Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) runs in the end zone after a pass reception for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
As we mull and ponder the moves Kevin Colbert and Omar Kahn will make over the next few months to keep the Steelers’ competitive, we must remember that the Steelers are far away from just a one year fix. At face value, this team is good. The offense will still have weapons without Mike Wallace, the running back situation without Mendenhall will still be adequate and Ben can sling the ball with the best of them. The defense was number one in the league and that leads man to see that the Steelers have a plethora of talent.
But look at the teams in the playoffs, specifically the Championship games and you see where the Steelers lack the edge to just flip a switch on an easy 2013 run.
The Steelers are going to lack playmakers next season aside from a healthy Troy Polamalu, which is in itself a risk. By playmakers, I mean guys who force opposition to fundamentally shift the way they approach the game. The Ravens have Ray Rice and Ed Reed, two players you can key on but will produce. Reed and Ray Lewis are arguably on their last legs but the Ravens production thus far shows their impact.
The Patriots biggest playmaker their offensive system, designed by a coach who has one of the top three quarterbacks of all time to throw the ball. You can’t hold the Patriots to under 20 points unless you play a 4-3 defense with four great pass rushers, aka why only the Giants and occasionally the Jets have their number in recent memory.
The 49er’s now have Collin Kapernick and on defense, Patrick Willis is arguably the best linebacker in the league. The 49′ers are the 2009 Steelers all over again: Dominant defense with almost every player playing in their prime, playmaking quarterback with fantastic weapons forcing a defense to take risks every down.
The only team I see like the Steelers are the Atlanta Falcons, a solid overall team that doesn’t possess playmakers, but as a team is just superior at almost every position. The Steelers though don’t have the talent Atlanta does and this is why the Steelers are at home and the Falcons are the number one team in the NFC.
I am not saying the Steelers are doomed. The NFL is all about health and “Any Given Sunday” which is why no one goes undefeated and the Giants at 9-7 can win the Super Bowl. But the Giants got lucky in games and played 110% in the last weeks of the season. Honestly, that is what the Steelers need if they wish to win another Super Bowl with the current team in place.
The draft will yield talented players, however aside from Ben Roethlisberger no Steelers’ rookie has truly been a game changer in year one. The Steelers are entering a new era of transition, not rebuilding. The team will be competitive and playoff worthy. But Super Bowl ?