NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Top 5 Pittsburgh Steelers Poised for a Letdown in 2013

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Top 5 Pittsburgh Steelers poised for a letdown

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Every season in the NFL it happens. There are players who come off great years and fall. Whether it’s due to injury, age, or simply a lack of talent, there is a change and it’s not good. This year the Pittsburgh Steelers are a team in a state of flux. There are going to be a significant number of new working parts on this roster, and they will be mixed in with a group of veterans, many of whom had exceptional seasons in 2013. But some of those players I fear are due for a tumble back to reality in terms of their play.

When I think about players and a move like this I think about the “why” of their up year the season before. In some cases it had to do with being paired up with more talented players which put them in a position to play better without the pressure on them.

Some players have big up years when there is a change in coaching or philosophy. Maybe they have had to settle for being less than great because the system they were in wasn’t a good fit, but now they are where they can thrive.

And finally it could just be luck. Some NFL players just get lucky. They work hard and everything falls into place for a season, only to come crashing back to Earth the next season.

So, as I break down the roster of the Steelers for the upcoming season, there are five players that really stand out to be as potential back sliders. Not to say they will play terribly, but in some cases they played so well the year before, there’s no where to go but down.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.

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5-Maurkice Pouncey, center

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Pouncey went to the Pro Bowl in 2012, but going back and watching his play, it probably didn't warrant it. I don't expect a huge drop off in talent for the upcoming season, but I will be shocked if he can play well enough to get another Pro Bowl invite.

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4-Heath Miller, tight end

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Miller had a career year in 2012, due in large part to the new offensive system. But a late season ACL tear likely means a repeat performance isn't in the cards.

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3-Troy Polamalu, safety

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The age and the injuries are really starting to pile up on the former first round pick. And while Polamalu at his best is still great, I don't expect to see him at his best this season.

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2-Ike Taylor, cornerback

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

There could be more pressure on Taylor to perform this season, and I'm just not sure at this stage in his career he's ready to be a No. 1 cornerback again. This year with a new starter opposite him, can he step up or will he regress?

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1-Larry Foote, linebacker

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Foote had a career year beyond anything his talent would dictate. I expect to see a much more average year, something in line with his talent next season.