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NFL Preseason 2010: Pittsburgh Steelers Still Have Work to Do

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NFL Preseason 2010: Pittsburgh Steelers Still Have Work to Do
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The big question surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers is who will be under center for the first four games. While this is a legitimate question, I don’t feel that it is the most important.

The Steelers made the right move by trading for Byron Leftwich, and he is a very capable backup. I would say he is one of the top backups in the whole league.

Leftwich has 10,218 yards passing, 58 touchdowns, and 41 interceptions in his career. You couple that with the fact that he has starting experience, and you have a good quarterback for four games.

As far as Dennis Dixon, he should not be the starter. He has played in two games and has 148 yards passing, one touchdown, and one interception.

He shouldn’t be anywhere near the field as a starter. It is that plain and simple.

The big problems are on the offensive line and in the secondary. The offensive line is in a big pickle if anyone goes down.

They already lost starting right tackle Willie Colon for the year when he went down with an Achilles tear.

They got a great replacement in 6’7”, 338-pound 12-year veteran Flozell Adams. Word out of training camp is he was having a hard time adjusting to right tackle but has since found his footing and is play well.

The starting five linemen are solid players if nothing else and should be on the same page for the most part. Four of the five are returning from last year; Adams is the only new edition.

Once Adams gets through camp and gets some preseason snaps under his belt, the line should mesh very well going into the opener.

The line was not very good last year and Leftwich is far less mobile then Big Ben, so this line coming back intact may not be a blessing after all.

The big problem will come if any of the linemen go down with an injury that will make them miss significant time.

Tony Hills was a fourth round pick in the 2008 draft and currently is the backup left tackle. Ramon Foster is an undrafted guard who played in three games last year (starting two of them) for the Steelers.

Jonathan Scott is a fifth round pick from the 2006 draft and is the backup right tackle. He has been cut from the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills.

Doug Legursky is another undrafted player who is listed as the backup center. He played at Marshall and has been cut from the Steelers multiple times.

The only real lineman not starting that has potential is Maurkice Pouncey. Luckily for the Steelers he can play either guard spot or center.

When you look at the other side of the ball, the defensive backs are in a similar position. They have lost a corner, Deshea Townsend, to free agency but are coming back mainly intact.

They weren’t very good last year, so you can take them all being back as a plus or a minus. The return of Troy Polamalu and Bryant McFadden will be two major additions.

McFadden struggled in Arizona, but I wouldn’t read much into that because he fits perfectly in the Steelers defense.

He isn’t a ball hawk though, and that is what the Steelers need badly in the secondary. The corners infamously only intercepted two passes in 2009.

That will again be a problem, as the corners are going to be the same with the re-addition of McFadden. Joe Burnett played in 15 games last year but will have a much bigger role this year.

The Steelers have a lot of work to do but not as much as some people think. If the line meshes and the defensive backs return to their 2008 form, the Steelers could be in for a good year.

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