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BlitzburghRockCity
08-30-2007, 05:57 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07242/813310-66.stm?cmpid=HBEHTML


To a man, the Steelers say 2006 was just a fluke and that the glory of a Super Bowl championship is within their reach again this season.
Thursday, August 30, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers opened defense of their Super Bowl championship last September. Nearly a year later few give them a chance to even make the playoffs.

The Steelers must suffer through a fifth preseason game tonight in Charlotte, N.C., before the final cuts are made tomorrow and Saturday by new coach Mike Tomlin. Then they open preparation for what they hope will be a season of redemption after they flubbed defense of their Super Bowl XL championship with an 8-8 record.

A sampling of online betting sites pegs the Steelers closer to their record of 2006 than the team that won it all in '05. They are no better than 13th among the 32 NFL teams to win the Super Bowl. One had them at 26-1 odds to win it, another 34-1.

Typical of them is Bodog, an online sports book. As of yesterday, the Steelers were 25-1 to win the Super Bowl, 14-1 to win the AFC championship and picked third (at 5-2) to win the AFC North behind Cincinnati (3-2) and Baltimore (9-5). Sports Illustrated this week picks the Steelers to finish third in the AFC North.

The sites had teams such as the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles at better odds. Generally, the over-under on the number of Steelers victories this season is 9, one more than their disappointing reign as Super Bowl champions.

There are people who strongly disagree with that and while they might be a distinct minority, they're true believers. You can find them inside the Steelers' locker room.

The players say last year was a fluke and that they are every bit as good as their teams of 2004 (15-1, loss in AFC championship game) and their Super Bowl season of '05. Most of their starters are intact from that team and some of the new ones might be better than the starters they replaced.

The Steelers, the Steelers say, are as strong as ever and can compete for another Super Bowl championship.

"There's no doubt there's the talent in this room," defensive end Aaron Smith said as he peered around the locker room. "I don't see much difference [from '05]. I see the same team."

"We definitely have the talent," cornerback Deshea Townsend said. "It's the same team that's been here for a lot of years. The good thing is we have a lot of guys in key roles back then who are more mature now."

To be sure, it's not the same team. Gone from this year's club is two-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Hartings and three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter. Among starters gone from the Super Bowl are receiver Antwaan Randle-El, defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen and free safety Chris Hope.

Yet, as many Steelers noted, the younger players on that team -- such as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, halfback Willie Parker, strong safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker Larry Foote and cornerback Ike Taylor -- have matured and should be better than they were in 2005. The Steelers still have veterans such as guard Alan Faneca, tackle Marvel Smith, defensive linemen Smith and Casey Hampton and receiver Hines Ward. And newer starters such as defensive end Brett Keisel and wide receiver Santonio Holmes look to be an upgrade from '05.

"I think we're just as good," Ward said. "The younger guys are starting to develop and we have a lot of veteran guys off that Super Bowl team."

Those who doubt the Steelers point to the changes in their offensive line and the loss of Porter, a dominant force in the '05 playoffs.

Sean Mahan, signed from Tampa Bay as a free agent, will replace Hartings at center, and Willie Colon apparently has beaten out two-year starter Max Starks at right tackle.

"Our offensive line can be the best in the league, I think, and we have so much depth," Smith countered. "We have seven starters who could start somewhere else. There's no doubt they have the talent, it's just a matter if they can work together. That's what makes offensive lines great is when they can work well together."

What happened to the Steelers last season can happen to any NFL team, Ward said. The New England Patriots followed their first Super Bowl victory with a 9-7 record and no playoff visit in 2002.

"We didn't become sorry overnight," Ward said. "You don't win a Super Bowl and the next year become sorry. There were a lot of circumstances -- Ben had the accident and we just played too inconsistent."

So why should this season be any better than the last one?

"It takes a year like 8-8 in order for you to come back and respond and have a better year," Ward said. "You want to make sure what happened last year doesn't happen this year."

Soon, they will get that chance.

I wouldn't want expect them to have any other attitude but saying they are SB material, because frankly they are IMO. This team has all the talent necessary to get back to the promised land. The questions arise though if they can play together, if Ben can eliminate the mistakes, if the defense can get off the field, if the OL will come together, if we'll find a return man on ST who won't fumble all the time, etc. If this team plays to it's potential the majority of the time there's no reason we can't make a run to the SB this year but there are still a lot question marks that need answered that we'll soon find out.

Captcoolhand
08-30-2007, 06:35 AM
what are you asking for a miricle? we heard the same **** last year and now we are dealing with a whole new/Different team. IMO, I don't see it happening.

ARKIESTEEL
08-30-2007, 07:35 AM
Hell yeah we can win all we have to do is slip past these first 5 games come out 5-0 then win like 70% of the last 11 that puts us in the playoffs easy then we just win.....it can happen:clap::cope::tt02:

SteelersWoman
08-30-2007, 07:59 AM
We are ranked at 12th at sportsbook.com to have a run at the SB--the Browns are ranked dead last. If you bet $100 on us and we win it, you'd get like $2600. If you bet $100 on the Browns and THEY win it, you'd get over $20,000.

Curiously though, we're considered the underdogs goin into the Sept opener against them. I can't help but wonder what that's based on...certainly can't be home field advantage, since we've beaten them at home so many times.

Mach1
08-30-2007, 10:34 AM
Right now every team thinks their SB material. Cant imagine going into the season thinking your a 6-10 team.

memphissteelergirl
08-30-2007, 10:48 AM
Ya gotta love the confidence...I want them to get that swagger back! :tt02::tt02:

JB 67
08-30-2007, 11:31 AM
we definitely have a shot don't give the Patriots the title yet wait till we go in there and whip there ***...:cope:

AZ_Steeler
08-30-2007, 11:56 AM
The confidence is good, what they have shown in pre-season has been impressive, the Steelers practically still have the same team from the Super Bowl season so it would be easy for anyone to think that... besides what's the point in even playing if you didn't think you were SB material... the Browns probably think they are SB material too! :lol:

BlackGold4vr
08-30-2007, 12:04 PM
If teams that were pre-season favorites to win superbowls actually did, the Patriots and Colts would each have 6 or 7 Lombardi's each. We all know how the media and sportswriters have been slobering all over Tom Brady's and Peyton Manning's knobs for years. It's a wonder Tom was able to shake sportswriters free of his crank long enough to impregnate 2 women. Luckily for us fans they allow the seasons to play out even though the "experts" already know who the champions will most likely be. Most experts don't even predict the Steelers to make the playoffs this year even though we were one of only 2 teams whose offense and defense both ranked in the top 10 last year. My prediction is that the Steelers will regain the AFC North title and go deep into the play-offs. I won't be so bold as to predict a SB but IMO it is a possibility for this team......the talent is there.

:gs: :towelwave: :touchdownrun:

black an gold 4 life
08-30-2007, 05:58 PM
i agree with u top gun the steelers can win the superbowl this year if they stay hungry ,focused an most of all cut out the t.o's that's what keep us out of the playoffs last year

Iron City South
08-30-2007, 09:12 PM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07242/813310-66.stm?cmpid=HBEHTML

I wouldn't want expect them to have any other attitude but saying they are SB material, because frankly they are IMO. This team has all the talent necessary to get back to the promised land. The questions arise though if they can play together, if Ben can eliminate the mistakes, if the defense can get off the field, if the OL will come together, if we'll find a return man on ST who won't fumble all the time, etc. If this team plays to it's potential the majority of the time there's no reason we can't make a run to the SB this year but there are still a lot question marks that need answered that we'll soon find out.



Overall, I agree with the premise of your post ... however I'm going to be honest and say that "depth" is not our friend. If we experience any degree of 1st team injuries this year .... we're doomed. Our 2nd and 3rd teamers absolutly blow ...

BlitzburghRockCity
08-30-2007, 09:20 PM
Overall, I agree with the premise of your post ... however I'm going to be honest and say that "depth" is not our friend. If we experience any degree of 1st team injuries this year .... we're doomed. Our 2nd and 3rd teamers absolutly blow ...

There are some areas that concern me as far as depth goes, sure. WR depth beyond the starting 3 is far from proven, We have 3 good corners but if one of them goes down we're left with very little left in Coc to play primary backup, the return game is suspect and the ST coverage units are unproven.

We're far from perfect but time will tell how healthy we can stay.

Iron City South
08-30-2007, 10:24 PM
I'm particularly concerned about "depth" on both sides of the line .... it's non-existent. How the OL performs will dictate our season.

BlitzburghRockCity
08-30-2007, 10:29 PM
Most definitely, if the OL blows for any reason we're screwed. Im not so concerned about OL depth because the backups have been fighting and playing hard this offseason and all of them have experience, even if it's alittle bit. The DL concerns me though because we only carry 6. Im not worried about the starters. Hoke is good, so is Kirschke although he has a bad back; but whoever else we decide to keep as the 6th; there is the significant drop off and a big concern since all 6 of them see action every week.