With the historic 2008 season behind them,the Super Bowl Champion Steelers are being challenged by head coach Mike Tomlin to try and reach the ceiling in terms of capabilities, potential, and expectations.
The much maligned offensive line will be an area of much criticism and scrutiny, as many of the cynics say the Steelers won the Super Bowl in spite of the O-line. Coach Tomlin has stated quarterback Big Ben Roethlisberger can only get better because as he says Ben is always "reaching for the ceiling."
The draft was very good for the Steelers and will only make the receivers corps improve.
Mike Wallace, from Ole Miss, is expected to compete with Limas Sweed for the No. 3 spot at wide receiver. First round pick Evander "Ziggy" Hood could be a pleasant surprise at defensive end and could exceed expectations given his attitude and performance at the combines. Big Frank "The Tank" Summers, from UNLV, might prove to be just what the Steelers have been lacking in short yardage situations.
Currently he's not listed as a fullback per se, but he definitely packs a load and is a bruising, punishing runner who runs through defenders and has the speed to run around them. Any running back in a Steelers uniform who has the size and ability is always gonna be compared to The Bus. I think a tank will suffice in lieu of a bus.
The cynics of course will always be just that in spite of the success of the Steelers in '08. I'm sure they would tell Superman that ,"you may be faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, more powerful than a locomotive, but I bet your backside can't stand a lil' kryptonte." That's what the cynics meant when the '08 Steelers were 10-3 after a very impressive come-from-behind victory against a pretty good Dallas team.
They had the No. 1 overall defense in the league and a young quarterback who was on the verge of becoming the winningest quarterback in NFL history in his first five seasons. The offensive line was catching h-e-double hockey sticks from the local and national media but all they were doing was "just winning, baby."
The 2009 Steelers have much room for improvement, but with Coach Tomlin's one game at a time approach, the Steelers should be the odd on favorites to repeat. Coach Tomlin's staff as well as his players have bought into his professionalism and positive attitude. Look for the Steelers to play well into January and possibly early February.