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Thread: 2013 Season Preview

  1. #1
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    2013 Season Preview

    SteelersLet's see if the Steelers can finally rely on Troy Polamalu this season.


    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/p...s-jones-082313

    UPDATED AUG 23, 2013 11:59 PM ET

    The 2013 NFL regular season is right around the corner. With that being said, it's time to launch our team previews. FOXSports.com contributor Taylor Jones will answer important questions for every franchise.

    PITTSBURGH STEELERS


    2012 Record: 8-8. Missed the playoffs.


    What is the position battle to watch?


    The Steelers employed a running back by committee approach last season with Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman splitting time while Rashard Mendenhall missed all but six games after suffering an ACL tear in the regular-season finale of 2011. Prior to 2012, Mendenhall led the Steelers in rushing for three straight seasons but in his absence it was Dwyer who led the team with 623 yards and two touchdowns while Redman tallied 410 yards and two touchdowns. Even with Mendenhall out of the picture, neither were impressive enough to win the starting job outright heading into 2013. With the 48th overall pick, the Steelers drafted a bruiser of a running back, Le’Veon Bell, from Michigan State and was hoping to have a three-way open competition for the starting role.


    Now, just three weeks into the preseason, Bell is out at least 6-8 weeks, or potentially the entire season if his lisfranc injury requires surgery. Isaac Redman, the team's listed co-starter up to this point, has missed time with a stinger as has backup running back Baron Batch. Change-of-pace back LaRod Stephens Howling missed the second preseason game with a knee injury, leaving the only two healthy options as Dwyer and sixth stringer, Alvester Alexander. Forget an open competition … the Steelers would be happy to get to the regular season with three options that are healthy enough to suit up for the first game.


    What must the team accomplish to consider the season a success?


    The Pittsburgh Steelers missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009 and only the second time under the guidance of Mike Tomlin. It was the first time under Tomlin the team failed to finish with a winning record, but don’t let that 8-8 record fool you. Of the eight losses, six of them came down to the final play, including two that went to overtime. So had the outcome of just six plays turned out differently, the Steelers could have finished the season with a league best 14-2 regular-season record and the eventual Super Bowl champions (Ravens) may not have even qualified for the postseason. Given that, even with all the offseason departures and current injuries, the Steelers will be disappointed with anything less than a return to the playoffs. A run at the Super Bowl is most likely out of the question, but Ben Roethlisberger is still a top-five quarterback and anytime you have an elite player at that position, you have a chance.



    Keeping their best players healthy. Roethlisberger hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2008. In the three games he missed last year, the Steelers lost two of them. Troy Polamalu has only played one full 16-game season in the last five years and missed seven games in 2012 due to a calf injury. Second-round draft pick, Le’Veon Bell could miss significant time. The Steelers roster was decimated in the offseason and they will need to rely on their star players even more this season than in years past. Without Big Ben and Polamalu playing a full slate of games, Pittsburgh would be lucky to match last year's 8-8 season, let alone make a trip to the postseason.


    Which rookie stands the best chance to succeed?


    With the 17th overall pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected one of my favorite players in the draft, Jarvis Jones. He's the prototypical Pittsburgh linebacker and a natural pass-rusher who has an explosive first step and can really turn the edge along the outside. He had 28 sacks in his final two seasons at Georgia and will now ask to fill the void left by James Harrison. Or will he? The Steelers haven’t started a rookie at the position since 2001 and as it stands today, fourth-year player Jason Worilds is listed as the starter ahead of Jones. In three starts last season, Worilds totaled five sacks and already has one sack this preseason. Worilds isn’t just going to roll over and play dead.


    What is the team's biggest addition/loss from the previous season?


    Although leading the team in receiving yards in 2012, Mike Wallace was largely disappointing as he finished the year with his lowest per-catch average in his four-year career. His receiving yards declined for the third straight year going from a high of 1,257 in 2010 to a low of 836 in 2012. With all that said, he is still the toughest player to replace on a roster that saw at least seven major contributors leave this offseason. It isn’t always about the statisitics for a player like Wallace, he can be just as impactful to a play in which he doesn’t even touch the ball. Teams have to account for his speed and ability to stretch the defense vertically while leaving the underneath more susceptible to easy receptions. The Steelers drafted Markus Wheaton in the third round to fill the void, and while you can’t discount him simply because of his draft position (Wallace was also a third round selection), he just doesn’t have the game-breaking speed that Wallace has. Wheaton ran a respectable 4.45 40-yard dash during April’s combine but that is full .12 slower than Wallace’s 4.33
    Last edited by fordfixer; 08-25-2013 at 08:00 PM.

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    Looks like this article was updated Friday night at midnight. Wasn't that after we received the news that Bell will not require surgery? Article states a 6-8 week recovery, is that where we stand now in light of the new information that he will not require surgery? I thought we were at week to week. Apparently, Im confused on this issue...
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    Even with it not being the Lisfranc Injury, it still is a mid-foot sprain. Time table for that also depends on the person, his age, ect. I personally think Bell will be out 4 weeks, then return to light practicing for another week or two. I think he will play after the London game.

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    I was ok with the article until the last few sections. I like JJ, and think he will be a great Steeler. I'm looking at Wheaton to potentially have the biggest impact this year from the rookie class.

    Also, the biggest loss from last year's squad is proving to be Max Starks, not Mike Wallace. If Ben has time to throw, there's no doubt in my mind that AB, Sanders, and Wheaton will all have good numbers this year.

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    Pro Bowler skyhawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie View Post
    I was ok with the article until the last few sections. I like JJ, and think he will be a great Steeler. I'm looking at Wheaton to potentially have the biggest impact this year from the rookie class.

    Also, the biggest loss from last year's squad is proving to be Max Starks, not Mike Wallace. If Ben has time to throw, there's no doubt in my mind that AB, Sanders, and Wheaton will all have good numbers this year.
    Agreed. i certainly have been missing Starks. He's the best OLineman to play for the Steelers in the past 5 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhawk View Post
    Agreed. i certainly have been missing Starks. He's the best OLineman to play for the Steelers in the past 5 years.
    Starks is a big lumbering tackle, not exactly cut out for the zone scheme. I wish people would stop talking about the guy. He's not coming back and he's getting terrible reviews in San Diego.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snatch98 View Post
    Starks is a big lumbering tackle, not exactly cut out for the zone scheme. I wish people would stop talking about the guy. He's not coming back and he's getting terrible reviews in San Diego.
    Well if hes getting terrible reviews in SD, they may cut him...and he might be back! haha (cant be any worse than Baptiste or Whimper)
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    He's gone.

    But he did formidably during his tenure here. And a zone scheme is good for a big lumbering large man. That means at certain times during a four man rush the guard will be able to help double team the opponents DE/OLB. Good news for Ben.

    That being said, it's time for youth at the position.

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