5 Irreplaceable Players For the Pittsburgh Steelers During the 2013 NFL Season
Pittsburgh Steelers Need Their 5 Stars to Align to Handle the Transition Mode
When the 2013 NFL season begins, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be relying on their five most valuable players to get them through a time of transition, where many familiar faces will be gone from the city of black and gold.
In 2012, the Steelers posted an 8-8 record with an offense that was just abysmal along with an offensive line that consistently broke down in both passing and rushing situations.
Defensively, the Steelers were simply outstanding and in fact quite impressive, especially with an aging roster that included numerous injuries to key players to that side of the ball. The Steelers were ranked first in passing defense and second in rushing defense.
One of the main challenges that the Steelers will face early on is to replace the players that they lost in free agency. The players lost might have a huge impact on offense, as they lost their top wide receiver in Mike Wallace and their best running back Rashard Mendenhall.
In the past couple of years, the Steelers have not only lost talented players but leadership as well. Gone is the fearless leader and ferocious player Hines Ward. Long-time nose tackle Casey Hampton is also absent, along with the former Defensive Player of the Year in James Harrison.
In order for the Steelers to stand their ground, they will need their young players to start producing, but more importantly, they will need their five irreplaceable players to play at a high level in 2013.
As the Steelers lost one of the best and fastest receivers in Wallace, Antonio Brown will most likely be quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's number one target and take over Wallace’s spot.
The Steelers offense struggled in 2012, and if they want to have any type of a consistent air attack, they will need Brown to maximize his potential in 2013. How he plays will have a direct impact on the rushing game, which was one of the worst in the league.
Safety Ryan Clark has been the backbone of the Steelers’ secondary for quite some time now. Many people would argue that Troy Polamalu should be one of the five most valuable players, but a lack of durability has kept him on the sidelines.
Despite the Steelers not having one of the game’s very best impact players on the field for long periods of time, the Steelers passing defense has stayed consistent.
For this reason alone, Clark has been more valuable to the Steelers in the past couple of years than Polamalu has. Clark has always been an exceptional player and is quite a playmaker.
Add in his leadership skills when one of the best safeties is out, and his value to the Steelers goes very deep. As long as the Steelers have Clark out on the field they should be confident that their last line of defense is in good hands.
The Steelers have always been known for their “Steel Curtain” defense, and that tradition will continue as long as they have a player like LaMarr Woodley on the field.
There isn’t much Woodley can’t do, and this year the Steelers will need Woodley to cause chaos defensively as the team tries to figure out their offense early in the season.
Last year, the Steelers offensive line just completely collapsed with injuries and inconsistent play. Luckily, the Steelers have one of the best centers in Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey will have to stay healthy and protect his quarterback or the passing game will never even have time to take-off.
Pouncey has been one of their best offensive linemen, and if the Steelers want to improve their offense it all starts with their Pro Bowl center.
Big Ben has been one of the best signal callers since the day he arrived in Pittsburgh. He is one of the best at improvising and creating something special out of nothing.
Nagging injuries have slowed him down in the past couple of years, but the two-time Super Bowl winner will be pivotal this upcoming season in leading an offense that lost its two best players.
Expect Big Ben to do some magic, but if the Steelers are planning to do anything in 2013, they will need their quarterback to be Superman.