There's 2 keys for this team right now. Ben and Troy. They have to stay healthy. If they do, we're a SuperBowl contender. It'd be nice if some guys around them step up their game. There's a lot of potential in some others. But that's all it is at this point - potential.
The one big concern I have with this team is we don't really have any players that are just nasty. We're filled with choir boys. I do think we miss a little of the attitude of guys like Ward and Harrison who seem to be willing to do anything to get an edge and win. Guys like Ben and Troy are really good players who teams have to be concerned about. But guys like Ward and Harrison put the fear of God in opposing teams. Cause they're both a little crazy. We don't really have the crazy any more.
And overall (on topic), take homerism out of play and look at the team from an outsider's perspective - spelled out below. (Names removed for their protection - lol)
Take a typical 8-8 team, take away their starting left tackle, best WR, start the season with an injured pro bowl TE, lose all their RBs except the 3rd stringer, the one they drafted early is injured.
Move to the other side of the ball - you take away their run-stuffing, pocket pushing nose tackle AND the perceived toughness and heart-and-soul and best pass rusher of the defense.
Now, if this were the carolina panthers from a few years back who had gone 8-8 and you filled those names in with Steve Smith, Julius Peppers, DeAngelo Williams, DeShaun Foster, Kris Jenkins, Wesley Walls and Jordan Gross, you'd say, "those Panthers fans are CRAZY for thinking they'd make the playoffs!"
I'm with you and hoping for a good season because I (like you) REALLY believe in Ben (more than I would have Jake Delhomme on those panthers teams).... HOWEVER, I cannot blame others for being skeptical.
As a fan, you look at every little aspect of what has happened from the end of last year until the beginning of this year. You do all this with a hopeful bias towards success...i.e. Unproven rookies can step in and play, and greater insight...i.e. McClendon actually played better than Casey when given the chance last season.
The national guys do not have the time to research every team in this way. This is the way that they do things...Finished third at 8-8 last year. Lost Wallace and Lewis with no significant additions. Should still be third because Cleveland is in the division, but worse off at 7-9.
There you go...7-9, third in the AFC North
well, my analysis is somewhat more basic. we were 8-8 last year. other than the o-line it's essentially the same team with some notable losses. In other words, have we dramatically improved at key positions or is it still a guessing game? I think we certainly have the potential, but my gut is telling me this off season was a wash. so when you combine that with the improvements the bungles made and the rats coming off the superbowl and still looking strong - I feel like this is the proverbial 7-9. of course my usual disclaimer remains the same. if I knew what I was talking about, i'd be on the staff of the steelers instead of second guessing them.......:tt2
As Steelers fans we no not to jump to conclusions due to preseason hype. When we are ranked highly, we wait and see. We KNOW the games must be played. If we are under the radar, we KNOW that this team can play and win despite all the nay sayers. We are used to it. We KNOW our football.
On the other hand, I live in Seattle, and the SB in everyone's mind here is a forgone conclusion. The games are just fluff in their mind. They are ranked #1 and it's a JOKE to listen and watch the fans here. They haven't a clue. It may be a compliment to them but they had people paying $500 or more for a PRESEASON game. WTF? That being said, they have the best home field in the NFL. And they are contenders. But we all know the games MUST be played.
Btw, I agree with all the posters on this thread.
Best posts and thread of the year so far.
Some of your boys really know your football and the Steelers. Now, what can we argue about? I had my popcorn ready ;)
We're all missing the fact that the 2013 season is nothing but an extension of the 2012 season.