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A long season for the Steelers?

August 13, 2011 - Ray Eckenrode
Bleeding Black and Gold

> Preseason games never mean anything and when they’re played after a lockout-shortened offseason they really don’t not never mean anything or something like that. That said, the Steelers looked terrible Friday night against a team that had the exact same amount of time to prepare for the game. Although, to be fair, the Redskins played their starts for a much longer period than the Steelers.

> As expected, it appears the new kickoff rule will all but eliminate returns, setting teams up at the 20 for many possessions and likely diminishing scoring around the league. As we noted last fall though, there is one bright spot to the whole mess. The rule change was made a few weeks AFTER the Ravens signed rocket-legged Billy Cundiff to a $15 million contract. Cundiff earned that money in 2010 by being one of the few kickers in the league to consistently record touchbacks. But with that skill now common with the new rule, Cundiff’s value decreases dramatically while his paycheck (and the Ravens cap hit for a kicker) won’t.

> This is, of course, a totally premature assessment, but it looks to us like the Steelers are headed for an off year, based on the personnel situation and the competition, UNLESS Ben Roethlisberger has an Peyton-esque All Pro season where he elevates the talent around him.

> Steelers veterans who appear to be in trouble: Dennis Dixon, Chris Hoke, Daniel Sepulveda, Tony Hills.

> Ike Taylor’s broken thumb is certainly concerning but history shows that corners can play with a cast although it hinders their ability to catch. On the bright side, he can’t catch anyway.

> The Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette got off this gem on the Twitter earlier this week when asked by a fan if the Steelers would consider bringing Willie Parker back for a year: "If the year is 2007." Ha! But it illustrates a great point. Fans just can't grasp how short the window of production is for an NFL running back and how quickly their careers evaporate. Many fans would consider Rashard Mendenhall to be a young player, but we'd bet he's on the back end of his time as the Steelers starter, this year, maybe next and he'll be gone.

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