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PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 15: Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger AP

For years, the Steelers have consistently reloaded.  As older and/or expensive players exited, younger, cheaper, and in most cases nationally-unknown players stepped in and stepped up.

That trend hasn’t held in recent years.  It started along the offensive line, even though the team thrived for several seasons without a stout, highly-effective five-man crew of blockers.  The phenomenon spread the last two years, with the Steelers missing the postseason and creating a sense that the front office and coaching staff have had their skills at finding young and talented replacements go the way of the Steve Blass fastball.

It’s not entirely true.  The team has developed an uncanny knack for drafting quality receivers in the middle and late rounds, a feat few franchises have accomplished.  Defensively, however, the Steel Curtain mystique has faded a bit as the team has struggled to swap great old players with competent young ones.

Still, the Steelers have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons.  While no one has sounded the alarm just yet, another less-than-stellar campaign from the Steelers will lend credence to the reality that reloading finally has yielded to rebuilding.

Strengths.

NFL teams either have a franchise quarterback or are looking for a franchise quarterback.  The Steelers have one, and while he continues to be less-than-beloved by the locker room at large, Ben Roethlisberger continues to have the full belief of the organization.  For good reason.  He has more Super Bowl wins that Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, and Matt Ryan (all of whom make more money than him), and Roethlisberger continues to perform at a high level amid a supporting cast that often doesn’t.  Eventually, the player and the team will face a contractual dilemma; for now, Roethlisberger remains the guy, and his presence ensures that the Steelers will at least be on the fringes of contention each and every year.

After a few seasons that created a sense of meandering, the Steelers have put together a potentially potent depth chart at tailback, with Le’Veon Bell, the still-underrated LeGarrette Blount, and dynamic rookie Dri Archer leading the way.  Together, they could give Roethlisberger the right balance to make it easier for him to get something positive out of a work-in-progress receiver room.

The offensive line continues to have plenty of question marks, but there’s no ambiguity about the team’s attitude toward center Maurkice Pouncey.  Despite having a year left on his rookie contract and recovering from a torn ACL that limited him to one game in 2013, Pouncey signed a contract that eclipsed Alex Mack’s transition-tag offer sheet from the Jaguars, which the Browns matched.  Put simply, the Steelers got a glimpse of life without Pouncey, and they saw enough to know they don’t want it to happen again.  His presence in the center of the line will definitely make the team better, not worse, in 2014.

Defensively, the Steelers continue to be all about the linebackers.  Even with LaMarr Woodley gone, the Steelers have Lawrence Timmons, transition-tagged Jason Worilds, second-year first-rounder Jarvis Jones, and fleet-footed and versatile rookie Ryan Shazier.  To a large extent, their effectiveness depends on the ability of the defensive line to keep blockers away from them.  This group may be nearly good enough that it won’t matter.

Beyond any personnel group, the Steelers continue to be the Steelers.  Guided by the steady, patient hand of the Rooneys, the folks employed to run the football operations can do so without worrying about hot seats or any of the other short-term, win-now pressures that plague the decision-making of most other teams.  It allows the organization to make decisions without regard to saving jobs and with the sole focus of pursuing championships.  While another year or two of missed playoffs could test that vibe, the Steelers lack the sense of reckless urgency that other teams with a pair of failed seasons would demonstrate.

Weaknesses.

No unit has seen more talent exit the franchise in recent years than wide receiver.  Mike Wallace cashed in with the Dolphins in 2013.  This time around, Emmannuel Sanders opted for the Broncos, and Jerricho Cotchery helped fill the pass-catching void in Carolina.  Entering camp, the position in Pittsburgh consists of Antonio Brown and a bunch of guys who may or may not make much of a difference.  Some of them could.  Rookie Martavis Bryant and second-year product Markus Wheaton possibly will follow in the footsteps of Brown, Wallace, and Sanders as unheralded prospects who become high-impact players.  Less will be expected of veterans Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, who were available to be signed as free agents for a reason.

Heath Miller continues to be one of the favorite Steelers of the past generation, but there’s a strong sense that he’s close to the end.  Roethslisberger recently broke out the rose-colored beer goggles, claiming that Miller is back to his old self more than a year after tearing an ACL.  Even if the Steelers ultimately take a chance on a guy like Jermichael Finley, the position isn’t as strong as it’s been in the past.

Aaron Smith was one of the best 3-4 defensive ends to ever agree to embrace the anonymity of tying up blockers, and the Steelers have had a hard time replacing him.  With Casey Hampton long gone and Brett Keisel possibly not returning, it’s a time of flux for the defensive line.  The play of the front three needs to improve or the string of failed seasons will match that number, and possibly exceed it.

Cornerback Ike Taylor has said he’s pissed about the pay cut he had to take to stay in Pittsburgh, but the truth is that the Steelers are the only team that would have given him as much as he’ll get this year.  He’ll get that much because the Steelers need him.  They need him because they’re otherwise not very good at the position.

Changes.

For a team that has enjoyed contention through consistency, the Steelers have endured plenty of changes in recent years.  The departure of Sanders has made receiver the modern-day equivalent of the revolving door at linebacker a generation ago.  Then again, that door is still spinning; Woodley went West against his wishes while Worilds opted to stay, at least for one more year.

Disappointing first-rounder Ziggy Hood exited via free agency, and safety Ryan Clark opted for Washington once it became clear that the Steelers weren’t interested in extending his stay, thanks to the restructured deal with Troy Polamalu and the arrival of Mike Mitchell.

As coaches go, there was plenty of speculation that offensive coordinator Todd Haley and/or long-time defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau could take the fall for the team’s struggles.  Instead, offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. got the boot — replaced by Hall of Famer and former Titans coach Mike Munchak, who given the competition could possibly still win a backup job on the team.  If he can get the line to play better than the sum of the parts, the Steelers could get back to the postseason and make some noise once there.

Camp battles.

The depth chart at receiver will be a work in progress, with Antonio Brown the clear-cut No. 1 and the rest of the players jockeying for position.  Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant will likely vie for the No. 2 job, with Lance Moore penciled in as the slot receiver.  Heyward-Bey in theory could be a factor, but he also could be gone by the time Week One rolls around.  Dri Archer will play running back and receiver, making him an intriguing option on third downs — especially if he lines up in the backfield and then motions to the slot or flanker.

Archer also will be a factor at running back, where Le’Veon Bell is presumed to be the starter and LeGarrette Blount serves as the backup.  Coach Mike Tomlin has said that training camp will determine the ultimate division of labor.  That’s a diplomatic way of saying the best guy will be the starter, and if he’s sufficiently better than the rest he’ll be the workhorse.  It would take a lot for Archer to leapfrog the other two, but given his speed it’s not impossible.

Cam Thomas arrived via free agency to challenge Steve McLendon for reps at nose tackle.  It’s a position where the Steelers definitely need improvement, now.

William Gay and Cortez Allen are expected to battle for one of the starting cornerback jobs.  If Ike Taylor’s play dips, it’s not completely out of the question that he’ll end up out of the starting lineup in what appears to be his final season in Pittsburgh.

At safety, Troy Polamalu is back, somewhat unexpectedly.  That relegates Mike Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas to compete for the right to replace Ryan Clark.  With more and more teams loading up on quality safeties and with the Steelers not as good as they could be at cornerback, it could make sense to find ways to get all three on the field.

Prospects.

When little is expected, the Steelers tend to overdeliver.  Last year, a horrible start to the season nearly became a highly unlikely playoff berth.  This year, the improvements the team has made should be enough to put the franchise back in the playoffs.

If they get there, the Steelers could be dangerous — especially if they can get back to the plug-and-play-well system that has helped the Steelers remain relevant for decades.  The key spots to watch will be receiver and defensive line.  If those areas produce, and if fleet-footed rookies Shazier and Archer can run that way on the choppy sod of Heinz Field, the Steelers will once again be winning in January.

If they fail, the franchise could have a different atmosphere come 2015.  Especially since a fourth straight season without a postseason appearance would match the longest drought since Chuck Noll became the head coach in 1969.

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118 Responses to “PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 15: Pittsburgh Steelers”
  1. thepftpoet says: Jul 15, 2014 2:47 PM

    Is this supposed to be the Retirement Home Football League rankings?

    The whole Pittsburgh Steelers team is as old as dirt.

  2. calvinthegreat82 says: Jul 15, 2014 2:47 PM

    Bears got to be next, they are sooooooo much better than my Lions!

  3. cornellsteelers says: Jul 15, 2014 2:49 PM

    Too low. The Steelers are a borderline top 10 team, something that will become readily apparent when the season begins.

    Also, why are you ranking them 15th when you expect them to return to the playoffs this season?

  4. realnflmaster says: Jul 15, 2014 2:49 PM

    I respect the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, they are the second greatest organization in the history of the NFL and have one of the all time great QB’s in Ben Roethlisberger.

    With that being said, they are many steps below the great New York JETS in hierarchy and envy our position as the greatest franchise to step foot on this earth. The #LEGEND Joe Namath, the future HOF coach Rex Ryan, the next Warren Moon in Geno Smith and the undefeated 19-0 2015 season.

    #JetsDYNASTY

  5. axx1 says: Jul 15, 2014 2:50 PM

    15???
    They are not in the top half for sure
    Thomsin inherited a great team and since that core retired he hasnt been able to do anything since

  6. crenshawpete714 says: Jul 15, 2014 2:50 PM

    15 seems a little high

  7. doctorrustbelt says: Jul 15, 2014 2:51 PM

    The pittsburgh steelers have been a non-factor since their team doctor (dr. richard rydze) was investigated and indicted by federal authorities for illegal distribution of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.

    Expect a struggling mediocrity from the 2014 pittsburgh steelers.

  8. bassplucker says: Jul 15, 2014 2:51 PM

    Not sure the Steelers are better than the Chargers or Chiefs right now… but they’re all within a tick or two of each other no matter how you slice it.

  9. longsufferingkcfan says: Jul 15, 2014 2:51 PM

    “I own the Steelers.” – Tim Tebow

  10. lackofabetter says: Jul 15, 2014 2:52 PM

    Unless the injuries start piling up, I think its going to be a great Steelers team and another rough and tumble year in the North.

  11. stillersfan says: Jul 15, 2014 2:53 PM

    You just couldn’t miss an opportunity to bash Ben, could you?

  12. lackofabetter says: Jul 15, 2014 2:54 PM

    “Is this supposed to be the Retirement Home Football League rankings?

    The whole Pittsburgh Steelers team is as old as dirt.”

    —-
    You simply just don’t know what you’re talking about.

  13. scoops1 says: Jul 15, 2014 2:54 PM

    Old…Slow…and Its Over!!

  14. gregoryp3234 says: Jul 15, 2014 2:54 PM

    this is pretty funny. the dolphins beat this old as dirt steelers team last year in pitt and the dolphins are ranked 31st and the steelers are ranked 15th. This steelers team might, just might win 6 games this year, thats how bad they are. oh no wait, but its the steelers, so the NFL will fix them to win 11 games.

  15. bosssteelerchick says: Jul 15, 2014 2:55 PM

    The whole team is old as dirt? You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  16. longsufferingkcfan says: Jul 15, 2014 2:55 PM

    Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowls: 1
    Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowls (without the aid of steroids or referees): 0

  17. calhounlambeau says: Jul 15, 2014 2:57 PM

    The Steelers arent as old as people think. Outside of 3-4 old pro-bowlers they’re pretty young now.

  18. Steeley McBeam says: Jul 15, 2014 2:59 PM

    Fine, fair enough. But to complete a write-up which includes strengths of the team without mentioning Cam Heyward is an incomplete write-up.

    Also, the reason for so many changes is the youth movement. Sure these guys are unproven in Black and Gold, but that doesnt mean they will be less effective than the older players they are replacing. Mike Mitchell is the biggest signing since Ryan Clark – a staple in the great Steelers defenses of the 2000s. Shazier is a marked improvement over an over-the-hill Larry Foote and an over-his-head Vince Williams. Jarvis Jones was inserted too early but really came on late and will improve. The only starters over 30 are Ike and Troy — and Troy was a Pro Bowler last season.

    On offense, the WR drop-off will be insignificant. Wheaton and Sanders have identical skill sets and Moore and Bryant will more than make-up for the ‘right spot in the red zone’ Cotchery. AB is still one of the leagues top wide outs and Heath will be as dependable as ever. RB will be a one-two punch then a run right past you with Archer.

    Why isnt the biggest offseason accusition of all, Mike Munchuk, even mentioned? The Steelers have all the talent in the World on the OLine and should finally put it all together. With injuries, Pouncey and DeCastro have played a total of 3 games together in their career.

    I’m less concerned with the ranking, which seems fair, and more surprised by the lack of recognition the Steelers’ moves have gotten throughout the country this offseason.

    Bring on the Ravens and Bengals!!

  19. edzo82270 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:00 PM

    I’ll never count the Steelers out but there are more questions than usual with this franchise. While they have to be commended as a strong franchise from the owners on down to the staff, there are more than a few “if’s” on this squad, like the transition to youth and their passing offense being the main two.

  20. sbchampsagain says: Jul 15, 2014 3:02 PM

    Maybe this is the year Ziggy Hood produces!

    LOL @ Colbert.

  21. wydok says: Jul 15, 2014 3:03 PM

    Seems right to me.

  22. dirtydrynn27 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:04 PM

    How many Superbowls your team won years ago is irrevelant.How your team performs today is what counts,Steeler fans and Cowboy fans are notorious for this but in the mean time both teams are stinking up the joint while reliving the past

    PATHETIC!!!!!!

  23. sbchampsagain says: Jul 15, 2014 3:04 PM

    Jump Ball Ben will have a good season as long as Santonio Holmes is there to catch his hail mary passes.

    Wait, just a bunch of no names and flame-outs. Bryant, Wheaton, Heyward Bey, Moore…

    #LOL@Colbert

  24. wiztopher says: Jul 15, 2014 3:04 PM

    The Steelers have done nothing to deserve a 15 spot on the list. They are a franchise The NFL has past by.

  25. RexCanCoach says: Jul 15, 2014 3:04 PM

    Jets > Steelers

  26. brokebackbrees says: Jul 15, 2014 3:04 PM

    15 is a bit high. Lol@Retirement Home Football Ranking. Old and slow. For once Sapp was correct.

  27. Steeley McBeam says: Jul 15, 2014 3:06 PM

    sbchampsagain says:

    Maybe this is the year Ziggy Hood produces!

    ————–

    Or maybe Sergio Kindle!

    LOL @ Ozzie.

  28. Smash-Mouth.com says: Jul 15, 2014 3:07 PM

    I do think there is good reason to think the Steelers will be better this season, but a #15 ranking is not wholly unreasonable considering they finished 8-8 last season.

    I do question the “less-than-beloved by the locker room at large” tag you put on Roethlisberger, however. That may have been true at one time, but he’s really cleaned his act up the last couple years, he’s also taken on much more of a leadership role and I think that’s resonated with the rest of the team.

    One other guy that I think deserves special mention here is Cam Heyward. The DE position in the 3-4 doesn’t get much love, but this guy has very quickly shown himself to be an excellent (and NASTY) d-lineman. If you’re looking for one guy to step up on that defense and assume a leadership position in the future, its this kid.

  29. udontknowjaq says: Jul 15, 2014 3:07 PM

    I love hearing:

    Tebowed
    Steriods
    Refs Cheat
    Fat Big Ben
    Old as dirt
    Slow

    It gives me my best laughs of the day!
    Haters gonna hate! I think this ranking is fair even if i think the Steelers are better than the Cardinals, Ravens, & Falcons. But thats why they play the games.. Preseason rankings are for debate purposes anyway..

  30. Canton Bulldogs says: Jul 15, 2014 3:08 PM

    12 teams make the playoffs right? If you expect them to go wouldn’t they be in the top 12 at least? I’m not even a fan, just pointing out the discrepancy.

  31. southpaw2k says: Jul 15, 2014 3:08 PM

    cornellsteelers says:

    “Too low. The Steelers are a borderline top 10 team, something that will become readily apparent when the season begins.

    Also, why are you ranking them 15th when you expect them to return to the playoffs this season?”

    Time will tell, as it always does.

    As for the apparent conflict between ranking them 15 now but projecting them as a playoff team, know two things:

    1. Power rankings don’t mean jack; they merely exist to give people stuff to talk/complain about.

    2. This time last year, many people had teams like Atlanta near the top of their preseason rankings, but Atlanta wound up having an abysmal season. A team who’s ranked 15 right now has at least a shot at making the postseason in the eyes of the writer(s).

  32. deziaintbryantit says: Jul 15, 2014 3:14 PM

    “No active quarterback other than Tom Brady has won as many Super Bowls”

    Eli Manning has two as well, c’mon Florio!

  33. udontknowjaq says: Jul 15, 2014 3:18 PM

    This is Power ranking of all 32 teams not just the AFC, the Steelers finishing 15th & them making the playofs mean there are More NFC teams in the top half that will not make the playoffs. For the ppl saying why the Steelers ranked this low and making the playoffs.

  34. stillers213 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:19 PM

    I have never seen so many ignorant and uninformed fans in one place in my life. Look up avg age of NFL teams and tell me where the Steelers rank. Yeah, that’s what I thought morons.
    I’m used to the typical AFN North jealous trolls, but the Jets – Steelers comparisons here are completely laughable.

  35. jjackwagon says: Jul 15, 2014 3:22 PM

    Maybe better than the Chiefs or Chargers on a given day but not better than both. And all three are ranked a little low.

  36. oldbrowndawg says: Jul 15, 2014 3:22 PM

    Frankly, I can’t wait for September 7th. That’s the day I think the vaunted “Steeler Nation” gets a pretty powerful shock!

  37. citizenstrange says: Jul 15, 2014 3:23 PM

    The Steelers have lost their last three openers in a row by an average score of 27-11.

    That’s just what a great coaching job Tomlin does getting them ready for the season. But Roethlisberger seems to be excited about the no huddle so maybe he can crack 13 points. Maybe not.

    Unless the defense scores a couple of touchdowns the Steelers will lose at home to Hoyer and the Browns.

  38. Nofoolnodrool says: Jul 15, 2014 3:24 PM

    Jump Ball Ben will have a good season as long as Santonio Holmes is there to catch his hail mary passes.

    Wait, just a bunch of no names and flame-outs. Bryant, Wheaton, Heyward Bey, Moore…

    #LOL@Colbert

    Hey dude I have to give you credit for being consistent as the above post is as childish as your many in defense of elevator Ray rice.

    I think the ranking may be a hit to high as too many things have to be just right for this too happen. If they start fast it may be too low, but they are rebuilding. Go steelers.

  39. jtbsteeler says: Jul 15, 2014 3:31 PM

    Camp starts next Friday. The time for clowning and disrespect will come to an end. I haven’t been this anxious for the season to start in a looooong time.

    The Bungles aren’t anxious, they know how their season ends already. In an embarrassment.

    The Ravens anticipate Rice being suspended and they don’t have a clue about Flacco because he’s Jekyll and Hyde.

    We will own this site and division by October 15th.

  40. holeinone09 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:34 PM

    I personally thought the Steelers would be ranked closer to 10, but it really does not matter where they are ranked. I believe they have a chance to dramatically improve in many areas this year and hopefully avoid some of the big injuries they have experienced, while dealing with a retooling on defense. I think the offense can be much more potent, with a more experienced and healthy OL and an improved running attack to complement the passing game.

    This year, it will be up to the defense to show it can get the job done.

    I am very excited about their prospects, and expect them to get back to the playoffs. While it is always tough battling in the division, I think the Browns are just not good enough right now, the Ravens are not what they were a few years ago and have a variety of off-field distractions, and the Bengals are over-rated and can’t win a playoff game with Dalton at QB. The Steelers should be the most improved team this year.

  41. revelation123 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:35 PM

    The Steelers are a dangerous team with Big Ben and Bell.

  42. steelersfanjclii says: Jul 15, 2014 3:37 PM

    Off-season arrests:

    Ravens – 5
    Steelers – 0

    That is the only think the Ravens will win this year.

  43. southpaw2k says: Jul 15, 2014 3:40 PM

    stillers213 says:

    “I have never seen so many ignorant and uninformed fans in one place in my life. Look up avg age of NFL teams and tell me where the Steelers rank. Yeah, that’s what I thought morons.”

    At least on defense, Steelers were ranked oldest on that side of the ball in 2013, according to Football Outsiders. And that was even after letting go of Casey Hampton and James Harrison. And you still have Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu.

    I don’t know where the offense ranked, but there you go.

  44. moeman79 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:40 PM

    Ready for this bomb Steeler fans, after the bill cowher era it has been a slow decline for your team. Tomlin might be a good coach but your personnel department has failed. A few old pieces left but you haven’t filled in enough for what you are losing. Unless some players surprise everyone and step up big time, you are a rebuilding team. This is a generous ranking based off of Big Ben and past success.

  45. greenlantern75 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:43 PM

    Too high easily…No dog in this hunt, but you have Ben…a nice group of LBs…and a nice grouping of RBs….and the Steeler mystique I guess…

  46. weepingjebus says: Jul 15, 2014 3:45 PM

    Roethlisberger is also the only NFL QB smart enough to wear a helmet during football but take it off for a motorcycle ride.

  47. 6xchampsravenssuck says: Jul 15, 2014 3:46 PM

    It’s funny because all you haters are hating for a reason ben has 2 rings in 3 appearances in 9 years so you can’t put the steelers in the same sentence as the cowboys and as far as the chiefs and chargers I would take my team all day over both .Steelers have been plugging and playing since Ben has been there you can only name 1 wr that was there almost his whole career and that hienz are wr group is going to be sick they drafted Wheaton to replace Wallace and he couldn’t get on the field due to a broken finger Wallace’s quickness Antonio’s route running and you have the future no 2 in Wheaton.Bryants going to take a year to turn his raw ability into the next randy moss but Bryant’s faster .Haters will always hate and I’m sure the majority’s ravens fans looking at the steelers blog trying to figure out how are front office is so good and just two years outta the playoffs were back already and season hasn’t even started.

  48. vaughnjoe says: Jul 15, 2014 3:47 PM

    Darker days ahead for the steelers… Go Chargers!! 2014!!

  49. steelerswinagain says: Jul 15, 2014 3:48 PM

    How many Superbowls your team won years ago is irrevelant.How your team performs today is what counts,Steeler fans and Cowboy fans are notorious for this but in the mean time both teams are stinking up the joint while reliving the past

    PATHETIC!!!!!!

    The Steelers were in the Superbowl 3 years ago, 5 years ago, and 8 years ago. The Cowboys have not won a playoff game since the last millennium. We had two lackluster years while infusing new blood. Comparison fail.

  50. 6xchampsravenssuck says: Jul 15, 2014 3:55 PM

    Hate to break it to you charger fans but if rivers couldn’t get it done with a great wr in v jax a great d a great rb in lt a great TE in gates it’s not going to happen with wood head and Allen

  51. yate3097 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:57 PM

    Florio is a Steelers fan. That is the only reason they are this high. This is a team in decline.

  52. edzo82270 says: Jul 15, 2014 3:58 PM

    6xchampsravenssuck says: Bryants going to take a year to turn his raw ability into the next randy moss

    I don’t mind you being fiercely loyal to your team but comparing him to Moss and needing a year to sharpen his raw ability doesn’t warrant a comparison to a top 5 all timer. Sorry pal. Not saying he can’t be a productive player and future All-Pro, but Moss types don’t come along all that often.

  53. 6xchampsravenssuck says: Jul 15, 2014 3:59 PM

    And the funniest of all steelers might of loss some key players due to age speed whatever ravens finally got a sb ring and that’s only because steelers missed the dance that year but just two years out and only have 2 players that were on there sb roster on d just two years ago LoL

  54. bucsorbust says: Jul 15, 2014 4:01 PM

    I’ve called the priest and the witchdoctor to come to my house right away, for this is truly Armageddon. I know this, for we now live in a world where someone thinks the Browns are in the top half of the NFL power rankings. The end of the world is nigh.

  55. calvinthegreat82 says: Jul 15, 2014 4:02 PM

    yate3097 says:
    Jul 15, 2014 3:57 PM
    Florio is a Steelers fan. That is the only reason they are this high. This is a team in decline.

    *****************************************’
    Florio is a lifelong Viking’s fan. Google it before putting a guess up, duh!

  56. southpaw2k says: Jul 15, 2014 4:05 PM

    bucsorbust says:

    “I’ve called the priest and the witchdoctor to come to my house right away, for this is truly Armageddon. I know this, for we now live in a world where someone thinks the Browns are in the top half of the NFL power rankings. The end of the world is nigh.”

    No, we don’t. The Browns are #22.

  57. nickinneohio says: Jul 15, 2014 4:07 PM

    Instead, offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. got the boot — replaced by Hall of Famer and former Titans coach Mike Munchak, who given the competition could possibly still win a backup job on the team.

    There you go! ’nuff said.

  58. dcapettini says: Jul 15, 2014 4:08 PM

    If the Steelers are better than the Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Chiefs and Chargers, they will make it to the playoffs. Who else are they?

    The Steelers restructured too many times to keep guys they should have let go, but Ben has been pretty reliable and cap friendly so they have stayed in contention. If they can get control of the cap, they will be back soon. It is a smart organization with knowledgeable fans and a great tradition.

  59. tedmurph says: Jul 15, 2014 4:18 PM

    Could be a 10 win team if they can replace the 113 receptions they lost and the 2ndary holds up.

  60. tictoccpthook says: Jul 15, 2014 4:19 PM

    ‘That’s why they they play the game’. The Steelers are reloaded for a run through the playoffs with youth, speed, power, and experience where it counts. Las Vegas will be glad to accept the $ of the naysayers , while the rest of us await the Steelers – Jets playoff for AFC Champs.

  61. notwhoyouthinkitis says: Jul 15, 2014 4:23 PM

    People seem to conveniently forget that the Steelers finished 8-4 last year after the poor start. And the offense was clicking. Ben had an excellent year. Even the D picked it up.

    People also seem to forget that the Steelers, in a down year, still finished at .500. Lots of team would love to just finish .500 for once in many seasons.

    Steelers will finish the coming season around 10-6. No doubt about it at all. In the playoffs but probably won’t go too far beyond this year.

  62. Nofoolnodrool says: Jul 15, 2014 4:24 PM

    The Steelers restructured too many times to keep guys they should have let go, but Ben has been pretty reliable and cap friendly so they have stayed in contention. If they can get control of the cap, they will be back soon. It is a smart organization with knowledgeable fans and a great tradition.

    0 0
    Do you feel ok? Your last sentence is the smartest thing you have ever typed……I am in awe. Your cap concerns are pointless with the escalation coming each year, but yes they need to be more careful.

  63. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 15, 2014 4:25 PM

    This team has been trending down so I find 15 a little high. I didn’t read anything to convince me it will reverse.

  64. FoozieGrooler says: Jul 15, 2014 4:28 PM

    The Steelers had a lousy start last year at 0-4, but they came on very strong in the second half of the season.
    If that can carry over into this year, they’re going to surprise a lot of people…

  65. realmenwearstripes says: Jul 15, 2014 4:38 PM

    The Steelers at 15 in a division with the Bengals and the Ravens.

    The Super Bowl winner comes out of the AFC (B)east this season.

  66. crownofthehelmet says: Jul 15, 2014 4:47 PM

    “1″ ranking would have been accurate, maybe even “5″. But a 15? Ridiculous. Steelers have the best QB in the NFL, best RB in the NFL, best WR in the NFL, best TE in the NFL, best safety in the NFL, and best LB group in the NFL.

  67. realmenwearstripes says: Jul 15, 2014 4:50 PM

    Did I say East? I meant North. (passes the pipe)

  68. overratedsteelerhater says: Jul 15, 2014 4:52 PM

    off season not over yet Steelers fans.you never know when your going to pick up the paper and bang there it is,steeler player poped for something..

  69. lanman11 says: Jul 15, 2014 5:14 PM

    Soooo, what you are saying at 15, they are ….mediocre. That’s mediocre. Is that right?

  70. tavisteelersfan says: Jul 15, 2014 5:15 PM

    Only a football fool would bet against Heath Miller.

    He is a beast and the consumate professional. He put so much into covering poor offensive line play that people lose sight of how good a weapon he is. Look at Munchak, Pouncey, and the backfield. You fantasy buffs … place your bets on Miller.

    A great player.

  71. Nofoolnodrool says: Jul 15, 2014 5:19 PM

    Could be a 10 win team if they can replace the 113 receptions they lost and the 2ndary holds up.

    2 0
    Report comment

    For an avid Steeler hater such a cautious statement indicates your concern for a team that may have turned it around. Your fear is recognized and noted.

  72. bblocker68 says: Jul 15, 2014 5:27 PM

    I’ll give it three games and Sapp will be saying “The Steelers are too young…………..”.

    Cam Heyward is a beast and now my favorite Steeler. Can’t wait to see him wreck it up.

    I cant rank them. I drank the Koolaid last year and watched those first awful 8 games. The last 8, they were 6-2, so I hope they can keep the run going.

    We’ll find out soon.

  73. trollaikman8 says: Jul 15, 2014 5:34 PM

    Roethlisberger inherited a great team many years ago and now he has a crappy team….he is not a difference maker. The guy is a dive and probably a rapist.

    6-10

    #HaleysDisgustedFace

  74. kcflake says: Jul 15, 2014 5:41 PM

    No Way the Steelers should have ranked higher than My Chiefs. Pittsburgh will not make the playoffs.

  75. jredshoes says: Jul 15, 2014 5:41 PM

    As long as Todd Haley runs your offense you’ll be waiting for someone to lose again next January to sniff the playoffs

  76. trubblman says: Jul 15, 2014 6:13 PM

    The disclaimer is I am a Ravens fan. Power rankings arent worth the paper they are printed on.

  77. Ed Bandell says: Jul 15, 2014 6:18 PM

    “The Ravens anticipate Rice being suspended and they don’t have a clue about Flacco because he’s Jekyll and Hyde.

    We will own this site and division by October 15th.”

    Yes, they are preparing for being without Ray Rice by looking to Bernard Pierce who has been a capable back up when healthy, brought in Justin Forsett, and drafted a bruiser back that should be able to help out as well.

    Your comment about Flacco shows that you just simply don’t know what you are talking about.

    2008: 11-5 2.971yds 14TD 12 INT (won 2 playoff games)
    2009: 9-7 3,613yds 21TD 12 INT (won a playoff game)
    2010: 12-4 3,622yds 25TD 10 INT (Won a playoff game)
    2011: 12-4 3,610uds 20TD 10 INT (won a playoff game)
    2012: 10-6 3,817yds 22TD 10INT (won 4 playoff games including the superbowl)
    2013: 8-8 3,912yds 19TD 22INT (missed playoffs)

    So one down year all of a sudden shows him to be inconsistent…especially when his main targets were either traded away or hurt, had no running game to speak off, and had no offensive line.

  78. Ed Bandell says: Jul 15, 2014 6:19 PM

    Also, when are the Steelers fans planning on approaching PFT to buy the site. Are they planning on changing the name of the site too once they own it?

  79. trubblman says: Jul 15, 2014 6:19 PM

    The problem with the Steelers is they lack lost when Hines Ward was released and as forty three ages. Hines Ward got the tough third downs allowing Steelers to maintain drives. And 43 was a sheer playmaker. With a defense that got that back for the defense, and an offense that rarely turned over the ball the Steelers were able to go to 3 SBs and win 2 in the 2000s. They have yet to replace 86 and 43 and it shows.

  80. largent80100 says: Jul 15, 2014 6:20 PM

    Too high, I put have them around 17-19

    Biggest disagreement along with Miami at #31, is this all about Ben? He can be the top QB outside from the elite four and Antonio Brown is an elite playmaker, but overall they are an already old team that’s now even older.

    8-8 to steal Dallas place as the forever .500 team.

  81. largent80100 says: Jul 15, 2014 6:21 PM

    * I put have them

    More like I would put them, right?

  82. cannonballdookie says: Jul 15, 2014 6:39 PM

    I love the steelers team they’re bringing into the 2014 season. They have a few vets who can still produce, along with plenty of promising young talent on offense and defense despite what the trolls say.
    My only gripe is the massive contract they gave to pouncey. He just came off a serious injury, doesn’t seem like a great guy off the field, and the line performed much better than in years past without him. Why pay a center all that money unless you’re a mediocre team like Cleveland or Jacksonville.

  83. Nofoolnodrool says: Jul 15, 2014 6:42 PM

    Too high, I put have them around 17-19

    Biggest disagreement along with Miami at #31, is this all about Ben? He can be the top QB outside from the elite four and Antonio Brown is an elite playmaker, but overall they are an already old team that’s now even older.

    8-8 to steal Dallas place as the forever .500 team.

    0 0
    Report comment. Old team? You are wondering in the desert with a blind camel and No adderall ..the five hour energy of the Seahawks.

  84. burndownhottopic says: Jul 15, 2014 6:56 PM

    I’ve been watching these mouth breathers for too long to ever count them out. Ben and his boys always seem to get a few where the hell is that rule call from the refs. I have a real feeling that this division is going to be Baltimore/Pittsburgh again. Best 2 QBs in the division. Dandy Dalton will crap the bed this year.

  85. vaughnjoe says: Jul 15, 2014 7:26 PM

    Go Chargers 2014!!!!!!

  86. brownsmakemecrazy says: Jul 15, 2014 7:27 PM

    I have the Steelers going 12-4. That would put them way higher than 15. THEY have a very easy schedule.

    CLE W
    @ BAL L
    @ CAR W
    TB W
    @ JAX L
    @ CLE W
    HOU W
    IND W
    BAL W
    @ NYJ W
    @ TEN W
    NO W
    @ CIN L
    @ ATL L
    KC W
    CIN W

  87. yate3097 says: Jul 15, 2014 7:45 PM

    calvinthegreat82 says:
    Jul 15, 2014 4:02 PM

    yate3097 says:
    Jul 15, 2014 3:57 PM
    Florio is a Steelers fan. That is the only reason they are this high. This is a team in decline.

    *****************************************’
    Florio is a lifelong Viking’s fan. Google it before putting a guess up, duh!

    I didn’t say “favorite” team, I said “fan of”. I’m well aware his favorite team is the Vikings. Wikipedia says so, right?

    But, he seems to be a fan of the steelers too. He grew up roughly 50 miles away and, while he has certainly had public issues with them before, often speaks supportively of them. So, I’d say he’s a fan to some degree.

    It is possible to be a fan of more than one team you know. Thanks for the comment anyway.

  88. vaughnjoe says: Jul 15, 2014 7:46 PM

    With what Defense??? lmao

  89. vaughnjoe says: Jul 15, 2014 7:47 PM

    Pittsburgh Paper Tigers

  90. 6xchampsravenssuck says: Jul 15, 2014 8:26 PM

    This just shows how ignorant people are we had two down seasons but in those two seasons Ben played some of his best football if we had leveon from week 1 last year we would of deff made the play offs no question were going to start this season with a sick back field and there for we will be a playoff contender and are d was 10th in passing d last year are run d was the problem and they took care of that are lb core is one of the best right now so look for steelers d to be a top ten this year and I’ll take that because are off avg 28pts a game last 8 games last year.There looking to avg 30 a game this year all are loses last year were are d giving up big plays on the back end but Troy was playing in the box and clark list a step we brought in mitchell troys going to be at his normal SS position and shazier the 2014 rookie of the year going to play what polumalu did last year in the box against the run and will be a force to reckon with 4 ints 130 tackles and 8 sacks you haters just sit back and watch go steelers

  91. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 15, 2014 8:28 PM

    Unless the NFL begins to allow coaches to interfere with the play on field, it will be another long one for the Steelers.

  92. 6xchampsravenssuck says: Jul 15, 2014 8:36 PM

    Face you haters Pittsburg is back and ready to make a run Big Ben knows what he has around him and that’s why he’s not stressing a new contract this year will show everyone he has a great 4 years left in the tank his whole style has changed for the better his stats since Haley has been here will prove that

  93. calvinthegreat82 says: Jul 15, 2014 8:48 PM

    yate3097 says:
    Jul 15, 2014 7:45 PM
    calvinthegreat82 says:
    Jul 15, 2014 4:02 PM

    yate3097 says:
    Jul 15, 2014 3:57 PM
    Florio is a Steelers fan. That is the only reason they are this high. This is a team in decline.

    *****************************************’
    Florio is a lifelong Viking’s fan. Google it before putting a guess up, duh!

    I didn’t say “favorite” team, I said “fan of”. I’m well aware his favorite team is the Vikings. Wikipedia says so, right?

    But, he seems to be a fan of the steelers too. He grew up roughly 50 miles away and, while he has certainly had public issues with them before, often speaks supportively of them. So, I’d say he’s a fan to some degree.

    It is possible to be a fan of more than one team you know. Thanks for the comment anyway.

    *******************************************
    You’re extremely upset about me calling you out and you have made many feeble attempts to cover it up and salvage your reputation on here. In turn you have made yourself look like a bigger fool, than you already have.

    #1) I never said favorite, you did. You said “Florio is a Steelers fan.”

    #2) “seems to be a Steelers fan” nothing to back that up, strictly speculation.

    #3) You have to be a Ravens fan because they are the biggest wagon jumpers in the NFL fan pool. You pick one team and stand by them. period.

    Thanks for embarrassing yourself further.

    P.S. I love how your logic is based on the mileage from where he grew up from the Steelers. You’re nuts dude! Get Bent!

    Go Lions!!

  94. nflgiant says: Jul 15, 2014 9:05 PM

    10-6 at best…………..7-9 at worst……..

  95. lp0320 says: Jul 15, 2014 9:39 PM

    I think the Steelers have improved for the 2014 season. Ben will come in strong, he is in the top 5 QBs behind Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Brees. Definitely better than Romo, Ryan, Rivers, Flacco, Stafford, Wilson, Luck and Kaepernick.

    However, that being said, they seem to lose to teams that are not as good. So let’s hope they pull together, put it all out there and go at least 11 – 5 this year, make the playoffs, and give Ben the contract he deserves.

  96. tedmurph says: Jul 15, 2014 10:00 PM

    For an avid Steeler hater such a cautious statement indicates your concern for a team that may have turned it around. Your fear is recognized and noted.

    As I’ve said before, I have the utmost respect for the Steeler organization, and their excellence over the years. As an outsider, and a fan of a team that’s abused the Steelers over the yrs, and broken their arrogant fan’s dreams, I call it like I see it. It’s most of their fans that detract from that legacy. No one is afraid of the Steelers. Just said they’d be much improved and pretty good. The AFC summit meeting is between Denver and NE. That’s just how it is. Everyone knows that.

  97. ravenswinsuperbowl47 says: Jul 15, 2014 10:21 PM

    Looking back: the Steelers of the 70s and 00′s were powerful teams which deserved their Super Bowl achievements. The 1976 Steel Curtain ranks right up there with the 1970 Colts, 1985 Bears, and 2000 Ravens.

    Alas, the remainder of Steelers history is somewhere between mediocre and dismal. Pre-Noll Steelers teams had the worst record since the NFL’s inception. As the pendulum continues to swing downwards, watch the 2015 Steelers continue the playoff-less streak to 4-more as the future for this franchise will resemble the 1930s-1960s more than the 1970s.

    15 is a stretch. 20-25 is more likely.

  98. neverwave says: Jul 15, 2014 10:38 PM

    @Ed Bandell

    Those stats are all great for the team. And love all the excuses. at the end of your rant.

    But remind us all of Flacco’s stats for each of those seasons…yeah thought so…..

  99. seattlesue427 says: Jul 15, 2014 10:46 PM

    Ever since they bought and paid for Super Bowl XL, they’ve been cursed. Karma is a biotch!

  100. 12thman84 says: Jul 15, 2014 10:50 PM

    If they start fast it may be too low, but they are rebuilding. Go steelers
    ——————————————————–

    Skippy, badly managed teams “rebuild.” Teams with excellent management reload.

    Go Hawks

  101. fromundamahjunk says: Jul 15, 2014 10:52 PM

    I like Ben, I like Tomlin, and I like what the Steelers are about. (Being a Bears fan, that “hard-nosed, gritty, get your jersey dirty” approach appeals to me.) Having said that, I think 15 is about right. They haven’t re-loaded at the skill positions. Not as bad off as Baltimore, but not on the way up, either. I imagine the Bengals will win the division, and the Steelers will just miss the wild-card at 8-8 or 7-9.

  102. lennymoorerules says: Jul 15, 2014 11:15 PM

    Pittsburgh will always be Pittsburgh period. I think they stand a good chance to make the playoffs if they stay healthy.

  103. mrneto72 says: Jul 16, 2014 12:07 AM

    Ranked way too high

  104. natelan says: Jul 16, 2014 4:36 AM

    That was SO FUNNY last year when Steelers fans thought they were playoff bound, then all f the sudden, my Chargers were like, “Nope!”

    Steelers fans were crying and screaming for weeks!

  105. jamnew44 says: Jul 16, 2014 8:39 AM

    The number 15 ranking for the Steelers seems pretty fair considering the unknown abilities at wide receiver and corner. The offensive line has better coaching and it should show improvement. Ben, the running backs corps, and the linebackers look solid. The defensive line has young talent and should be better. Safety is a unknown.

  106. pittsburghfan71 says: Jul 16, 2014 8:52 AM

    I think 15 is about right for the Steelers. I can see them going 8-8 or 9-7 this year. They could do worse but they could do better as well. If our last 2 #1 picks dont pan out we will have to keep drafting LB’s and that is going to hurt us but i hope they get it right.

    Its going to be a tough fight again in the AFC North, the Ravens will probably show up on the list 9-13th and the Bengals would probably be just infront of them.

  107. dmretrogames says: Jul 16, 2014 9:36 AM

    Why no love for Lance Moore? He’s an upgrade over Cotchery. His teammates said he was like a mini Hines Ward in mini camp.

    Anyway, it’s all won or lost at the line of scrimmage. The Steelers sucked in the first half last season because they couldn’t block on offense, and couldn’t get off of blocks on defense.

    Don’t fix that, nothing else matters.

  108. superdave4good says: Jul 16, 2014 11:09 AM

    15 is too low but that’s okay. Flying under the radar & being discounted as mediocre is a good thing. The Steelers have plenty to prove but there’s no doubting how much injuries have played a role in the last two 8-8 seasons. Munchak will get this line to play better for sure but he can’t prevent freak injuries. If our young players can step up a bit, watch out for SB win #7 and yes, that would be SB win #3 for Big Ben (out of 4 trips). #DONTCALLITACOMEBACK!!!

  109. clashpoint says: Jul 16, 2014 11:31 AM

    I love it! The Steelers play a lot better as underdogs.

  110. jacktheraven says: Jul 16, 2014 12:21 PM

    Sounds like another 8-8 season. Bummer.

  111. tavisteelersfan says: Jul 16, 2014 2:55 PM

    So one day after I post about Heath Miller and my expectations for him, ESPN publishes a piece titled: “Heath Miller poised for big season”.

    Now they make a much bigger deal out of his recovery from the 2012 ACL than I think is warranted … the problem is that they started the season without a running back and Pouncey is wiped out in Game 1, the whole line and it’s zone running scheme goes down the toilet and, well, Miller plays chip block for most of the rest of the year.

    Watch out people. They have Pouncey back. Probably the best O line coach in football in Munchak on the payroll, and Bell, Blount and Archer in the backfield. Miller will get his chances.

  112. jacktheraven says: Jul 16, 2014 3:37 PM

    It’s July. We ALL have SB dreams for this season. I am surprised though at the amount of hope steeler fans have getting their center back. Can Pouncey win 2 or 3 more games for them?

  113. natelan says: Jul 16, 2014 3:48 PM

    Bengals own this division now, whether you like it or not. The question then becomes whether you are better than the Chargers/Chiefs and/or the Ravens/Dolphins, which you proved last year, that “No!”, you are worse than all said teams.

    Welcome to indefinite mediocrity… The Bengals and Browns have kept the seat warm, now sit down and enjoy it.

  114. udontknowjaq says: Jul 16, 2014 9:03 PM

    The Ravens so far 3 spots better than the Steelers is very suspect. Watching C span was more interesting then the Ravens offense last year & they add a combine 67 years of age to it.. Also 2 starters from the Def from 2 years ago are left & it was not ranked in the top 10 either year.. But they ranked in the top 12? I may be a homer but i dont see them finishing better than the Steelers..

  115. 6superbowls says: Jul 17, 2014 7:58 AM

    The Ratbirds don’t belong ranked higher than the Steelers. Not with their arrest-filled off season. Harbaugh boys should be proud this offseason. League leaders in restating the arrest meter.

  116. enoughofthatalready says: Jul 20, 2014 12:50 PM

    That was SO FUNNY last year when Steelers fans thought they were playoff bound, then all f the sudden, my Chargers were like, “Nope!”
    -
    First, I did not know that you owned the Chargers. Second, the back up Chiefs should have beaten “your” Chargers.

  117. enoughofthatalready says: Jul 20, 2014 12:54 PM

    At least on defense, Steelers were ranked oldest on that side of the ball in 2013, according to Football Outsiders. And that was even after letting go of Casey Hampton and James Harrison. And you still have Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu.

    I don’t know where the offense ranked, but there you go.
    -
    Brett Kiesel, Larry Foote and Ryan Clark are out (3 starters each well over 30 years old). Their replacements (Truitt – rookie, Shazier – rookier, and Mitchell – 27). Check again.

  118. enoughofthatalready says: Jul 20, 2014 1:00 PM

    Looking back: the Steelers of the 70s and 00′s were powerful teams which deserved their Super Bowl achievements. The 1976 Steel Curtain ranks right up there with the 1970 Colts, 1985 Bears, and 2000 Ravens.

    Alas, the remainder of Steelers history is somewhere between mediocre and dismal. Pre-Noll Steelers teams had the worst record since the NFL’s inception. As the pendulum continues to swing downwards, watch the 2015 Steelers continue the playoff-less streak to 4-more as the future for this franchise will resemble the 1930s-1960s more than the 1970s.

    15 is a stretch. 20-25 is more likely.
    -
    And how about the Ravens while they were formerly known as the Browns? No titles from 1964 until Modell copped out and took the team to Baltimore. The records stayed behind but the Ravens were the Browns. Ray Lewis and Jonathan Odgen (the foundation of the 2000 Ravens title team) were drafted where they were because of the record that the Browns earned. You need to read more in order to learn exactly why the Steelers were less than average pre-Noll. Football was not Rooney’s priority for years and the coaching/drafting/player development stategy was unheard of until Noll changed it. Plus a low payroll team like the Steelers could never compete with the likes of the Packers, Bears and the Giants when the Steelers were in the old NFL Conference. Not excuses……facts.

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