Pittsburgh Steelers Poised to Take a Step Back in 2012?
Apparently the 2012 season is not an exception to this rule.
Sports Illustrated is the first culprit this year. In the offseason breakdown for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the conclusion of the article states that "If there was a year when Pittsburgh might take a step back, though, it would be this one."
We've all heard that before.
Now, the SI article backs up its points of course, but they can all disputed. The first major point is that there could be a lack of leadership. Pittsburgh lost a plethora of veteran locker room presences to be sure, but guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu are still around.
It is a moot point to bring up leadership, even with the team having lost so much. Others will undoubtedly pick up the slack, and the veterans lost were not producing on the field anymore. Their replacements will.
The second point SI brings up is the Rashard Mendenhall absence and whether or not Isaac Redman can handle the load effectively. The issue with this is that Redman will get the bulk of the carries, but running back happens to be one of the deepest positions on the team.
Look at the Steelers roster behind Redman and you will find Chris Rainey, Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay and Baron Batch. The committee forming will be more than enough to make up for Mendenhall's absence, even if he happens to miss the entire year. Not to mention that the Steelers are likely going to follow the league-wide trend of a pass-first offense in 2012.
Finally, the rookies come into question, which is a very astute point. Rookies are unpredictable, but they will most assuredly not make or break the Steelers in 2012.
Along the offensive line, first-round selection David DeCastro and second-rounder Mike Adams will be under the most scrutiny. However, even if they were to be a complete flop next season, they cannot be worse than what Roethlisberger has had to put up with in the past—and succeeded.
Rookies are always a wild card, but the Steelers had one of the best drafts out of any team. It may not translate into production on the field this year, but it does not necessarily have to for the team to have a successful campaign.
As the SI article wisely points out, there is still a lot of talent on the Steelers roster and they could be a threat if they reach the postseason.
Once again, the Steelers are the offseason favorite to fall off without training camp having even started. If my memory serves correctly, it was just two seasons ago in 2010 when Roethlisberger was suspended for four games and the team still managed to go 12-4 on the way to the Super Bowl.
Roethlisberger is still around, and the team is not too old to compete. If 2012 is a step back year for the Steelers like every other year, then things will be just fine in Pittsburgh.
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