1. Adjust to the new offense
Bruce Arians was promoted from receivers coach to coordinator and, not surprisingly, wants to involve the receivers more. He will open up the offense, even using four wide receivers on first and second downs on occasion.
Arians also will put more responsibility on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's shoulders — he will call any changes in blocking protections at the line of scrimmage, something that was done by linemen in the past.
Under Bill Cowher, the Steelers ran more than anyone over the past three seasons after recommitting to the run in 2004. This came after a disastrous 2003 season when they threw the ball all over the place. As long as Roethlisberger does not do a Tommy Maddox imitation, the search for balance might do well for the offense.
2. Settle on an offensive line
Only two starting jobs are secure and one of those unhappily so by left guard Alan Faneca. Marvel Smith also is set at left tackle, but the other three positions are up for grabs.
The Steelers signed Sean Mahan from Tampa Bay to be their starting center, although they've made it look as though there is competition for the job with longtime backup Chukky Okobi.
Kendall Simmons has had to fight to keep his job at right guard from a bid by Chris Kemoeatu. Simmons, entering the final year of his contract, had a great spring; now he needs a good summer to go with it.
Max Starks has started at right tackle the past two years but will be challenged by Willie Colon, a fourth-round draft choice last year.
3. Find a pass rush
The outside linebackers traditionally have been stars of the Steelers' 3-4 pass rush, but they've not been so the past few years. That's one reason Joey Porter was released. The best pressure from Pittsburgh's defense actually has come from its defensive ends, Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel.
James Harrison moves into Porter's spot at right outside linebacker after years as a backup. Coordinator Dick LeBeau will move Keisel around on defense to take advantage of his athletic ability and his pass rush. Keisel will play from a three-point stance but also move up on the outside and inside.
Rookie LaMarr Woodley, their second-round draft choice, should see plenty of time as a pass rusher in their dime defense from the left side, a job starting outside linebacker Clark Haggans has held. Coach Mike Tomlin wants to keep his pass rushers fresh and he likes what Woodley can give him in the pass defenses.