The full story, which can be found HERE in the Post-Gazette, talks about Tomlin saying the team can again compete for a Super Bowl in 2011, which goes without saying. This team is too talented NOT to be in the mix in some regard, but as we all know, that doesn’t mean it’s just magically going to happen.
Here’s some comments from Tomlin along with thoughts below:
Injuries to key players like offensive tackle Willie Colon, tackle Max Starks, DE Aaron Smith and wide receiver Limas Sweed.
“All of those guys who sustained injuries, there’s nothing that gives us an indication that they’re going to be an ongoing issue or problem moving forward in terms of getting in the way of football.”
Thoughts: Getting Starks and Colon back goes without saying. Colon is a free agent, but I would be willing to bet the Steelers re-sign him. As for Starks, he’s a big part of the roster, and it will be great to get him back. Same goes for Smith, who can only be a welcome addition
Bringing back tackle Flozell Adams for a second season at age 36.
“I think [Adams] did a nice job for us. He’s a good teammate, we had a very productive year.”
Thoughts: Watching Adams give up plays at times in the season was tough, as well as the holding calls, but at the same time, he helped the Steelers out when Colon went down, and it would be a nice thing for the O-line to have him back for a second season.
The comeback of WR Limas Sweed, who was drafted in the second round in 2008.
“His competition is getting stiff,” Tomlin noted. “I think we’ve acquired some guys since we’ve acquired him that have proven that they’re capable of playing NFL football. So from that standpoint, I’m sure it’s not a comfortable situation but it is a competition.”
Thoughts: It would be a complete shock if Sweed made the roster. He had a shot in the 08 AFC Title game and in game three of the 09 season to make an impact with a big play, but dropped two sure touchdowns. With Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders on the team, I can’t see Sweed being a fit on this roster in 2011.
The competition for the 2nd and 3rd QB spots on the roster between Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon.
“Why not? That’s a good problem to have, isn’t it? We needed all four of them. We did, unfortunately. I don’t fear competition and I don’t think any of those men do either. It was a really good experience. Of course, it’s not a slam-dunk that that’s a good experience when you’re in those situations, but I think that group and who they are as people and how they interact and related, I think makes it fun and special. All of those guys have been awesome.”
Thoughts: Dixon is a free agent, but if he leaves the team still has Leftwich, who was the 2nd string last season. Batch could finally walk away, as he will make a great coach helping young players develop. The guess as of now is Batch retires, Leftwich is the #2 and Dixon comes back as the #3 QB. A lot can change though in that before September.
Making another Super Bowl run in 2011
“We’ll be there,” Tomlin said. “We’ll be there. … Our intentions have not and will not change. We have a desire to compete for a world championship each and every year. We’re going to be unwavering in that pursuit.”
Thoughts: Honestly, what is Tomlin going to say? He feels good about the roster, but knows that a new season means new challenges. Let’s put it this way, Super Bowl runner-ups don’t fare very well the following year, but the only other time the Steelers lost a Super Bowl in the 1995 season, they came back in 96 with a new QB (Mike Tomczak, who replaced Jim Miller after week one), and they went 10-6 and made it to the divisional round before losing to eventual AFC Champion New England. With Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall, Hines Ward, and a defense that is still one of the best, this team won’t tank it like the last two post Super Bowl winners.