Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010 – A Better Running Game Required
In the biggest off-season story since – well, since EVER – the Steelers are reeling a bit from the Ben Roethlisberger incident. Following a highly publicized suit involving Big Ben, in which the allegation of sexual misconduct (and this is not the first one) emerged, the Steelers are hoping to hang on through the six games that Roethlisberger will sit at the beginning of the season.
What the???: Who in the world made those draft picks? Looking at the Steelers’ statistics from last season, one weakness was the running game. Being ranked 19th in rushing yards must have the Steelers traditionalists howling. One would think that the Steelers war room would have considered a running back during draft weekend. However, they drafted a center, three defensive linemen, two wide receivers, a corner, a linebacker, and an offensive tackle. In the 6th round, finally, a running back was selected – Jonathan Dwyer from Georgia Tech. He has as good a chance as anybody of making the team, particularly with a running back corps that stars Mewelde Moore, a veteran of 7 years, 3-year-player Rashard Mendenhall, and little else.
Under center: Since Ben Roethlisberger will be in time out, thinking about what he did for six games (or maybe four, if he’s really, really good), the Steelers are faced with a quarterback dilemma. Do they go with 13 year veteran Charlie Batch? He has filled in for Big Ben at times, and hasn’t looked disastrous. The Steelers picked up another veteran QB in Byron Leftwich. Jacksonville fans would tell you that Leftwich lacks toughness and decision-making skills. The third option is Dennis Dixon, a third-year-guy out of Oregon. He lacks experience at the NFL level. What do you do when all of the choices are poor?
Fate smiled on the schedule: When you learn that the Steelers play their first 5 of 8 games on the road, you think, “uh-oh”. However, those away games are at Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Miami, New Orleans, and Cincinnati, which roughly translates to 4-1. The home games through the first half of the season are Atlanta, Baltimore, and Cleveland, therefore 2-1 at home. Going into the halfway point at 6-2 puts them in the cat-bird’s seat for the playoffs.
The Steelers go 12-4 this year, a surprising increase from the 9-7 record in 2009.