Saturday, September 11, 2010

2010 Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers Offense

And we have come to the end of our season previews, and not a day too soon. We wrap things up with the only team in the league that really matters. The Steelers offense racked up a lot of yards last year, but didn't put up a whole lot of points. This year, the Steelers offense has plenty of challenges to overcome, from Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being suspended for the first 4 games to the revamped offensive line, which features two new starters from last year's unit. To help yinz out with our lingo, we included our nicknames for each player. We spiced things up a bit by adding "theme songs" for each player.

Here's a look at the dramatis personae of our offense:


Dennis Dixon
"Dennis the Menace"/DTM

Dixon has been handed the reigns to start the season. He had his good and his bad times in the preseason, but we think he'll do just fine leading the troops. As long as Dixon doesn't try to force things, he'll be okay. He's got the athleticism and arm to make plays when he needs to and he has quick feet, which will come in handy with the Maginot Line in front of him.

Byron Leftwich
"Lord Byron"

Leftwich was supposed to be our starting QB to start the season before a knee injury sidelined him for at least one game, if not more. Leftwich has a cannon and looked more accurate than Dixon in the preseason but he isn't mobile at all, and he got beat up behind the Maginot Line in the preseason.

This was the only video on YouTube of this song. Luckily, we like LOST too, so it all works out.

Charlie Batch
"Homestead Charlie"

Batch has been a capable, but extremely fragile, backup over the last few years. Batch has missed parts of the last two seasons with injuries, and his lack of mobility and fragility led to the coaches choosing Dixon to start. Batch is perfectly capable of stepping in and leading the offense at any time, provided he doesn't break anything.

Suck it Jay-Z

Ben Roethlisberger
Clock, 007

If he can keep it in his pants, he's one of the best QBs in the league. That said, Ben has a lot to prove this season off the field. We all know what he can do on it, but Ben's redemption process isn't going to be solved simply by coming out and throwing for 400-yards and 5 TDs in a game. Nope, not going to do it. He needs to prove his long-term commitment to becoming a better person. That's not to say we're not going to applaud him for what he does on the field, but we're still withholding judgment on Ben until he proves, consistently over a long period of time, he is a changed person.

Running Back

Rashard Mendenhall
"Raise Some MendenHELL"/"Raise Some"

Mendenhall becomes the full-time feature back in his 3rd NFL season, and with Ben out for the first four games, chances are the Steelers will lean heavily on Mendenhall to carry the load. He is perfectly capable of doing this, but the Steelers need to monitor his carries and make sure they don't "run the wheels off him" like they did to Parker.

Mewelde Moore

Moore has been an excellent 3rd Down back over the past few seasons. He is one of the best receivers out of the backfield the Steelers have and is a decent blocker. He has also proven capable as a feature back when he needed to step in and carry the load for a game or two.

Isaac Redman
"Red Zone"

After a year on the practice squad, Isaac Redman is back and better than ever. The undrafted free agent out of Bowie State is a finisher who plows over defenders and just keeps his legs moving. We love the way he runs and hopes he gets the opportunity to showcase what he can do this season.

Jonathan Dwyer

The rookie from Georgia Tech led the team in rushing in the preseason. Dwyer has a ton of potential for the future, and will probably only see time on the active roster this season if one of the top 3 RBs goes down.
Wide Receiver

Hines Ward
Hines doesn't need a nickname.

Do we even need to talk about what Hines Ward brings to this team? He's one of the greatest Steelers in the great history of the franchise and owns pretty much every team receiving record.

Mike Wallace
"60 Minute Man"

Wallace steps into the #2 receiver role with a lot of fanfare after Santonio Holmes was shipped off to the Jets. As a rookie, Wallace showed an ability to stretch the field, and he has yet to be overthrown by any quarterback. He has blazing speed but also isn't afraid to go over the middle and make the tough catches. We love Mike Wallace.

Antwaan Randle El

Man it's great to have Randle El back. Even though he's probably lost a step or two from the injuries he suffered in Washington, he showed in the preseason that his hands are as good as ever. El Yeah was a favorite 3rd down target of Ben's, and he'll likely be a prime contributor again in that department.

Arnaz Battle

Picked up in free agency from San Francisco, Battle showed enough in the preseason to warrant a spot on the team. Battle made some nice catches and despite not having great numbers in the past, he is a capable veteran with good hands that will also contribute on special teams.

Emmanuel Sanders

The Steelers 3rd round pick had a rough game in Denver but rebounded well in the last preseason game, hauling in the Steelers only touchdown on a pass from Dennis Dixon. Sanders, who got a lot of reps with the 2nd team, might be a secret weapon this season as he had a lot of reps with Dixon at quarterback, meaning there's a good chance they had developed a good rapport.

Antonio Brown

Brown will be the Steelers 11th kick returner in 11 years. Ousting Stefan Logan from the position, Brown has better straight-line speed and was deadly on crossing routes during the preseason. It'll be exciting to see him bringing the ball up the field. He gets north-and-south in a hurry.

Tight End

Heath Miller
"Miller Time"

Heath is well on his way to becoming the greatest tight end in Steelers history. He had a great year statistically last season, and while his stats may not be as good this year, due to him being called on to block more, we firmly believe Heath is one of the top 3 TEs in the league.

Matt Spaeth

Spaeth is a solid #2 TE that we wish saw more looks in the passing game. He is a big target with good hands, but will spend most of his time blocking.

David Johnson

Johnson will play the H-back role of 3rd TE and FB. He is a decent blocker, definitely better when blocking off the line than coming out of the backfield. He's also a decent receiver, but probably won't get a ton of looks.

Offensive Line
"Maginot Line"

Max Starks (LT)

Starks has been a fixture on our offensive line since our Super Bowl run in 2005. He lost his starting job at RT then reemerged as a LT when Marvel Smith went down in '08. LT is a more natural position for the left-handed Starks, and he has shown flashes of brilliance (shutting down Jared Allen and Elvis Dumervil last season) juxtaposed to downright awful games.

Epic bass solo.

Flozell Adams (RT)
"The Hotel"

Brought in from Dallas to provide stability on the line in the absence of Willie Colon, Adams will start for the first time in his career at RT. Adams has struggled with speed rushers and false starts in the past, and he'll see plenty of the former with the Steelers opponents this year.

Chris Kemoeatu (LG)

He's no Alan Faneca, but Kemoeatu has been a serviceable LG while he has played. His best move is definitely as a pulling guard and his pass protection leaves a bit to be desired.

Trai Essex (RG)

Trai Essex has bounced back after some really bad games as a reserve LT and has found his groove at RG. Essex enters his second season as the starting RG, and he should be even better this year. He's going to have to be an anchor on the right side, playing between Flozell Adams who has never played RT before and rookie Maurkice Pouncey. 

Maurkice Pouncey (C)

Pouncey is the real deal. Anyone who questioned the decision to pick him in the first round is a moron.

Jonathan Scott (T)

Scott was brought in from Buffalo to add some depth to the line. He showed enough in the preseason for him to become the #1 backup at tackle. Like our other tackles, he struggled against speed rushers. New offensive line coach Sean Kugler is high on Scott, and should the Steelers use any unbalanced lines, Scott will likely see time.

Doug Legursky (G/C)

Legursky has been a backup in the Steelers offense for a year now, and can play both guard and center. Arians has also used him as a blocking back down on the goal line, in a formation we absolutely love.

No idea why we picked this one, but it's a great song.

Ramon Foster (G/T)

Foster was an undrafted free agent, but made the team last season and had a great year, starting a handful of games at LG for Chris Kemoeatu. While Foster's footspeed isn't as fast as Kemoeatu's, he's a mauler in the run game and has the build of a solid offensive lineman.

Tony Hills (T)

Hills really hadn't shown anything his first two years in the league, but offensive line coach Sean Kugler has lit the spark under Tony Hills and he looks better than ever this year. He very well grow into the RT of the future if his development continues.


Jeff Reed

Reed has been solid his entire career with the Steelers, and despite his unhappiness with being paid over $2 million to kick a ball, we expect nothing less than the solid kicking we've seen from him in the past.

Obvious choice.

Check back in later for our look at the Steelers defense.

Can't wait for Sunday.

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