All I have to say is we are fortunate to have a DC in LeBeau, even with the problems with our front seven he was able to maintain a top tier defense. Also, Carnell Lake is doing a great job with our secondary.
The main issues we have is with our offense, and I'm not blaming Haley, its the players who have to step up.
In this league now, you must be able to score enough points something the Ravens were able to do, averaging 21 a game like we did won't cut it.
If we are able to aquire a feature back in the draft or FA, get a healthy O-line & healthy Ben, improved receiver output we can improve as an offense. We'll need another TE as well, but the bottom line if you struggle to score points most likely you won't be able to play in the post season.
It's hard to defend a hurry up offense at any time- personell on the field will ALWAYS be an issue in that case.
Given a choice which 3 Steelers would you prefer to start on our D-line?
1. Heyward & Hood DE's Mclendon NT / Ta'amu
2. Keisel & Mclendon DE's Ta'amu NT / fangupo
3. Hood & Keisel DE's Mclendon NT/fangupo
4. Heyward & Keisel DE'S Mclendon/Hood alternate at NT / Ta'amu fangupo
My opinion (for next year):
NT - Hood - Backups - Ta'amu, Fangupo
SDE - Heyward - Backup: Woods
WDE - Keisel - Backup: McClendon
I would also rotate a bit more liberally than has been traditional...
JMO, but I think Ta'amu is probably the best suited to play NT, he was drafted for that purpose. I'm thinking the Steelers want to see if he can overcome his legal issues first, that's why they kept him.
Fangupo was added for insurance in case things didn't work out for Ta'amu and for depth as a backup.
If Ta'amu is successful in his legal matters, most likely they will have him compete with Mclendon for the starting position, however if he isn't enter Hood. They considered it before and might do it again asking Hood to switch to NT or compete for the position.
Hood is reported to be one of the strongest players on the roster, if he could only transfer that to the field, maybe @ NT would be a better fit. I'm not sure the Steelers consider Mclendon to be the next NT for years. IMO better suited for DE or backup to both positions.
I believe they did rotate Casey and mclendon this season, bringing Mclendon in on passing downs, they probably will rotate that position again this coming season regardless of who starts.
Getting our D-line squared away will be a big help maintaing a top ten defense even with the departure of some of out current players. Signing Lewis will be huge and getting a solid season from Worlids in replace of Harrison also be a big help.
Right now I'm more conserned with our offense, we need three positions filled, TE,RB, and receiver. We don't know how long it will take Heath to recover, as it is now Pauson would be our Starter at TE. We still need a TE to groom for Miller even if he comes back and for sure we have to hit it right on who we select at RB.
McClendon only played about 8 snaps per game, on average...
Hood played hiss entire career inside until he came to the Steelers and became a 5 technique DE...the poorness of his play is dramatically overblown on this board...I think Hood can perform better in the proverbial "phone booth" instead of the edge...