ShareThis Page

Pros, cons of Steelers' Super Bowl chances

| Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, 10:32 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger has a laugh after he and the other quarterbacks threw a football into a garbage can on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.
Steph Anderson | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger has a laugh after he and the other quarterbacks threw a football into a garbage can on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 at Latrobe Memorial Stadium. Steph Anderson | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Troy Polamalu brings down Colts tight end Dwayne Allen during the first quarter Sunday August 19, 2012 at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
The Steelers' Troy Polamalu brings down Colts tight end Dwayne Allen during the first quarter Sunday August 19, 2012 at Heinz Field. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers right guard David DeCastro will be counted on to help anchor the offensive line next season.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers right guard David DeCastro will be counted on to help anchor the offensive line next season. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
James Harrison had minor knee surgery Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. Harrison hasn’t been on the field since the second day of OTAs on May 23, 2012, while nursing a sore knee.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
James Harrison had minor knee surgery Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. Harrison hasn’t been on the field since the second day of OTAs on May 23, 2012, while nursing a sore knee.

WHY THEY WON'T

1. THEY'RE NOT GOOD AT THREE-PEATING

The Steelers were 12-4 each of the past two seasons. Historically it takes a record that good or better to advance to February football. But the last four times the Steelers were coming off double-digit win seasons, they experienced a major backslide during the third season. (Examples: 6-10 in 2003, 8-8 in 2006, 9-7 in 2009). Sometimes a team needs a season to refocus and retool.

2. THE WHO'S-ON-FIRST OFFENSIVE LINE

Roethlisberger has been the NFL's most-sacked quarterback the past five seasons, one reason the Steelers always seem to be refitting their offensive line. First-round pick David DeCastro was supposed to be a difference-maker, but a knee injury will sideline him for an extended period. As a result, the Steelers are reshuffling the line yet again (Willie Colon moves from right tackle to left guard). Haley's offense is designed, in part, to lessen the punishment on Roethlisberger. The offensive line will greatly determine if that happens.

3. THE SCHEDULE

Last season the Steelers played a pair of two-win teams (the Rams and Colts), the four-win Browns twice and the five-win Jaguars. That's five games against teams that won a combined 13 games. There doesn't appear to be as many cupcakes this season on a schedule that includes the Broncos, Titans, Giants, Cowboys, Jets, Eagles and Chargers and two games each against the Ravens and Bengals.

4. TOO MUCH COMMOTION

Distractions abound. Harrison and Jason Worilds still haven't practiced. Mike Wallace's holdout just ended, and he hasn't practiced yet in Haley's offense. The offensive line can't seem to stabilize. Keenan Lewis is unproven on the corner. And the running game is unsettled due to injuries to Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman. That's a lot of issues for a supposed powerhouse.

5. IT'S NOT EASY TO STAY GOOD

This is the Steelers' 80th season. Never have they had three consecutive seasons with 12 wins or more.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.