10 Things That Need to Happen for the Steelers to Make the Playoffs in 2010
Last season, the Steelers were embarrassed by losing to the Bengals, Chiefs, Raiders, Ravens, and Browns in five straight weeks. It was the worse I have seen the Pittsburgh Steelers play since the 90s.
Mike Tomlin was correct when he said,"We will not go down gently". The Steelers didn't. They came back the next three weeks and showed why they SHOULD be a playoff team.
I would call last season a success. The Steelers finished with a winning record of 9-7. They also found out what they could improve and what they need to do to make themselves a better ball team and how to make the playoffs next season.
10. Defensive line must stay healthy
Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost their defensive end, Aaron Smith. This caused the defense to be off the rest of the season. The Steelers' defense reminded me a lot of the San Diego Chargers' defense. They had great talent but missing one piece to the puzzle.
In the Chargers' case, they have been lacking a good N-tackle for a long time. The Steelers' last season were missing a great D-end. I think the same thing will happen if Casey Hampton or another D-Lineman gets hurt.
9. Recievers Hines Ward & Santonio Holmes need to play at their level
Last season, Hines Ward played all 16 games. He had 1,000 yards for the second straight season. He also had 85 receptions for 1,167 yards. He managed to get in the end zone on an 85 yard reception to set his long for 2009, which was the longest it has been in three years.
Last season, Santonio didn't have one fumble. Impressive right? He also led the team with 79 receptions for 1,259 yards. He had five TDs, and his longest was 57.
If both of these players can miantain around 80 receptions for the next couple of seasons, this team should make the playoffs consistently.
I even believe they could win a Super Bowl in the next couple of seasons.
8. Offense needs to score 24 points a game
If the Steelers want to be in the playoffs, they must perform as they did last season.
Last season, I believe it was the offense that kept them in the games rather then the defense in past years. In the games the Steelers won, with exception to the Tennessee Titans game, the Steelers scored 23 or more points.
They only averaged 16.5 in games that they lost.
7. The running game must be more effective
The Steelers running game was weak. I was expecting the Steelers to be just as effective as they were the year before. Instead, Willie Parker was playing extremely unhealthy and Rashard only had seven TD's. These stats need to change in order to be a Super Bowl contender.
6. The offensive line needs to protect Big Ben
In previous seasons, protecting Ben Roethlisberger has been a problem.
I have even expected the Steelers to trade up in the NFL Draft and get a decent lineman, but each season they picked a Rashard Mendenhall or Limas Sweed.
Although those picks worked out, I still believe that they needed to fulfil a much deeper need at offensive lineman.
Last season, the Steelers gave up 50 sacks, and Big Ben got hit 77 times. If the offensive line will improve, you might as well crown the Steelers Super Bowl champions.
5. Rookie sensation Mike Wallace must have a breakout season
Mike Wallace was a HUGE part of the Steelers' offense.
Mike only had 39 receptions, but had 756 yards and an average of 19.4 and six TD's. One of those touchdowns was the 19 yard catch as time expired to win the game.
To make a bigger impact on the Steelers' offense, Mike needs at least 50 catches next year. If Mike has 50 catches matures, the Steelers will make a run in the playoffs.
4. The defense has to give up less than 20 points a game
The offense looked really good, but the defense was still a top 10, but not where they needed to be. If the defense is at the top of their game, it is definitely possible for Art Rooney to receive a seventh Super Bowl ring.
3.Healthy linebackers are a must
The Steelers have the best linebackers in the league by far.
Their starting linebackers in the 3-4 defense are Lamar Woodley, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, and James Harrison.
Last season, two OLBs both made the pro bowl. All four linebackers must stay healthy because there isn't a lot of experience at linebacker beyond these four.
You NEED a lot of experience at linebacker to run the 3-4. Without these guys, offenses would eat up the 3-4 defense.
2. Ben Rothlisberger must play all 16 games
In Ben's career he is 60-26 as a starter.
Last season he was 9-6 and had a passer rating over 100 for the second time in his short career. Without Ben, the Steelers are 4-4 in his career, not nearly as good as they are with Ben.
1. Troy Polomalu must stay in the lineup
In five games last season, Troy Polomalu had three interceptions. With Troy in the lineup, the Steelers play much better.
Getting injured has been problem for this great SS, his whole career. But with Troy in the lineup last season the Steelers were 4-1; without Troy they were 5-8.