Quote Originally Posted by steeler_fan_in_t.o.
Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler
And I gotta agree with the "fat man".... We can have all the weapons in the world, but if Ben is on his back, none are much good....
So, I guess the main question here is whether or not we are better suited to keep Ben off his back this year. I posted a bit of a upgrade/downgrade list on trib a couple of weeks ago, but here is the gist of it:

2008 upgrades:

*Marvel healthy - he played hurt when he did play last year
*Hartwig in, Mahan out at C
*Either Colon with a year under his belt, or him beaten out by Starks would be better than rookie Colon
* Ben has a year experience at calling out blocking
* Line has a year experience under the ZB scheme that was just introduced last year
* OL coach, OC, HC has a year experience in these respective positions, and knowing these players
* Hopefully the coaches set the starting line before camp breaks so that these guys can get some reps as a unit before they step out on the field
* Faneca distraction, OTA holdout etc. is gone

2008 downgrades:

* Faneca out, lesser player in - be it Kemo, Mahan or Colon. While I don't think that he played up to his normal PB level, he is still better than whoever will replace him.


Now, after looking at all the reasons that we should be worse, and all of the reasons why we should be better, I think that this unit will easily outperform last year's OL. While that is not an overly impressive statement, it remains to be seen exactly how much better this unit is this year. The line may not become the strength of the team, but hopefully it won't still be the glaring weakness that it was in '07.
Schedule, schmedule. I don't care how hard the schedule is, with all the things you list above (which I concur with), 9-7 is just a starting point. Intangibles and Special Teams working in the Steelers favor, that could add at least 1 more win...if not two. And that's a dam good season.