Re: How talented are the Steelers?
The Steelers have a lot of talent, which is better than having extreme talent at a few positions. Teams like the Steelers stay competitive because of their chemistry mentality. Its not about obtaining a few big name guys. Its all about bringing together guys that work as a unit. Losing guys who make that bond stronger is always a bummer, but having depth and good character keep that unit together.
As long as they make efforts to keep the strong bonds around, they will continue to stay in the playoff chase. They dished out money to Aaron Smith and Troy will get his payday, Casey is another guy who they need to put on the top of the priority list. Hines Ward is one of those guys. Even if production slumps, he is still a CRUCIAL member of this team. Hines Ward is so good because he is valuable in the run game. 2005 showed a slump in production and 2006 can EASILY be racked up to the fact that the entire offense broke down. Despite the lower numbers in 2005, it was enough to win the big one. He was huge when it mattered (the Super Bowl) and provided a strong backbone in the run game during the season.
Can Hines play in the 2nd or 3rd role and be satisfied? Depends. As much as I don't want to believe it I think he would only be alright with that as long as we are winning. Ultimately, Hines Ward fits this team. He always has. He was a special teamer early on and worked to earn his position as number one. I don't think he would be as valuable to other teams as he thinks he would be. He has great hands, true, but he depends on fundamentals and handling EVERY duty at WR. That's what this team needs. Not someone like Randy Moss. I hope he stays, but it will be interesting once the coaches start shuffling him around.
Mad props to Steel-Bryan for the Bucco sig.