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Old 02-09-2012, 07:43 AM   #1
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Default Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

Are Steelers 'trending downwards'
Thursday, 09 February 2012 00:30
Written by Bob Smizik
In three seasons the Steelers have gone from Super Bowl champion to Super Bowl runnerup to first-round playoff loser.

Itís not an encouraging trend, and one Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com picked up on when he labeled the Steelers as a team that is ``trending downwards.íí

That sounds ominous and a bit unfair but thereís proof to back up his point.

This is no forecast of doom, just a realistic look at the teamís situation. The Steelers Super Bowl window remains open, but it is getting smaller rather than larger.

The Steelers were 12-4 last season, which was tied for the second-best record in the AFC. But hidden behind that record was a team that rarely displayed a championship-caliber of play. The Steelers had one win over an elite team, an impressive victory at home against New England. They beat two other teams with winning records, Cincinnati and Tennessee, both 9-7.

What is particularly troubling about this slow downturn is that the teamís defense, annually its strength, appears to be in decline and there has been only slight indication the offense is ready to do more than it has.

It could have been the realization that the offense must pick up more of the load that prompted owner Art Rooney to fire offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, a move that resulted in the hiring this week of Todd Haley, who will bring a different personality to the job.

The offense had been OK under Arians but with the talent on hand, particularly quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a new voice and a slightly different look might help produce more points.

Haley will not redesign the wheel when he takes over the offense. Anyone looking for major changes will be disappointed. Heíll put in some new wrinkles, as would any new coordinator, but the basic offense will not likely be dramatically altered.

He might utilize a fullback more often and he might not. Those who believe the fullback is the panacea for what ails the Steelers seem to think the position has magical qualities to open gaping holes for running backs. Too many teams with fullbacks give lie to that notion.

Whatís your preference for that 11th offensive player? A fullback or, say, an extra tight end like Aaron Hernandez and what his presence meant to the New England Patriots?

The team needs to score more points. It wasnít happening with Arians despite good yardage numbers and good third-down success.

If the offense does not improve, the defense might not be there to save the season. This isnít to suggest the defense is going to crumble next season. It will still be good. It was good last season -- first, statistically -- but despite that ranking no one was calling it the best defense in the league.

It will be a year older, and that applies specifically to Brett Keisel, who will be 34, Casey Hampton, who will be 35, James Harrison, who will be 34, Troy Polamalu, who will be 31, and Ryan Clark, who will be 33. James Farrior,37, is almost certain not to be back, but his likely replacement is Larry Foote, who will be 32.

The ingredients for a better offense appear to be there. Theyíll have to be if the Steelers want to continue their remarkable level of success.
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

I've been saying this for the last 2 years that we are asking for trouble by not replacing older players. In the past we cut ties with players with 1 or 2 fair to average years left, now we ride them to the end.

Fortunately we have a franchise QB that Makes us competitive on a yearly basis even if the roster is not as strong as normal.
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." - Vince Lombardi
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

Trending downward?
you can't win the SB every year. GB showed how hard it is to repeat this year. They appeared to be the best team all season only to get bumped in their first playoff game. Are they trending downward? They'll be right back in the mix just like the Steelers will. I'm not predicting a SB, but we'll be on the short list of teams with a legit shot to get there again.
Most of our issues had to do with late season injuries. If not for those key injuries, I wouldn't have been surprised if we had crushed Denver, then gone to NE and taken care of them, and then gone to Baltimore with a 50/50 shot of going to the SB again.
Sometimes you need a little luck and health to win it all. I'll take 12-4 every year.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

It's the same old story. The Steelers are left for dead and supposed to fall into irrelevance. People have been proclaiming their death for years now, and it's never happened.

What this article didn't touch upon was the emergence of several stars in 2011 like Antonio Brown as well as the improvement of Willie Gay, Keenan Lewis, and Cortez Allen. The Steelers Secondary turned into a strength overnight. Arians is gone and we've already cut some dead weight. The future is already here.

The Steelers aren't going to win the Super Bowl every year, but they'll always be there as long as they keep Ben healthy and upright.

Last edited by Edman; 02-09-2012 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

Can't win the big game every year. The band wagoner's will hop on to the Super Bowl winner's wagon and every year that team will be at the top. I'm sure the Giants will be the team with the most fan's by March, and then sixth place if they don't win next year.

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Old 02-09-2012, 09:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

Downward? Window of opportunity closing? Tell that to Mr. Roethlisberger, Pouncey, Gilbert, Wallace, Sanders, Brown, Lewis, Woodley, Timmons, Butler, Heyward, Hood, McClendon, Miller, Redman and Mendenhall. The young studs that have big-time playing experience.

Personally, I feel we're going to get better and our window is going to remain in tact for quite some time.
"I believe the game is designed to reward the one's who hit the hardest. If you can't take it, you shouldn't play!" -Jack Lambert
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

LOL what an ass...

GETTING TO THE SUPERBOWL IS HARD. Winning it is even harder. Just ask Green Bay who had a great season coming off winning the SB but didn't repeat. The Steelers went 12-4 this year and were one game away from being the #1 seed. They were smashed by injuries all year long especially a key area (the offensive line). They went into the playoffs without a lot of players and lost 2 key defensive linemen in the first quarter of the game.

You cannot win every year. There is PARITY in the NFL because of the salary cap (God Bless it). Teams have to fight and struggle every year to make it to the playoffs. The Steelers do a damn good job getting to the second season every year and that means they have a chance.

As a fan that is all you can ask for that your team consistently makes it to the playoffs and has a chance. We have that the Steelers are one of the finest organizations in professional sports today.

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Old 02-09-2012, 10:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

I dont get the concept of the title to this article. Isnt it in every teams plan to have high expectations going into the next season. Trending downwards?...C'mon it almost seems as if someones expecting it to go that way.....I dont know how some feel about this, but i for one look forward to the beginning of every season with an outlook of changes, improvements and new faces.....

Might as well dress em in skirts!
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

Originally Posted by stb_steeler View Post
I dont get the concept of the title to this article. Isnt it in every teams plan to have high expectations going into the next season.
Never heard of the Browns?
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: Are Steelers 'trending downwards'

Honestly, I thought this year would be more disappointing given our past of struggling after Super Bowl appearances. I think injuries really killed this team this year. No excuse for the loss in Denver but a healthy Ben, Pouncey, Woodley, Clark able to play in Denver, etc wins that game. We were 12-4 not 9-7. The team needs work but it's not like 2009 when we were blowing late leads.
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