The Pittsburgh Steelers have taken off in a new direction in the 2012 NFL season, one that could set the course for the long term as this team like to keep things together awhile. Some big names have been released and others brought on board. While the core of the offense and defense are still here it’s going to be interesting to see how all these new pieces fit together.
On the offensive side of the ball the Steelers will still be depending on Big Ben Roethlisberger to lead the way. There’s a little concern in the media now that it’s known that Roethlisberger has a slight rotator cuff tear. Nothing’s been done about it and Ben says he’s fine. The passing game will be looking to replace Hines Ward, who was cut. Candidates to step up are Antonio Brown, who’s coming off of a season that garnered over 1,000 yards. But the real focus will be on Mike Wallace who led the team with eight receptions for touchdowns and 1,193 yards. There are also some real concerns about Rashad Mendenhall who may not be ready for the beginning of the season. If he can’t go Pittsburgh will have to fall back on Isaac Redman, an undrafted free agent who caught the eye of the coaching staff last year.
The defense looks to be in good shape although there are some players heading into the twilight of their careers. Relying so heavily on their front line means D-Coordinator Dick LeBeau will have to get another year out of Nose Tackle Casey Hampton and find a way to develop Cameron Heyward and Ziggy Hood quickly. The linebackers play a huge role in this defense and the return of James Harrison is going to help. LeBeau struggled to keep the same group of linebackers on the field last season. Of course Troy Palamalu is the free ranging headhunter is the back half and he’s well supported by Ryan Clark and Ike Taylor.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are facing some considerable competition in the AFC North in 2012. Baltimore will be pushing to make hay while they’ve still got the defense and the Bengals are improving rapidly. This is a team that’s capable of making a Super Bowl run again if they can stay healthy.Eric Drouant