Recently, the Cleveland Browns’ blog No Logo Needed asked blogger from all 32 NFL teams to write a season preview for their respective teams. I was asked to write the preview for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here is the article that I submitted. I hope that I made Steeler Nation proud.
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (3 years)
2008 regular season record: 12-4 (AFC North Champs)
Key players lost: CB Bryant McFadden, WR Nate Washington, ILB Larry Foote, QB Byron Leftwich, S Anthony Smith.
Despite the losses, the Steelers should actually emerge as a better team than they were in 2008. Byron Leftwich and Anthony Smith were both backups. Bryant McFadden and Larry Foote were both splitting playing time with players of equal or greater talent. Nate Washington was the Steelers’ #3 receiver, so he won’t be as difficult to replace as Hines Ward or Santonio Holmes would have been.
Key players acquired in free agency: CB Keiwan Ratliff, WR Shaun McDonald, RB Stefan Logan.
As usual, the Steelers didn’t really participate in the free agent market. Instead, they let other teams battle for the overpriced free agents, and then pick and choose from the leftovers to find potential contributors at a bargain price.
Top storylines in 2009: Just like in 2008, and 2007, and ….oh nevermind….. the top story in 2009 is the offensive line. The Steelers have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked over 100 times over the past 2 years. They may be the only team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl despite having one of the worst o-lines in the league. Will the offensive line be able to keep Big Ben alive, or will Roethlisberger be carried off the field in a body bag?
Key strengths on offense: Despite being a run-oriented team, the Steelers actually have some of the best passing weapons in the NFL. Big Ben is an elite quarterback. Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes make up a tandem of wide receivers who have both been Super Bowl MVPs. And tight end Heath Miller is one of the best (and most under-utilized) in the NFL.
Key weaknesses on offense: The offensive line. Duh!
Key strengths on defense: Ummmm, the Steelers have had the top defense in the NFL since………forever. They have NOTHING BUT strengths.
Key weaknesses on defense: You’re kidding, right?
Expectations for 2009: The Steelers should be an even better team in 2009 than in 2008. Their defense should be even better with the insertion of LB Lawrence Timmons in place of Larry Foote. Their punting game will be better with the return of Dan Sepulveda. The Steelers’ kickoff and punt return also looks to be heading in a better direction. The strong just got stronger.
Prediction for 2009: Super Bowl champs again. In Pittsburgh, any other result is a disappointment.
So, that’s what I wrote for his blog. Do you Steelers fans agree or disagree?
Also, I read the introduction that Don Delco, the writer for No Logo Needed wrote for my piece. I got a laugh out of the comment that a Cleveland Browns fan yelled to the Browns’ defensive linemen at training camp about beating the Steelers. I suggest that you go to his blog and read it. It is definitely worth seeing how Browns fans feel about us.
Also, if you read the comments that were left about the article, one Browns fan says that Browns fans feel the same way about beating the Steelers as Ohio State fans feel about beating Michigan; even if they have a losing season, beating the Steelers makes all of the other losses acceptable (It’s too bad the Browns haven’t beaten the Steelers since the 60′s….Or maybe it just seems like it’s been that long).
Let’s show this Browns blog the power of Steeler Nation. Let’s go over there and take over his blog the same way that Steelers fans take over opponent’s stadiums. Let’s leave some “Here we go Steelers” comments to let them know that Steeler Nation is in the house.
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