Pittsburgh Steelers: Biggest Weakness Heading into 2012 Season
Year in and year out, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the NFL's most stable and stalwart franchises. The fans can always count on the Steelers to be in contention for the Lombardi Trophy each year, and they practically demand it.
The Steelers, however, are not a perfect team by any standard. It's true that they have one of the best defenses in football, headed by the mastermind himself, Dick LeBeau.
It's true that they currently have two young, Pro-Bowl caliber receivers in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown.
And it's also true that they probably have a Hall-of-Fame quarterback—and one of the toughest guys to ever play the position—in Ben Roethlisberger.
The team is strong across the board, except where it might matter the most: the offensive line.
For years, Pittsburgh has had a lackluster line but has made up for it with aggressive defense and a quarterback who makes magic happen when the pocket crumbles.
But in recent years, the pocket hasn't just crumbled—it's downright disintegrated. The offensive line has been a patchwork piece since Alan Faneca and Jeff Hartings left and hasn't recovered since. If the season started today, it might be in contention for one of the five worst in the league.
Here's a quick breakdown of the starters if the season started today:
- Maurkice Pouncey - Pouncey is the starting center and the best the line has to offer. He made the Pro Bowl the last two years (though he probably didn't earn it last year) and has shown signs of being one of the best around. His only drawback is that he hasn't put together a full season yet due to injury.
- Marcus Gilbert - Gilbert is a second-year tackle out of Florida who showed very promising signs during his rookie year. He played the year at right tackle, but it was announced that he'll be moved to left tackle for the season. The jury is out on how he'll do, but fans are hopeful.
- Doug Legursky - Legursky is the backup center, and as it projects now, one of the starting guards. He played well in relief of Pouncey during injuries last year, but hopefully he won't have to play center again.
- Ramon Foster - Foster has done alright during his tenure with the Steelers. He is young, but has done well with run-blocking. He is the other guard for the team.
- Willie Colon - Colon will be trying to return from two consecutive seasons that ended with knee injuries. He will now return to play right tackle now that Gilbert has moved over.
Outside of Jonathan Scott—who has been a colossal disappointment—and Max Starks, who has not yet been brought back by the team and who is also coming off an injury, the team lacks any kind of depth. The upcoming draft will be very important for Pittsburgh because it needs a quality starter at either guard position or right tackle, and could use depth across the board.
For a team with so many strengths, this weakness is the most glaring and really should have been attended to years ago. If the team wants to win another Super Bowl and keep Ben Roethlisberger off the ground, the line must be dealt with.
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