It was not the ending they hoped for. 2009 saw the Steelers ending the season ranked third in the AFC North after becoming Superbowl Champs just a year ago.
It is hard to fathom that Troy Polamalu had that much impact in the defensive secondary, but it was apparent how lacking the Steeler's defensive secondary was. Not to mention, the defensive team is getting older. As stated on Steelers.com, James Farrior (entering his 14th season) says "You lose a step every year. I feel like every year is going to be different. You can’t get faster every year, eventually you’re going to slow down. I definitely think that my age is getting up there and I might’ve lost a step, but I think my mental part of the game helps me keep up pace. I think that’s what it is for a lot of older guys, if you’ve got the mental capacity, and you’re able to be smarter than the other guy, it keeps you on the same pace.”
However, if the Steelers want to be a Championship team they are going to have to draft younger replacments as well as trade for some top performer in key positions.
In watching the Steelers this year, one of the first things I would do if I were coach, would be to get rid of William Gay. He has single-handedly led to 4th quarter comebacks by opponents. The Steelers can't put the burden on one man such as Troy Polamalu.
Whatever changes do occur, the hope is they are positive ones that get the Steelers back into the playoffs next season.
“I hope things change for the better,” said wide receiver Santonio Holmes. “I’m not a guy that works in the front office. I don’t know who needs to be here and who doesn’t. All I can do is know I’ve got to go this offseason and get better, come back healthy, ready to play another 16 games.”
Here's wishing for a better 2010.