Steelers Getting Ready For the Off-Season: What Needs To Be Improved?

DeAnte MitchellCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2010

MIAMI - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks toward the scoreboard after the Miami Dolphins pull to within three points in the fourth quarter at Land Shark Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Steelers defeated the Dolphins 30-24.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers missed the post-season once again after winning the Superbowl in the previous season.

No surprise, when a team doesn’t make the play-offs, there is always the “they should of done this, or done that.” No different here, the Steelers need to make some improvements during the off-season.

1. Add another dimension to the offense

Yes, I know many may wonder why you want to mess with the offense with its previous success. However if we continue with the pass first style of play the Steelers are going to be in trouble. Steelers should either utilize Dennis Dixon by using him in the wildcat offense or come up with more trick plays to keep the defense guessing.

2. Stack the secondary

This season the Steelers secondary gave up tons of passing yards to opposing quarterbacks. Many can say it was due to Troy Polamalu being injured 11 games, but the Steelers I know are known for their depth. When a player gets injured, usually another player steps in and fills those needs. However I understand those might be huge shoes to fill, I still think Steelers should prepare themselves for those kinds of injures by stacking their secondary for those kinds of situations.

3. Utilize Fast Willie Parker in the offense

Willie goes down with an injury and gets his spot took. After that, Willie was not used in the offense much except for a reliever when Mendenhall gets tired. Let’s not forget, this is the running back that has the longest run in Superbowl history, two 200+ yard games, and longest rush in Steelers history, 2006 Steelers MVP, and most rushing yards in a single game in Steelers History. In addition, he runs a 4.2 forty yard dash. Talk about what he could do if he gets the ball in open space; perhaps a screen, direct snap, or even a draw. However, his contract is expired when the off-season comes.

4. Special Teams

During the season, the Steelers allowed 8 straight returns either on defense, or special teams. If some of these Special Teams plays don’t happen Steelers come up in the win Column. Tighten up the special teams by adding some sure tacklers; no need to go out and sign players when you have players you can develop. In addition, you can spark the return game by adding a dangerous return man. Perhaps adding Mike Wallace the speedy receiver back to receive kick-offs or Santonio Holmes to go with Logan, anything to help the Steelers field position.

5. Create Turnovers

This year the Steelers defense didn’t play very well at all; missing key players Aaron Smith, and Troy Polamalu. The Steelers were -3 in turnover ratio, first time they’ve done that since there Superbowl hanger over in 06’. Late in games instead of playing the physical defense that the Steelers are known for, they let opposing offenses drive down the field late in games and win. In 8 of 9 Steelers wins the defense had at least one turnover.

With a healthy Steelers team, next season looks to be bright. If Tomlin corrects mistakes, develops the right players, and get good draft choices the Steelers will return back to grace. However if the Steelers defense still plays the way it does, and we turn one-dimensional with a pass mentality we’ll be off to a losing season. There are a lot of notable free-agents needing to be re-signed to, so it looks to be a busy off-season for the Steelers.

Currently the Steelers have the 18th pick in the first round, and should attack either offensive line or cornerback with this pick.