2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Season Preview

Of all the teams in the NFL during the off-season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have likely gone through the most turmoil. It leaves the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Team Preview with a ton of questions that will not likely be answered until the opening weekend of the regular season and on into the following weeks.

It begins with the legal troubles of their two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Back in March while celebrating his birthday at a night club in the middle of Georgia, Roethlisberger was accused by a 20-year-old college student of sexual assault. While no charges were formally filed, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell found the quarterback to guilty of violating the league's personal conduct policy and subsequently suspended Roethlisberger for the first six games of the season.

That was not the end of it however, as the Steelers traded wide receiver and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets following troubles off-the-field with him in the off season and violating the substance abuse policy. Holmes led the team in 2009 with 79 receptions for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns.

After all of that, Pittsburgh must regroup and move forward to the 2010 NFL season for at least the first four games without their starting quarterback who threw for 4,328 yards and 26 touchdowns as the offense ranked seventh in the NFL and third in the AFC.

The Steelers finished with a 9-7 record last season and failed to make a post-season berth a year after winning the Super Bowl.

Defensively, the unite was very solid, ranking fifth in the NFL and were tops in the league against the run. The Steelers surrendered just 305 yards per game. Therefore, it is quite the mystery to figure out why Pittsburgh missed out on a playoff berth. However, one important statistic stands out. The Steelers were -3 in the turnover margin department and it cost them.

Looking ahead, head coach Mike Tomlin and the entire Steelers organization will be looked at by the league and fans alike to see how they respond in the first weeks of the season without Roethlisberger, as it will no doubt be a storyline for the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers throughout the course of the year, especially in the early stages.2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Coaching Staff & Changes Mike Tomlin endured the hardest season and off-season as head coach of the Steelers in his five-year tenure. After winning a Super Bowl in his first season with the team, Tomlin added another in 2008. Tomlin has continued to have the Steelers in the playoff year-in and year-out, with last year being an exception. It was the first time in five years that Tomlin had to fire some of his staff. The offensive line coach and receivers coach were replaced. The coordinators kept their positions and one the whole the staff will largely resemble the same one from a year ago.2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Key Free Agency Acquisitions & LossesAcquistions
S - Will Allen from Tampa Bay Buccaneers
WR - Arnez Battle from San Fransisco 49ers
LB - Larry Foote from Detroit Lions
QB - Byron Leftwich from Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB - Bryant McFadden from Arizona Cardinals
WR - Antwaan Randle El from Washington Redskins

S - Tyrone Carter to Free Agency
WR - Santonio Holmes to New York Jets
RB - Willie Parker to Washington Redskins2010 Pittsburgh Steelers NFL DraftRound 1: Pick 18 - C, Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)
Round 2: Pick 52 - DE, Jason Worilds (Virginia Tech)
Round 3: Pick 82 - WR, Emmanuel Sanders (Southern Methodist)
Round 4: Pick 116 - DE, Thaddeus Gibson (Ohio State)
Round 5: Pick 151 - OT, Chris Scott (Tennessee)
Round 5: Pick 164 - CB, Crezdon Butler (Clemson)
Round 5: Pick 166 - LB, Stevenson Sylvestor (Utah)
Round 6: Pick 188 - RB, Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)
Round 6: Pick 195 - WR, Antonio Brown, (Central Michigan)
Round 7: Pick 242 - DT, Doug Worthington2010 Pittsburgh Steelers QuarterbacksThe Steelers will be without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for at least four games and potentially six after the suspension handed down by the NFL commissioner. As a result, the Steelers will have to rely on Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon to lead the squad in the opening weeks. Dixon will likely have the edge heading into training camp, with Leftwich also competing for the position. When Roethlisberger returns he will have more than just games to win, as he will have to reclaim the huddle and implement himself as the leader in the locker room, which could prove to be one of the more difficult thins the Steelers have to get through.

Projected 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Depth Chart
QB - Ben Roethlisberger (after suspension)
QB - Byron Leftwich
QB - Dennis Dixon2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Running BacksThe importance placed on the running game in the first weeks of the season will be paramount. The Steelers lost Pro Bowl back Willie Parker to Washington but will rely on Rashard Mendenhall who has played in only 13 games but shown explosiveness and play-making abilities. In those 13 appearance, he rushed for 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns. Behind Mendenhall however the Steelers will need a player to emerge who is a dependable back up and compliment to him. Mewelde Moore looks to be the front runner for this position. He got just 35 carries last year for 118 yards.

Projected 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Depth Chart
RB - Rashard Mendenhall
RB - Mewelde Moore
2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Wide ReceiversWith the departure of Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward will anchor this receiving corps for the Steelers in 2010. Ward is coming off one of is most productive season in his career as the slot receiver. He hauled in 95 receptions for 1,167 yards despite being 33 years old. Holmes led the Steelers in receiving last season, but the Steelers still have play makers without him. Mike Wallace is a solid receiver with good hands, while Pittsburgh also brought in Antwaan Randle El from Washington. Randle El is a speedy receiver, who played quarterback in college and can run the Wild Cat package.

Projected 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Depth Chart
WR - Hines Ward
WR - Mike Wallace
WR - Emmanuel Sanders
WR - Antwaan Randle El

Projected 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Tight End Depth Chart
TE - Heath Miller
TE - Matt Spaeth2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive LineThe offensive line for the Pittsburgh Steelers have been among the worst in the NFL in terms of sacks allowed. Now, some of this falls on the shoulders of Roethlisberger and his scrambling and holding on to the ball too long. However, in the past three seasons the Steelers have allowed no fewer than 46 sacks in a year. The organization has made strides to address this with their first round selection in the 2010 Draft, selecting offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey out of Florida. Veteran Willie Colon will continue to anchor the line at right guard while Justin Hartwig is at center and Max Starks in the left tackle position.

Projected 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Starting Offensive Line
LT - Max Starks
LG - Chris Kemoeatu
C - Justin Hartwig
RG - Maurkice Pouncey
RT - Willie Colon2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive LineThe Steelers continued to assert themselves up on the defensive front, ranking third in the NFL against the rush and first in the AFC. The Steelers re-sign nose guard Casey Hampton which solidifies a big part o the productive front. He will take the center spot of the 3-4 base defense. Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel round out and make up the rest of the unit on the starting front, with 2009 first round pick Ziggy Hood a productive back up.

Projected 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Starting Defensive Line
DE - Aaron Smith
NT - Casey Hampton
DE - Brett Keisel2010 Pittsburgh Steelers LinebackersThe Steelers bring in Larry Foote back from Detroit to join Lawrence Timmons, James Farrior and James Harrison. Harrison took a remarkable downfall in 2009 after being selected the Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. Collectively, this linebacking corps is very solid top to bottom and will be a productive unit for the Steelers in 2010.

Projected 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Starting Linebackers
OLB - LaMarr Woodley
ILB - James Farrior
ILB - Lawrence Timmons
OLB - James Harrison 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers SecondaryThe Steelers Bring in Bryant McFadden in the Santonio Holmes Trade to join Ike Taylor, Troy Palamalu and Ryan Clark in the secondary. McFadden will come in and start opposite of Taylor. The duo of safeties in Palamalu and Clark are among the best in the league when healthy. However, when Palamalu was unable to stay on the field due to injury, the secondary showed they could be vulnerable. Polamalu's health will be vital to the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers secondary.

Projected 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Starting Seconday
CB - Ike Taylor
CB - Bryant McFadden
SS - Troy Polamalu
FS - Ryan Clark

2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Preview