The more I look at last season the more ticked I get about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 8-8 record. Clearly this team was better than that and there is enough blame to fill a ballroom. Unfortunately, when I start looking at the Steelers’ offense in 2013 I can’t say my anger subsides very much.
Let’s consider what the holes the offense has to fill as we sit here in early February just days removed from our arch-rivals winning the Super Bowl. Here is the good news; Ben Roethlisberger is the quarterback and should be for the next 4-5 seasons.
A young, and potentially talented offensive line with a new coach is also a positive but I could not argue that some may find negatives with that too. That about does it for the positives folks…
The negatives? Where do I begin?
Mike Wallace is as good as gone. If the story by the Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette is accurate in that Wallace turned down $10 million a year from the team then there is no way in the name of Stallworth and Swann that he is back in the black n’ gold in 2013. Immediate hole at wide receiver.
Emmanuel Sanders is a restricted free agent and I have no doubt that the team will look to re-sign him. The problem? Sanders’ short NFL career has already been marred by injuries to his feet. Throw in some untimely turnovers and dropped passes and what do you really have with him?
In 2012, Antonio Brown was a season removed from over 1,000 yards receiving and in the return game. His season started off well-enough with a big new contract but then evolved into an inconsistent season where he had two back-breaking fumbles and an ankle injury.
The tight end position has been in good hands for years now with Heath Miler who was the team MVP in 2012. He is now going to be coming back from ACL surgery and is very unlikely to be 100% by the season opener. That leaves you with David Paulson. I like Paulson, but not as a starting tight end in this league.
And then there’s the running back position. Rashard Mendenhall essentially signed his own walking papers by not showing for the San Diego game and then treated it almost flippantly. Mendy has never really become the back I think a lot of us believed he would and while I don’t put all of that on him, it is what it is.
Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are both restricted free agents and if I had to lay a wager my thinking only Dwyer returns. He’s younger and a little more explosive, but he is not without issues. His physical conditioning is suspect and he once came into camp looking like a starting guard.
I’m pretty sure you’re all aware of the fourth guy who carried the ball and returned kicks last year as he is already off the team. Chris Rainey was given his walking papers following a domestic violence arrest several weeks ago.
So let’s review shall we? The 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers currently have a future hall of famer at quarterback and the potential for a very good offensive line. They have what amounts to one number one or number two receiver in this league in Antonio Brown and little else with the exception of veteran Jerricho Cotchery.
The tight end position is in serious trouble unless Miller makes a Herculean-recovery over the summer and starts using deer antler spray to speed that process up. Kidding!
The Steelers have no feature running back whatsoever and the one they potentially will keep can’t stay on the field for more than three straight plays. They are also in need of another kick returner and oh by the way, they are going to be cap-strapped yet again.
Steeler Nation! I present the 2013 offense!!
This better be the greatest Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft since 1974 or it’s going to be a long year.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.