View Full Version : What do 2008, 2009, and 2010 have in common? 6-2.

11-12-2010, 02:01 PM
Surprising fact to know and tell.

The lesson I take away from this is that these are the games that are going to make or break the chance to get #7.

The read below is long, but excellent IMO.

Happy reading!

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... #storyjump (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2010/11/10/1806918/at-the-half-looking-forward-and-backward-at-midseason#storyjump)

By RickVa on 11-10-10

Okay, we're in it up to our elbows now. We are at the midway point of the season, tied for first in our division and for the best record in the league. There's no more flying under the radar or lying in the weeds; no more conditional concerns that we can hide behind such as Ben's suspension or the loss of a Super Bowl MVP. The Steelers are clearly championship capable, the favorite in the minds of many inside and outside Steelers Nation; certainly capable, but unfortunately, also vulnerable in spite of the team's many strengths. So, it remains unclear and equally plausible that the season could end either in Dallas in February or in Cleveland in early January or at any point in between. It will be fun much of the time, stressful all of the time. A lot like Monday night's game.

One person's observations on how we got to this point and where we may be heading in the weeks ahead.


There have been a lot of mid year analysis going on both on and off the site, most of it very good. (I really liked Swissvale's take on his post earlier in the week. Mary Rose and Michael have raised insightful issues as well.) One fact that has been pointed out is that our record was exactly the same at this point in '08 and '09. Two lessons to take away from this particular factoid: first is that we could be on the express train to Lombardiville and trophy number seven (celebrating in Jerry Jones' palace on the grave of his team, wouldn't that be sweet), or we could be on the local to Hell, seeing our season come to an end in Palookaville (Cleveland). How bitter would that be? These two options are not just statistical possibilities, but have actually happened in the past two years. However, the second lesson is that NFL seasons are like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same. But it's nice to know that we have a little something for everyone at this point of the season. Triumph and disaster both still in the picture, though I suspect that even the most nit picky of worry warts would be shocked if we failed to make the playoffs this year. While the second half of this year's schedule is no walk in the park, at least we'll have all of our weapons available to us, provided the guys in New York don't suspend James Harrison for playing football.

Injuries. I was all prepared to say that in spite of what happened to Aaron Smith, that generally speaking we had dodged a couple of bullets in that department. Then word came in about Max Starks. Not good. But not necessarily the end of the world either. Remember, at about this time during the Super Bowl year of '08 we lost Marvel Smith to IR. Smith was not only, like Starks, our starting left tackle, he was also our best offensive lineman, period. The situation sucked then like it sucks now, but we survived it then, and we are in even better position this year. Clearly we have better position coaching, and you had to be impressed with how the group responded when they were dropping like leaves on Monday. But you also have to respect the across the board depth of this team and the mindset instilled by Tomlin and his staff that the standard remains the same regardless of who is playing. Maybe they move Adams to his natural position of left tackle and we begin to discover what we have in players like Chris Scott and Tony Hills. And speaking of depth, with both Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore recovering from concussions, a name no one has mentioned since Labor Day has been resurrected from the practice squad. Dwyer might get a hat this week. And I wouldn't be surprised if he sparkled. But don't get me wrong, there is a critical mass of injuries beyond which it becomes difficult for any team to recover and compete. Hopefully the offensive and defensive lines in particular will be spared any further losses of significance.

Ben. Would Ben's suspension damage the team's ability to compete this year, damage the reputation of the Franchise, or permanently damage Ben's reputation and status as a player? I would have to say that the answer on all counts would be no. In fact, a very strong argument can be made that the very opposite has and is occurring. I watched Monday night's game in a bar (excellent picture, terrible sound) which was the second prime time national game that the Steelers participated in. I didn't get the impression that there was much conversation concerning Ben's situation or much reaction from the hostile fans of Cincinnati. If anything that issue has been completely overshadowed by the situation with James Harrison. And as with Ben it has become more of a rallying point than a cause for divisiveness.

Schedule. With each passing week what the team accomplished during Ben's suspension seems more impressive. When the schedule was announced it appeared to be, based upon the previous year's outcomes, somewhat pedestrian. Recently it has been announced that this year's schedule was the third most difficult in the league based upon the winning percentage of our opponents. From what we know today, going up against the Falcons, Titans, Bucs and Ravens without Ben and coming away 3-1 is a more Impressive feat than when it was being achieved in September. By the same criteria what lies ahead appears a bit more daunting than it did during the summer. Only Carolina classifies as a weak team. Any team in the AFC North is capable of beating any other team in the division, we will confront our chief rivals for conference supremacy (Pats, Jets, Ravens) before the playoffs. Oakland is much improved and even winless Buffalo is playing much better than their record would indicate. At the risk of seeming hopelessly wishy washy, this is a team that could run the table or lose to anyone remaining on their schedule. Personally, I am expecting that they will continue to perform at the .750 level finishing at 12-4 or maybe even 13-3. I do believe that they must finish November strong (beating New England and the Raiders at home) so they can banish the residue of last year's collapse and generate momentum into December. The rationale (other than it sounds good) is stable, broad based veteran championship leadership, a team that has not completely gelled yet (because of the late arrival of Ben) and a favorable ratio of home games.

Bright Spots and Concerns.

Receivers corps. Another big question coming into the season was whether the Steelers could survive the loss of Santonio Holmes' talent regardless of his off field issues. Holmes himself appears to be just rounding into shape after his own four game suspension, but he was key to the Jets win over the Lions in overtime. Good for him, good for them. Mike Wallace has been officially recognized as a rising star in the league. Not the same type of player as Holmes, but very impressive and very effective. Hines Ward continues to do the things that are building a case for a first ballot selection into the HOF. To those of you who think that the age of 30 is a death knell for athletic excellence, Hines stands as proof that sometimes age is just a number. He seems to be able to go as long as he likes in spite of the brutal, no quarter asked or given style of his play. Another championship would assure his legacy and he plays as if he is clearly aware of that fact.

Something of a disappointment in the return game if you were looking for that kind of thing, ARE is very effectively fulfilling his role at #3 receiver. He also brings hard to quantify leadership traits to the table, and teams will have to practice against that gadget play for the rest of the year. Sanders, Brown or both will eventually heal any residual wounds suffered by the loss of Holmes. Think about it; even if the Steelers eventually jettison ARE, that means that one of those two (Sanders or Brown) will be no better than the #4 receiver for the foreseeable future. The only downer is that Heath is having a bit of an off year. You don't associate dropped balls or fumbles with him. I say the jury is still out; plenty of time to recover his Mojo.

Running game. Art II got what he asked for in reference to the running game. But I have a concern that some old habits die hard. There are still too many empty backfield sets in short yardage situations, not enough utilization of the Pony that has proven very effective when they do use it. And BA (and I'm not really jumping that much down his throat, his play calling in general has been good this season) needs to be reminded sometimes that in the short yardage running game that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. With Pouncey and Kemoeatu working side by side, he might be surprised how many one or two yards gain might be forced on straight dive plays. Mendenhall has not disappointed and now appears capable of scoring at any time from at least 50 yards out and probably much beyond. His fumbling problems (knock on wood) seem to be behind him and he's showing nice durability. Redman, comic book persona aside, is emerging very nicely and pretty reliably as a quality short yardage and change of pace back. Moore despite some disappointing moments earlier in the year is still capable of helping this team catching the ball, running and blocking. The development of the younger backs is such that his days with the Steelers are probably numbered. He's still a valued veteran presence.

What is being strived for with the running game was on display during the final Pittsburgh offensive drive of the game against the Bengals. Using mostly running plays they were able to drive the ball within field goal range while effectively mulching the clock. If Reed had made a very makeable field goal that would have leached whatever remaining drama there was out of the game and we all could have slept peacefully. With the weather changing running attempts should be on the rise. Somehow I fear that those stats will go in the opposite direction as the offensive powers that be become more enamored with the quick strike capabilities of the passing game. What is most encouraging is that the offensive line is capable, not every play, but often enough to make things work.

Defense. Its not perfect, not yet anyway, but it is good enough by a wide margin. Take a good look, you may not see anything this good again until they reconvene next spring. I'm prepared to make an extreme statement: The linebackers as a unit are likely the best I've ever seen. And Timmons hasn't come close to reaching his peak as an athlete. For those of you who insisted that James Farrior was through, you may put on your dunce caps and proceed to the nearest corner. Any team would love to have Worilds, Sylvester, Foote and Fox for their first group. These guys can't get on the field. Solve the injury issues with the line and get a bit more talent in the secondary (Butler) and they may make this league rediscover the magic of great defense.

Special Teams. My hat's off to Al Everest. Though not perfect STs has transformed from liability to asset which is all you would ever want. If Jeff Reed could overcome his inconsistency the Steelers would probably be standing at 8-0.

One last thing (can't resist); Ocho Cinco might want to reconsider referring to the Steelers as "women", or at least show more calm and class as his team hits bottom.

11-12-2010, 02:04 PM
Going on from 6-2, I hope we see 2008 and not the defensive collapse of 2009.

11-12-2010, 02:48 PM
Going on from 6-2, I hope we see 2008 and not the defensive collapse of 2009.

I think we'll get a preview of what to expect down the stretch this weekend.


11-12-2010, 02:59 PM
Going on from 6-2, I hope we see 2008 and not the defensive collapse of 2009.

Serious question for you: do you ever stop crying? :cry:

11-12-2010, 03:17 PM
You can add 2007 to that as well.

11-12-2010, 04:00 PM
2007 start 6-2 & no title.

2008 start 6-2 & win it all.

2009 start 6-2 & no title.

2010 start 6-2 & I've got a feeling..........