Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Return to Smash Mouth Football in 2010
With so many people quick to dismiss the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, many wonder how Steelers fans refuse to accept what other team's fans believe is inevitable.
Some call it blind faith. Others call it refusal to accept reality.
Steelers Nation knows better, though.
The Steelers know that the reason they have faith is the same reason that they refuse to accept what they don't believe to be true.
The Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 season is NOT over before it begins.
The Steelers will be successful in 2010, for the same reason that they were so successful for MOST of the last 40 years.
They will win with defense.
And they will do so with the help of the power running game that WILL return to Pittsburgh.
Here is why I believe that the Steelers will return to power football in 2010.
Art Rooney II
When people think of the Steelers dynasty of the 70s, they think of the smash mouth defense and the punishing running combination of Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier.
The Rooneys never really wanted to stray away from that type of team, but the Steelers HAVE to play to their strength.
With Ben Roethlisberger out, the Steelers offensive strength will have to be the running game.
Knowing how great of a quarterback the Steelers have, the Rooneys would like to lengthen the duration of Roethlisberger's career.
The Rooneys are not pushy like the Dan Snyders and Jerry Joneses of the NFL, where they TELL the coaches how to coach.
But when Art Rooney tells the team that he would like to see a commitment to the run game, you can be certain that it is not going to fall on deaf ears.
With the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers are going to need to be hitting on all cylinders in their first four games in order to have a good start to the season.
With the Rooneys asking the coaching staff to re-commit to the run, you can be certain that it is going to happen at the beginning of the season.
If the Steelers are to show in those first four weeks that they are able to run the ball, especially with the defenses stacking the line to prevent the run, what will happen when Roethlisberger returns from suspension?
The Steelers will be a double threat.
The Steelers 2010 starting defense is the same unit that won the 2008 Super Bowl.
It is the same starting defense that was rated No. 1 against the pass, No. 2 against the run, and No.1 overall.
Yes, they are older than they were two years ago. However, most of those players are still young enough to be effective.
The only area where age is a concern is the defensive line.
Part of the offense's responsibility is to keep the defense off the field as much as possible. To do that, they will need to be successful at running the ball.
For all the people that are down on the Steelers offensive line, everyone wants to put all the blame on the players.
In writing the article on what EA Sports has rated the Steelers offensive line, EA Sports believes that the Steelers will be better at run blocking than pass blocking.
Max Starks—run blocking—94, pass blocking—87.
Chris Kemoeatu—run blocking—88, pass blocking—78.
Maurkice Pouncey—run blocking—85, pass blocking—84.
Three of the five starters for the Steelers are better at run blocking than pass blocking.
If that holds true, the Steelers' run game should be improved.
When the Steelers traded Santonio Holmes away, many people believed that they were going to HAVE to commit to the run.
Though Holmes was traded away, the Steelers will still have confidence in throwing the ball.
If the Steelers running game can be successful, then the passing game will be even that much better.
Though Heath Miller has become one of the best tight ends in the NFL, he is still great at blocking.
If you look at the rest of the depth chart behind Miller, none of them are going to strike fear in the hearts of secondary coaches with their ability to catch the ball.
Matt Spaeth, Sean McHugh, and David Johnson, are all better suited to block than to catch passes.
With three tight ends (at least two will make the roster) that are better at blocking than catching, it would be an advantage for the Steelers in the run game.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Rashard Mendenhall two years ago, they were not believed to be looking for a running back at that time.
They passed on Chris Johnson, who was selected by the Tennessee Titans.
The Steelers had Mendenhall rated as one of their top players, and when he fell into the Steelers' lap with the 23rd pick, they had to take him.
At 5'10", 225 lbs, Mendenhall is not the type of player that is going to avoid contact, at least not anymore.
The 2009 season showed Mendenhall has become the prototypical running back. He has learned to put his shoulder down and run people over.
Sure, he can still out run a lot of players, but when he gets to the secondary, he can plow them over as well.
In the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected Jonathan Dwyer out of Georgia Tech.
Dwyer was not in a conventional system in college, and many teams thought he has too much wear and tear on him to be a success in the NFL.
Teams thought that because he is not one to shy away from contact.
Dwyer is a player that many writers believe will be similar to a Jerome Bettis.
Not size wise, but in short yardage, he will put his shoulder down and push the pile.
The Pittsburgh Steelers commitment to the run will be paramount to their success in the first quarter of the season, while Ben Roethlisberger is suspended.
It will also be imperative to the longevity of Ben Roethlisberger's career.
The less he gets hit, the less likely he will be injured, andthe longer his career will be.
If the Steelers' commitment to the run is successful, the sky is the limit for the 2010 Steelers!