Re: Steelers running out of time to join NFL's elite
While the defense is indeed aging, we still have a lot of young players...Woodley, Timmons, and Hood of course, but I think we can count on Troy, Ryan Clark, and maybe even James Harrison for a bit longer than some of the other guys (I say Harrison because he got a late start and his body may be a bit "younger" in football years than his birth certificate indicates). On top of that I have faith Jason Worilds will pan out and be a more than serviceable replacement for Harrison when he's gone, we will (hopefully) get a good CB or two in the next few drafts, and I think even without a superstar MLB to replace Farrior our LB corps will still be superior to most if not all of the league and I think we could make due with Foote, Fox, or Sylvester at ILB if we had too. We still need another NT, DE, and CB before I would say we're "set" beyond 2 years but as far as I'm concerned this defense could still be "elite" for another decade, maybe not as good as it is currently or in 2008 but good enough to keep making playoff runs.
On the other hand, the offense (sans Oline) is good for like the next decade, even with Hines gone (we will miss his blocking but the new wideouts are showing promise in the blocking game and aside from that and "leadership" Hines doesn't mean much to the offense anymore as far as receiving goes).