The beginning and the end of the 2011 NFL season were disastrous for the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, crunched in-between was a Steelers team we'd come to know the last five years or so: Tough on defense and high-flying on offense, led by their perennially underrated quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
In the video above, Bleacher Report's own Dan Levy, Josh Zerkle, Matt Miller and your humble blogger take a look at what we think are the best and worst possible scenarios for the Steel Curtain heading into the 2012 season.
For my part, I think the one glaring issue facing this team is the chemistry (or lack thereof?) between Roethlisberger and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley. The departed Bruce Arians may have worn out his welcome, but you can't argue that he and Big Ben were on the same page when it came to what they were trying to do on the offensive side of the ball.
For my part, I see an offense that can score points in bunches, mostly because they appear to have finally upgraded an offensive line that was the Achilles heel of this unit for so long.
On defense, much is made of their collapse in Denver in the playoffs, but I'm of the opinion the Steelers win that game if Roethlisberger does not have a gimpy ankle and if Ryan Clark is allowed to play. (I don't for a second blame Mike Tomlin for holding Clark out.) The defense, led by the apparently timeless Dick LeBeau, should be fine heading into 2012.
You'll see above that most of our panel is on board with another strong Steelers team (Matt Miller being the lone real dissenter). Let us know in the comments section where you agree and/or disagree or if we've missed the boat completely.