NFL Team Previews: Pittsburgh Steelers

Pigskin HeavenCorrespondent ISeptember 10, 2009

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 29:  Linebacker James Farrior #51 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown after making a interception in the second quarter during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field on August 29, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Pigskin Heaven's Sascha Bartels is breaking down every single team in the NFL prior to the season. Here is his analysis and forecast for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Click on a team to read its preview.

AFC East: BUF | MIA | NE | NYJ

AFC North: BAL | CIN | CLE | PIT

AFC South: IND | HOU | JAX | TEN



NFC North: CHI | DET | GBA | MIN

NFC South: ATL | CAR | NOL | TBA


What’s New?

Pittsburgh became the first NFL team that needs to use two hands to show off their jewelry, so how much change does their need to be?

For the most part, all Pittsburgh did was re-sign their own free agents, and pick up wide receiver Shaun McDonald. They did part ways with Byron Leftwich because Charlie Batch is back and healthy, and they extended Heath Miller for six years.

It was in the draft were the Steelers addressed most of their issues, drafting for depth on the defensive line with Evander Hood, offensive line with Kraig Urbik, at wide receiver with Mike Wallace and in the secondary with Keenan Lewis.

Three Burning Questions

Will the offensive line find a way to improve?

They really didn’t do all that much to address the problem, possibly thinking that keeping the players they have and letting them mature for a year will help.

Urbik and A.Q. Shipley were the only linemen added in the draft, and both could see some playing time, but neither should see too much. Justin Hartwig is certainly the quarterback of the line, and Willie Colon and Max Starks are likely to stay the tackles.

With Darnell Stapleton lost for the year, this is where Urbik comes in, if he passes the rookie learning curve quickly.

Will the defense lose a step?

It’s hard to get any better than they were a season ago, isn't it?

They gave up only 10 or less points in half of their games last season. Only six times was Roethlisberger out-thrown by his opposition. Only four times did the Steelers not have the leading rusher in the game.

It’s seems like 2008 was a particularly good season for a particularly good defense.  And that’s just it.

Even the great defenses of the recent past have had one year that sticks out above all others, and it’s likely that for the Steelers, that year was last season. They’ll likely continue to lead the league in defense, but you almost have to believe it won’t be as easy as it was last year.

Will the Steelers find that playmaker replacement for Nate Washington?

It seems like the recent Steeler teams have had a receiver, whether that was Washington or Randle El, who’s sole purpose was to make plays.

Santonio Holmes would be a good candidate for that role, but he’s a little busy being the No. 1 man in that offense now. Shaun McDonald is a decent choice, but lacks the explosiveness of Washington.

And Limas Sweed, though likely to find his way this year, is not the type either. Other than the offensive line, not much to nit-pick on this team, but this might be one player that they will miss.


For the prognosis and final record, read the originally posted article here.

This is an original article by Pigskin Heaven Staffer, Sascha Bartels. You can read it, more of Sascha's articles, and more from the Pigskin Heaven staff here.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.