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Old 02-10-2009, 06:01 PM   #1
A Son of Martha

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Default ProFootball Weekly Season-in-review team reports


Overview: On the strength of the NFL’s top defense and an offense that usually did just enough to win, the Steelers won a record sixth Super Bowl title, defeating Arizona 27-23. Like the “Steel Curtain” defenses of the 1970s, this Steelers’ “D” was laden with star talent, led by SS Troy Polamalu and ROLB James Harrison, among others. The defense had no glaring weakness and was exceptional at limiting big plays. The offense was maddening to watch at times but found its best stride late and was the difference in Super Bowl XLIII.

Team MVP: The nod goes to Harrison, who notched 101 tackles and 16 sacks. Harrison is strong and quick off the edge, and he understands how to use leverage to his advantage. He is also stout vs. the run, as evidenced by his tackle total. When you consider how well he played this season and factor in LOLB LaMarr Woodley’s exceptional first season as a starter, it’s easy to see why the Steelers’ pass rush would be ferocious even without coordinator Dick LeBeau’s zone blitzes.

Biggest surprise: The Steelers signed RB Mewelde Moore to help in passing situations and on special teams, but with Willie Parker playing hurt for much of the season and rookie Rashard Mendenhall on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, Moore got more playing time on offense than anyone could have expected. And he responded well, proving a surprisingly effective between-the-tackles runner. His emergence may have saved the Steelers’ season.

Biggest disappointment: The offensive line played better as the season progressed, but it allowed Roethlisberger to be pressured far too often and failed to open the holes in the running game that it once did. Don’t be surprised if this is a group that gets some new faces, whether it be through free agency or the draft.

Offseason outlook: The Steelers are rarely big players in free agency, but they do have some decisions to make regarding their own unrestricted free agents. CB Bryant McFadden could draw significant interest on the open market, and keeping WR Nate Washington could be tough if another team can promise him a starting job. Adding some youth to the defense, especially along the line, could be a focus in the draft.
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