June 7, 2009
By Donald Starver
This is part 4 of our AFC North review. On Thursday, Joe Barnes from the Baltimore Ravens blog The Ebony Bird started things off with a review of the Baltimore Ravens’ off-season. On Friday, Adam Kiefaber from the Cincinnati Bengals Blog Bengal Stripes gave us his review of the Bengals’ off-season. On Saturday, Don Delco from the Cleveland Browns blog No Logo Needed shared his perspective on the Browns’ off-season moves. Now it’s my turn to share my views on the Steelers’ off-season thus far.
AFC North Offseason Review: Pittsburgh Steelers
Best free agent signing and impact:
Biggest Loss and Impact:
What is your reaction to the Steelers’ draft? I really like the players the Steelers selected. Ziggy Hood adds much needed youth to the Steelers defensive line. Kraig Urbik should be able to win a starting position at right guard by mid-season. Mike Wallace has amazing speed, and is a star receiver of the future. Keenan Lewis should see some playing time if he can learn the playbook. Frank Summers is the short yardage back that the Steelers have lacked since Jerome Bettis retired. And getting a center in the 7th round who won the Rimington Trophy in 2008 was the icing on the cake. The Steelers addressed most of their needs, got much stronger in their return game, and added pieces for the future. Overall, an excellent draft.
What storylines will you follow in camp? 1) Will the sophomores finally make an impact. Rashard Mendenhall, Limas Sweed, Tony Hills, and Bruce Davis need to make their presence felt this year. They were all MIA last year, and that will have to change if they want to hold onto their roster spots. 2) How is Lawrence Timmons adjusting to being a starter? I think he’ll do fine, but I’d like to see it on the field. 3) Can the Steelers’ offensive line finally figure out how to keep QB Ben Roethlisberger off his back? Let’s face it. Big Ben gets sacked way too often. If he is going to last in this league, he is going to have to get better protection. 4) Can Joe Burnett and Mike Wallace make an impact on the return game? The Steelers didn’t have many weak spots last year. Their return game was one of the few.
So, that is my review of the Steelers’ off-season so far. I really like what they’ve done. I don’t think we’re going to miss any of the players who left, and I think the rookies are going to be solid. We won the Super Bowl last year, despite having the toughest schedule in the NFL. The road to the Super Bowl will be much easier this time around.
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