2013 NFL Team Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

By Garrett Franskousky
PSDC Writer

If you asked someone with little knowledge of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2012 season as to what caused the once proud franchise to hiccup their way to an 8-8 year, he or she would probably tell you that “the age finally caught up to them.” Blaming the Steelers’ issues on age is a favorite for many the national sports outlets, but is it really the reason for the Steelers faltered?

Injuries were probably the biggest reason for the falter, whether that had to do with the team being too veteran laden is more opinion than fact. The Steelers did however miss significant time in their secondary with the injuries to Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis and Troy Polamalu. Edge rushers Lamarr Woodley and James Harrison were rarely completely healthy at the same time, and the offensive line had more starting combinations than Oregon has jerseys. And when you add a three-week absence from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, it’s easy to see how the Steelers could have faltered. However, injuries aren’t the whole story. Even with half of the starting defense hurt, the Steelers still managed to finish first in total yards allowed a game, which is a credit to Tomlin’s staff led by defensive guru Dick LeBeau and his scheme. But there was something this defense lacked; splash plays. The defense ranked 26th in the NFL in takeaways and was a very pedestrian 14th in sacks. Because of this, the Steelers rarely won the turnover battle, which meant they often played games with fewer offensive drives than their opponents. Additionally, the offense wasn’t on the same page in year one of Todd Haley’s offensive regime as the team finished 22nd in scoring and 26th in rushing.

A combination of all these issues led the Steelers who were once leading the division to a woeful 2-5 finish and a missed playoff berth. Like any typical Steelers offseason, free agency was its usual tough self on the Steelers as they lost Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis and Rashard Mendenhall to bigger contracts elsewhere. The Steelers had to once again dance around cap trouble, however perennial Pro Bowler and sack artist James Harrison was unfortunately cut. The Steelers did however prove to be their usual draft savvy selves as they were able to acquire rookies Jarvis Jones, Le’Veon Bell and Markus Wheaton who all appear to be able to make an early impact. It’s because of these rookies and the fact that the team has a relatively clean bill of health heading into training camp that members of Steeler Nation believe that this year is not a rebuilding year but actually a reloading one. [Read more…]

2013 NFL Draft Review: Pittsburgh Steelers, Rounds 2-3

By Garrett Franskousky
PSDC Contributor

Round 2, Pick 48: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

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Project Shanks 2012 Midseason All-Americans

By David Parks
PSDC Lead College Football Writer 

What you see below is the Project Shanks 2012 Mid Season All-American team as selected by yours truly.  If you disagree w/ any of the selections, deal with it.  (Or just email me)

The SEC leads the way with 10 players on the first team.  The next highest?  That would be the Big 12 with four, and no, none of them are on the defensive side of the ball. [Read more…]

Project Shanks 2012 Heisman Watch: Week 2

By David Parks
PSDC Staff

Another week is in the books and WOW is all I can say.  Through two weeks of the season, there are now only three players left on the Heisman Watch that started there before the season.

This week, several new faces grace the Watch including the nation’s leading rusher and one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.  Who helped themselves the most?  Who fell out of contention? (Last week’s ranking in parenthesis) [Read more…]

Project Shanks 2012 Heisman Watch: Week 1

By David Parks
PSDC Staff 

A newcomer vaults into the Top 5.

Week 1 of the college football season is in the books and already there are players who have vaulted into the Heisman discussion while others have seen their chance fade.  Who rose?  Who fell?  Let’s take a look. (Last week’s rankings in parenthesis) [Read more…]