Well, the regular season approaches and its time to start the cull of players to get down to 53 men. It seems like the prefered starting OL is Smith, Kemo, Hartwig, Simmons, and Colon. They need to get on the same page and stay there. Starks, Mahan, and Essex provide decent depth but the OL situation is still shakey at best. Will this unit gel and provide The Franchise with the pass pro he needs? We'll see.
The RB unit is strong. FWP is getting stronger and we know what he brings to the table. RM is going to provide valuable carries. MM seems like a capable 3rd down back and Russell continues to improve. Should be no worries here.
The WR's are also strong. SH is ready for a truely breakout season. Hines is, well, Hines. Nate looks like he has cemented his #3 spot. Sweed will make the team of course, but I think this might be Willie Reid's year to finally make an impact. Baker is prob the odd man out, but still has the raw skills to be effective. Will be interesting to see how the #4, #5 slots pan out.
Heat and Spaeth will be RZ weapons, and hopefully Heat will really test the seams this year between the 20's.
On the other side of the ball, the starting DL will be fine, but other than Hoke, the DL depth is rubbish. Lets hope the injury bug stays away from Snacks, Smith, and Keisel. Seriously.
The LB's are an interesting mix of age and youth. Potsie must feel good about the recent contract, and hopefully his level of play remains high. Woodley seems like a monster and should be an upgrade over Haggans. He hasn't seen everything yet though, so I expect a few bad reads along the way as he learns the game. Foote will be his usual self. We will see much more of LT this year, and the guy looks like he ready to shake any Zo comparisions. Harrison looks ready to seek and destroy as usual.
The DB's are the same as last year. Ike , Deshea, and McFadden will all see lots of work. Plus Gay. Not the greatest, but certainly not the worst CB corps. They need a consistent pass rush to be truely effective. What kind of season will TP have? The injured non effective kind, or the dominating, all over the place kind? Clark looks like he is back and its none too soon. Carter and Smith provide decent depth, but it will be trouble if either is on the field for an extended time due to injury.
ST's looks like its improving but thats easy to say since the bar was set so low. Looks like it will MM or SH returning punts. Bye bye Bloom and Eddie.
Hopefully Tomlin improves on his challenges this year. BA needs improve his spotty playcalling from last year. Overall, the Steelers have another solid team this year. The most glaring problems are on the lines and this could be the downfall of the '08 Steelers. With the brutal schedule and without a strong OL, anything over 9-7 should be considered a success.