Home > Steeler Articles > Keys For Getting Back To The Super Bowl….?

Keys For Getting Back To The Super Bowl….?

History has shown that most teams that lose the Super Bowl don’t do so well the following season. But this Steelers squad is sort of an ananomly compared to most teams, a puzzle wrapped in a riddle sprinkled with a good dose of “what the hell?” (how many Super Bowl teams have had an O-line this bad or an offensive coordinator this stupid? Not many, if any at all). Let’s take at what I believe will be crucial factors in determining whether the Steelers will get back to the Super Bowl this year. Of course, I very well could be wrong!

– Lebeau and the secondary need to do a much better job at defending the pass, especially on 3rd down. This one is about as obvious as it gets, which makes it all the more concerning that the Steelers don’t seem to be addressing it. It’d be nice if there was some sort of additional focus on man coverage and on adding some real wrinkles into Lebeau’s schemes. But based on recent years, including the Super Bowl, don’t hold your breath in that department.

– Ben improves as a QB. Yeah, I know, Ben is great but he can better. Improving his accuracy on deep balls, improving his timing, checking down more often and cutting back on the pump fake (no need to do it every other pass attempt, Ben) will make Ben a much more consistent and dangerous QB. It’ll also go a loooonnng way in improving the Steelers chances of making it back to the SB. A part of me thinks this simply will not happen, that Ben just isn’t that type of QB, he’s been in the league too long, maybe he’s too dumb (but has football smarts, nonetheless), or it’s just not in his blood. Time will tell, but if he were to incorporate and improve in different areas it could make a huge difference in the Steelers chances of repeating as AFC Champs.

– The Steelers offense actually has an identity. In addition to that, the Steelers offense actually plays full throttle for 60 minutes.

– Someone other than Troy Polamalu or James Harrison steps up and becomes a consistent playmaker on defense. Could it finally be Lawrence Timmons? Timmons racked up a big number of tackles last year, but I wouldn’t call him a playmaker yet. Lamar Woodley and his new gigantic contract? Woodley puts up a nice number of sacks usually, but he isn’t consistent enough from game to game. Youngster LB’s Jason Worilds or Stevenson Sylvester? Ziggy Hood? Doesn’t look like it. I’d like to name someone in the secondary besides Troy but I just don’t see it.

– One. Just give me one rookie that has a positive impact throughout the season. With 21 of 22 starters returning, this could be a tall order.

– I’d say improving the O-line will be huge, but the Steelers have had a mediocre O-line for pretty much the entirety of the time Ben has been with the Steelers. And the Steelers have been to 3 SB’s under him.  Still, you have to wonder how much longer that kind of success (as well as Ben’s health) can last with a mediocre O-line. The Steelers have pretty much defied the odds in this department but it’s like playing Russian Roulette with Christopher Walken. You know something bad is eventually going to happen. I’ll just say this – if the Steelers continue to struggle in short yardage 3rd down situations, and have no solutions other than to run up the middle, that could seriously dampen any chances of a return to the Super Bowl.

– Luck. There’s always luck that plays a factor into pretty much any team’s success.

– Tomlin improves as a head coach. He still has a long way to go, which on paper might be an amazingly stupid thing to say (Huh? He’s been to TWO Super Bowls!). Fair enough, but just don’t forget who the best players on this team are – Ben, Troy, Harrison, Ward. All players that were here before Tomlin was head coach. All players who had already won a Super Bowl two years before Tomlin was named head coach of the Steelers. All players that have arguably had much, much more to do with the Steelers recent success than Tomlin. And anyone that has objectively watched Tomlin’s gameday coaching knows that there is much to improve upon. He did a horrendous job in last year’s Super Bowl, not to mention numerous games in the regular season that the Steelers won based on sheer talent and/or luck last year, the infamous “unleash hell” fiasco from the year before, etc. Show us something, Tomlin! Actually outcoach the other team instead of relying on late game heroics or luck to beat an inferior team.

– The NFL remains a sea of mediocrity. Steelers had a great run last year, but holy crap did the team have a cakewalk into the Super Bowl. Ravens? Overrated. Jets? Really overrated. In fact most teams in the NFL these days are overrated, most teams these days are simply downright mediocre, which can only be a good thing for the Steelers.

– Steelers don’t have to face the Pats in the playoffs. Sorry, I had to throw that one in here. Although wouldn’t it be nice if the Steelers beat them for once? Of course, not having to play them in the post season (like last in last year’s playoff run) hugely increases the odds of the Steelers making it back to the Super Bowl.

– The Steelers actually use some short passing (besides smoke screens to WR’s) on a more regular basis. Not really counting on this one to happen at all, but it’d be nice if it did.

– Bruce Arians retires mid-season.

I’d rather not make any predictions for this season but I do think the Steelers have a pretty good shot at making it back to the Super Bowl. But I also think at least some of what has been mentioned in this article has to happen for the Steelers to have a real legit shot at making it back this year. I guess we’ll just have to see how it all unfolds, should be pretty exciting.

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