Saturday, July 26, 2008

Only Seven Months Until the Steelers Win the Super Bowl

Did this offseason seem oddly short compared to others? And weird? Nobody got arrested, so that's great, but last week we find out that the team might be up for sale. I'm actually glad training camp is here, and for more than the obvious "hey, we finally have something to talk about" reasons. Primarily because get to hear about something other than Jim Druckenmiller's dad's interest in buying the hometown team, or that the Browns are going to be AWESOME this season!11!!

Anyway, everybody's signed and healthy, and the 2008 season officially starts tomorrow. I'm pumped. Since most of the reports over the next week will be of the "that guy looks really good in practice" variety, this seems like as good a time as any to humbly scribble our expectations for this team, keeping in mind that a) there's no o-line to speak of, b) the special teams is non-existent, and b) Mark Madden no longer works for ESPN 1250.

For me, it's pretty simple: in light of the commissioner obviously wanting the Steelers to fail (thanks for the schedule ... jerk), I'd love to see:
  • Big Ben get sacked fewer than 35 times (that's roughly 2.2 times per game, which seems like a lot until you realize he's gone down 400 times the last two seasons),
  • a balanced running game that featured fewer -1 yard FWP runs, and more 3-plus-yard Rashard Mendenhall carries,
  • an opponents average starting field position after kickoffs of the 35-yard line, and
  • an improved sophomore season from ROBO-PUNTER.
Too optimistic? Eh, maybe, but I expect Roethlisberger to go bonkers in Year 5 (that's laudatory, by the way). And for some insane reason, I'm not that worried about the offensive line. Of course, that could promptly change after the first series of the first preseason game, but until then, I will remain blissfully ignorant. So, hooray for being dumb. Or some such.