Re: Now that the dust is settling,ARE WE better this year?
Here is my take.
QB-Ben is getting older, slower and more banged up. He has been sacked something like 82 times in his last 27 games. Add to the fact that all of our young receivers are deep threat speed guys and Ben is going to need more time to let those guys get open and deliver a good throw.
RB-Mendy is pretty good considering the OL that he has to work with. He is getting better with the fumbling issue but it reared its ugly head at the worst possible time in the SB. Redman is decent too and deserves a few more touches per game.
WR-We now have a receiving corps made up of young, small, speedsters that are primarily deep threats. Hines can still do his work in the slot but he is fading fast and it will be up to the young guys to step up this year. As I said, Ben needs the time to let these guys get open and deliver a good throw. I believe that Wallace can out run nearly everyone if he has the time to do it. We are going to need a good slot receiver to be affective especially in the red zone. I think Ward still has some in the tank but we need more,
TE-Miller is solid as they come with very good hands but I fear that his effectiveness will go way down this year if the O line is shaky. They will need to keep him in in max protect mode to give Ben time to throw and protect him from being wiped out. They have a decent veteran now too that will perform his job well.
O line-This is one of the two glaring problems with the Steelers. It had been for years now and they never seem to do anything about it. This unit must perform solidly this year if the Steeler offense is to have any chance. They need to be able to run block well to get the running game going and they need to be able to pick up blitzes effectively to protect Ben and give him the time to deliver accurate passes.
DL-Still strong on the line but we have to hope that Hood is ready to be a playmaker. Big snack is still a force and Hoke is good too. Keisel is a monster at times as well.
LB-Harrison is probably going to show a decline in his play from his age and back surgeries. Woodley has been a force and I predict another good year from him. Farrior still has some left but he is fading fast. Need to see how Worlids and Sylvester stack up.
DBs-Here is the other glaring problem with this team as evidenced in the SB. Ike is a good CB but he is not world class and has stone hands. McFadden is not good IMO and he got burned badly last year numerous times. Gay looks pretty good sometimes and then looks horrible other times. No consistency. We'll see how Lewis progresses. Troy can look unstoppable at times but he gets more and more injury prone every year. he also tends to guess wrong a lot lately and overpursues the ball carrier. Clark is good at lighting up people across the middle but Chairman Goodell says no no to that anymore. He isn't a very good cover guy.
All in all, the same problems that the Steelers have had for 5-6 years now are still there. The Rooneys refuse to pick up free agents and instead want to build through the draft thus guys like Ashmouga slip through the cracks. We will see how it progresses this year but I predict that teams will still expose the glaring weaknesses.