Reasons to be Cautious:
Age – As a team, they are one of the 10 oldest. But, take a look at the starters and big names: Roethlisberger (32), Miller (30), Redman (28), Foote (33), Taylor (33), Polamalu (32), Clark (33) and Keisel (35). Just for good measure, LeBeau will be 76 before the season is over! Age and injuries could cause a problem for this team in the short and long term.
Injuries – Roethlisberber plays hurt, but his style of play causes him to get injured. At 32 and with a string of injuries, his health is always a question. With so many players over 30, injuries have to be a concern.
Free Agent Losses – No question the Steelers lost more in the offseason than they gained. Most notably: Harrison, Wallace, Starks, Colon, Hampton and Mendenhall. Some of these may be addition by subtraction (Wallace and Mendenhall), but nonetheless, the guys that replaced these guys are not at the same level.
Running Game – At one time, the Steelers were synonymous with running the football. Not so in 2012 (26th in the NFL). In 2013, they drafted Le’Veon Bell, but he is injured, forcing the Steelers to start Isaac Redman. This puts a lot of pressure on the passing game.
O-Line – While not all the sacks are the lines fault, this line did give up 37 sacks in 2012 and oversaw the 26th ranked rushing attack – neither of which are good. To make matters worse, the Steelers lost Colon and Starks – again, not great players, but more experienced and skilled than their replacements.
The Steelers are one of those teams you never count out, but the common sense football part of my brain does not see how this team makes the playoff with such an old roster, a poor O-Line, poor running game, 2 top WRs under 6’0” and a questionable secondary. I won’t say they can’t make the playoffs, but I don’t see how they do.