This article is part of our Team Previews series.
By Rick Kinigson
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
Although the Steelers' 2010 season ended in disappointment, the campaign was actually quite impressive considering they were without Ben Roethlisberger for the first four games (suspension). They lost only four games, won their 20th division title since 1970 and made it to their third Super Bowl in six years. The question is can they do it again, or is their too much rust on the Steel Curtain?
Pittsburgh did not make a huge splash in the free-agent market, focusing instead on re-signing their own players and working to get under the salary cap. They signed all seven of their draft picks, and re-signed Willie Colon, Jonathan Scott, Ike Taylor, Mewelde Moore and Daniel Sepulveda.
Offensively, Pittsburgh is an above average team, having scored 23 points per game over the past two seasons. In 2010, the Steelers ranked 14th in passing (225 yard per game) and 11th in rushing (121 yards per game), and have an exciting young nucleus of fantasy players led by Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace. And, of course, they have Roethlisberger, who averaged 267 passing yards per game, for a full season.
One area of concern was pass protection, and the offensive line was decimated by injuries last season. Head Coach Mike Tomlin and the front office quickly addressed this need, grabbing Florida tackle Marcus Gilbert in the second round of the draft. The Steelers may need to push him in to action quickly,