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 Joe Starkey: Is this the best Steelers team since the Super Bowl year of 2010?

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LambertWardSteel



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PostSubject: Joe Starkey: Is this the best Steelers team since the Super Bowl year of 2010?    Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:42 pm

I asked Ben Roethlisberger after the game in Baltimore if this was the best combination of line play and weapon diversity he’s experienced here.

“Potentially,” he said.

It’s too early to answer questions like that definitively. I understand. But it’s not too early to ask -— and without a crystal ball in front of me, let me pose an even bigger one:

Is this the best Steelers team since the Super Bowl year of 2010?

Let me answer it, too: Yes.

I would throw in “potentially,” but that’s no fun. Roethlisberger might not be in the comparisons and speculation business. I am. And assuming good health, I believe this will be the best Steelers team to enter a postseason since they played the fighting Mike McCarthys in Super Bowl XLV.

The teams in that conversation, by the way, are the 2011, ’14, ’16 and ’17 ones.

The 2011 team handled Tom Brady, 25-17, on its way to going 12-4 but lost too many players down the stretch, aged on defense as if in a time-lapse photography warp and wound up getting Tebowed.

The 2014 club was interesting but had a little too much Antwon Blake happening in the secondary and lost Le’Veon Bell before the playoffs (trivia question: Name the three-headed monster that replaced Bell against Baltimore. Answer: Josh Harris, Ben Tate and Dri Archer, who literally ran backwards on his only carry).
That leaves the past two Steelers teams. Let me count the ways in which this team surpasses those, even knowing two spectacular players (Ryan Shazier, Bell) are no longer on the field …

— The secondary is so much better.

Two years ago in the AFC title game, Tom Brady was throwing at Ross Cockrell, William Gay, Mike Mitchell and the rookie version of Artie Burns (which actually was better than the current version). Brady also exploited the likes of ancient linebacker James Harrison in coverage.

Last year, Blake Freakin’ Bortles beat up on Burns and Mitchell and exploited the likes of linebacker Sean Spence in coverage.

Joe Haden has since arrived and settled in as a real, live shutdown corner. Sean Davis looks like a real, live free safety. The rest of the group is hardly perfect — it ain’t exactly the “No Fly Zone” back there — but it’s an improved group that does not surrender nearly as many game-breaking plays as last year.

The pass rush does what it’s supposed to do.Right now, the Steelers are on pace to surpass last year’s franchise-record 56 sacks. Shoot, they go into Denver just one sack shy of their season total (38) from 2016. Bud Dupree has improved, and T.J. Watt has transformed the other outside linebacker position -- once held by a man named Jarvis Jones.

The offense scores touchdowns in the red zone.
This was a consistent problem area for Todd Haley’s units. Think of the Kansas City playoff game, when the Steelers won despite failing to cross the goal line. Or the AFC title game that year and the inability to punch it in at the end of the first half.

The Steelers rank second in the NFL in touchdown percentage, at a robust 77.4%. They were 18th last year (53%) and 16th in 2016 (54.2%). They have a great chance to become the first team in franchise history average 30 points a game (currently at 29.9).

James Conner can do everything Bell did and maybe some things (longer runs) better. Now he needs to finish.
The offensive line has improved, mostly because left tackle Al Villanueva has evolved from two years ago.

This is a better version of Roethlisberger, despite two games (Cleveland, Jacksonville) where he couldn’t stop giving the ball away. He has capitalized on the NFL’s point-frenzy climate and is on pace for career-bests in most categories. He is in tip-top shape, and …

The Steelers have a wider variety of weapons.
Think about this: Ben was throwing to Sammie “Broken Finger” Coates and Cobi Hamilton in Foxborough with a Super Bowl on the line 22 months ago. He had plenty of weapons last year, but JuJu Smith-Schuster has emerged as a bona fide star, and Vance McDonald is now a defense-wrecker.

If James Washington could take another step, I’d feel better about the Steelers putting up enough points — 96 or so? — to beat Patrick Maholmes or Brady.

Where are they worse than the past couple of years? Certainly inside linebacker, and that’s only because Shazier was so good. Vince Williams and Jon Bostic have come on.

Also, kicker Chris Boswell hit a rough patch, but he is quietly perfect (7-for-7) on field goals over the past seven games.

It’s also worth noting the Steelers have cut down on penalties and sensational non-football stories, whether it be allegations of flying furniture or proclaiming the upcoming Patriots* game “Part I.”
Are they good enough to win the Super Bowl?
Yes, potentially.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/joe-starkey/2018/11/21/Joe-Starkey-Is-this-the-best-Steelers-team-since-the-Super-Bowl-year-of-2010/stories/201811210223


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LambertWardSteel



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PostSubject: Re: Joe Starkey: Is this the best Steelers team since the Super Bowl year of 2010?    Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:45 pm

Quote :
Think about this: Ben was throwing to Sammie “Broken Finger” Coates and Cobi Hamilton in Foxborough with a Super Bowl on the line 22 months ago.

This comes to mind whenever I hear people saying brady doesn't have the receivers other QBs have. I think Ben has always done well making work what he has on the field. One star WR after another has emerged with him throwing to them

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effyou515



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PostSubject: Re: Joe Starkey: Is this the best Steelers team since the Super Bowl year of 2010?    Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:21 am

this is the tightest Steelers Team I've seen in a quite of few years.

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solardave

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PostSubject: Re: Joe Starkey: Is this the best Steelers team since the Super Bowl year of 2010?    Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:27 am

If we go to and win the SB we can talk about how good this team is IMHO. Until then I agree with Ben when he said "potentially".
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IowaSteeler927

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PostSubject: Re: Joe Starkey: Is this the best Steelers team since the Super Bowl year of 2010?    Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:06 pm

@solardave wrote:
If we go to and win the SB we can talk about how good this team is IMHO. Until then I agree with Ben when he said "potentially".

Yeah exactly. Too early to be comparing them to the Super Bowl squad of 2010.

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