The opening weekend of the 2012 NFL season is almost upon us. It’s been a long off-season, particularly for Pittsburgh Steelers fans as injuries have really worked over the roster. So, with only days until the first game of the season, it’s only fitting that I take a shot at predicting the starters on offense and defense for the season opener.
Quarterback-Ben Roethlisberger. The easiest one of them all.
Running back-Jonathan Dwyer. While I suspect that Isaac Redman will get his fair share of touches, Dwyer is the more healthy of the tw0 and has had a solid preseason and will get the start.
Fullback-Will Johnson. Johnson is the starting fullback, but I’m not sure if he’ll start at all. The Steelers have been known to list 3 WR or 2 TE in the starting lineup and forgo a fullback altogether.
Wide receivers-Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown(Emanuel Sanders 3rd). If the Steelers start in three wide, these will be the guys. Wallace might not be 100 percent game ready, but he’s too good to keep off the field.
Tight end-Heath Miller. Miller has been a fixture at this spot for some time and fingers are crossed that he is utilized more this year.
Offensive tackles-Max Starks and Marcus Gilbert. Starks is an experienced veteran and Gilbert has had a solid preseason. With all the injuries out there, these guys are their best bet.
Offensive guards-Willie Colon and Ramon Foster. One name on this list should be rookie David DeCastro. However, DeCastro suffered a terrible knee injury in the third preseason game and may be lost for the year.
Offensive center-Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey is the most talented of the Steelers starters and will be counted on to anchor that line.
Defensive Ends-Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood. Hood has separated himself from the other defensive ends on the roster and could end up with a great year. Keisel is dealing with a slight ankle sprain, but I expect to see him on the field.
Nose tackle-Steve McClendon. Last season McClendon was more than a pleasant surprise for Steelers fans, and looks to be even better this year.
Outside linebackers-LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison. Jason Worilds will certainly be in the mix, but with Harrison off the PUP I expect him to be on the field week one.
Inside linebackers-Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons. I was really hoping I’d be typing a name other than Foote here, but no such luck. Timmons is tremendous and could have a massive season.
Cornerbacks-Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen. The spot across from Taylor has been wide open and it looks like Allen finally stepped up enough to get the starting spot.
Safetys-Troy Polamalu and Ryan Mundy. Typically Polamalu’s partner in the backfield would be Ryan Clark, but due to his Sickle Cell Trait, a medical condition he cannot play in the high altitude of Denver, so Mundy will get the nod.
How does this lineup look to you, Steelers fans? Let me hear it!
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