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Pros, cons of Steelers’ Super Bowl chances |

Pros, cons of Steelers’ Super Bowl chances

| Sunday, September 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
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
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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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