in the later rounds and find talent midway through the second round. I can't stress that point enough, picking midway through the second round and having someone like TJ McDonald still on the board would be huge for this team. We could, essentially, reload this defense in one draft with the amount of defensive talent it holds. However, this can only happen if we miss the playoffs and have picks in the middle of rounds - missing doesn't sound so bad now, does it?
The other scenario is we go 8-8 or 7-9 and that brings change. With all the talk of Haley going to Arizona and coaches being fired, it would give Pittsburgh a very, very good crop of coaches to pick from in terms of coordinators. Say Haley does go off to Arizona, guys like Norv Turner would be there and interested in coaching for a perennial playoff and title contending team with a franchise quarterback.
If LeBeau goes, there would be talk of bringing in a new defensive coordinator as well which could bring this team the changes and facelift it so desperately needs. Physical, attacking corners and using Timmons effectively comes to mind immediately - we need to find someone that uses that scheme. Raheem Morris, anyone? He's a genius with corners and understands talent and recognizes weaknesses. He can't be a head coach to save his life, but by god can he coach defenses.
Finishing in third place would also guarantee a third place schedule. I want you to go and look at who the Bengals played this year and compare that to us - I'd love to have that kind of schedule for next year when we have our reloaded defense and (possibly) a new coordinator that will recognize the talent we have at WR and uses it. If the Steelers reload and refocus for next year playing a third place schedule, you're looking at another 12 - 4, 13 -3 team again. I won't complain about that.
Last edited by SteelersCanada; 12-18-2012 at 08:23 PM.