How much can change in one off season where the coaching staff remains the same, only a couple of players leave and only one low-tier free agent signs? Hopefully much because the status quo usually doesn’t get it done in the NFL.
After winning the SB XLIII the Steelers have placed the proverbial target on their backs and teams will be gunning for them more than usual. Copy cats are already competing for 3-4 linemen and outside linebackers. And playoff victims are scheming dastardly plans for revenge. Who knows what evil concoction brews behind the Ravens’ closed doors?
One thing is certain, if a team remains the same for too long the rest of the league can catch up and pass. And while the Steelers traditionally seem to stay the same, they’ve managed to tweak things, staying ahead of the wave.
So while we can expect more punishing defense, Dick LeBeau will devise new schemes to mix with the old ones. Players will know their roles better and younger blood will push the veterans to new heights.
Big Ben will again rally the troops, but now from a place of greater confidence and veteran wile. Players like Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed will vie to make an impact. The offensive line will be a year older and wiser. New picks will seek their place in the mix and push for game time.
There may no great new look for the Steelers in 2009 but count on satisfaction from another hard fought division title and playoff run. Heck, those six Lombardis are probably looking lonely right about now.