Big Ben – continues to lead this team year in and year out. I’d give him the MVP this year. He does what is needed to win. Ben continued to be tough as nails and fought though numerous injuries. He is never going to have the accuracy that Manning and Brady have, but he possesses other intangibles that they don’t have. With a good offensive line, Big Ben is in the Top 3 tier of QB’s.
C. Batch – Charlie won the only game we needed him in this year. It was against the Rams and he looked average at best, but he did what he needed to get a W. That being said, I think its time for Chuck to finally hang up the jersey and move on. Personally, I don’t have much confidence with him being the backup against a good defense anymore.
Dixon – He didn’t play this year. He looked awful in preseason after making a fuss about starting in the NFL. He is an unrestricted FA, so I’m sure he will take his “talents” elsewhere in an attempt to start for an NFL team. See ya Dennis.
Leftwich – Get healthy brother. Unrestricted free agent. Interested to see what happens with him.
Mendenhall – had an up and down year for the most part. At times he looks timid and other times he def looks like a top 5 back in the league. Not sure why a lot of people hate on him though. He runs behind a terrible O-line and still gets his yards. People who think he is a fumbler are just downright wrong. He fumbled once this year. I think he runs a lot better on the outside and wish he would do so more often.
Redman – a very hard runner who is hard to bring down. Anytime he is in the game, he runs pretty well. He is a top tier backup RB and could even turn into a lower-tier starter for a few of the worse teams in the league. It’s a whole different game when teams gameplan for you starting week after week. Big fan of Redman as our 2nd RB!
Moore – did not get a lot of work this year. We used less of him on 3rd downs this year which reflected in his stats. 1 TD and a couple yards per game. Moore is an unrestricted FA this year and I don’t think he is a necessity on this team.
Dwyer – played a good amount in 1 game this season against Tenn when Mendenhall couldn’t play. He looked pretty decent and even made a splash play run for around 75 yards. I’m not exactly sure where Dwyer fits in on this team. If Moore is not signed, I expect Dwyer to make the squad next season.
Clay – Practice squad guy would saw some carries towards the end of the season. I wouldn’t count on Clay getting a jersey next year.
B. Batch – rookie back that had a great camp until he tore his ACL. A lot of promise from what he showed, but is a big question mark due to zero NFL game experience. Could possibly be Moore’s 3rd down replacement.
Wallace – fantastic first half of the year that tailed off little by little as the year went on. One of the best in the game. Opened the field up for Brown to have a nice season. Draws double and sometimes even triple coverage. His hands seemed to have a lapse or two later in the season, but I think they would be considered exceptions. Mike Wallace is a stud who needs to be locked up for many years to come.
Brown – breakout year for AB. Became the first player in NFL history to receive 1K yards and return 1K yards. If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what will. Brown showed that he is the clear cut #2 receiver on the squad and Ward and Sanders aren’t really close.
Sanders – injured a lot of the season. When he was on the field, I thought he looked pretty good. He runs good routes and his hands look solid. I think next season will be a good indication of what kind of player Sanders will be going forward. I like what I see so far.
Cotchery – limited playing time dude to injury and being the 4th WR on the field. Made some clutch TD grabs toward the end of the season and in the playoff game. Cotchery is an unrestricted FA and I believe he will look elsewhere to be a #2 or #3 WR. He will never be that with the Steelers.
Ward – Hines finally took a VERY limited role this year and it was very strange to witness. He fell to the #5 WR, due to a combination of speed, age, and talent by others. Having Hines score only 2 TD’s just didn’t seem right. He has said that he wants to finish out his contract by playing one last year. I’m excited to see if that will happen. My prediction is that if Cotchery is resigned then Hines will move on. If Cotchery goes elsewhere, Hines will take a minor pay cut and finish up as a Steeler.
Miller – I thought Heath had his best all around season ever for the Steelers. “The Possession”, as I call it was one of the ages against the Patriots this year. Miller’s ability to block is also underrated. He is half OL and half TE. Heath is as steady and clutch as they come.
Johnson – one of the younger players that is just a big body. He does some things decent and some things not so decent. I really don’t have much to say about David and really think we could live without him.
Saunders – rookie TE who shined at times. I think he will continue to get looks and oppurtunies to make something of himself on this squad.
Pouncey – another solid year centering the line. He didn’t get much help as usual, but his play and effort are top notch. Made the Pro Bowl once again. His ankle injury really worries me. He has hurt the team in the post season two years in a row now with ankle injuries. Hopefully he has some surgery to repair whatever is wrong or rests it up long enough where it isn’t reoccurring.
Legursky – had an up and down season. I thought he played decently well at guard. I thought he was atrocious at center this year. That is disappointing, because he played well at center in the Super Bowl. Legursky is never going to be a stud guard, but is definitely serviceable on a below average line.
Essex – he is a disappointing player who is never going to turn into much in the NFL. He is an UFA and would be surprised to see him back.
Foster – see description for Legursky. He played some decent OG and some pretty bad OG. He is serviceable I guess, but not really want you want to be starting week in and week out in the NFL. I hope we draft or sign a better guard so he can be depth and backup the line (he also plays a bit of OT).
Kemoeatu – Chris had a terrible year. Enough said. He is undisciplined and took way too many personal foul and holding penalties. I would also suggest he looks into some anger management classes, because he definitely plays with a horrific negative chip on his shoulders. I would be absolutely shocked to see him back on the team next season.
Colon – was out for the season AGAIN. I never saw anything in Colon, but Colbert and the coaching staff must have. Willie received a massive contract to be the teams RT. I’m guessing he will get another shot at starting tackle again this upcoming season, but injuries have to be on his and everyone else’s mind. For the $6.5 million cap space he takes up, I think he is a waste.
Gilbert – rookie of the year. I thought Gilbert played very good given the situation he was put in. He was drafted to be a OT “project” and with Colon going down, he was tossed into the starting lineup and excelled. He obviously didn’t play perfect, no rookie does, but he definitely has a bright future ahead of himself. I think they will look to try him at stating LT next season.
J. Scott – I’ve been pretty hard on the O-line this year, but I believe its well deserved. Scott is just plain bad. He hasn’t showed me anything that he is even average at. Our O-line coach likes him for whatever reason, but I can’t believe he makes the team going forward.
Starks – Big Max came back like a ball of fire. I thought he played tremendous in 4 or so out of his first 5 games. He played a very solid LT and our line played well and saw the impact from his return. The 2nd half of his shorten season started gravitating downhill. I don’t know if it was fatigue, injury, or what, but Starks’ play declined big time. He is an UFA and I can’t predict what the teams plans are for Max.
Hampton – Casey had another solid year. It seems like I could say this for pretty much every year he has played, but I don’t see the decline that some talk about. Obviously he is not a young tubby stud out of Texas anymore, but he can still do his job as good as at least half the NT starters in the NFL. He eats up 2-3 OL on every play he is in there, which lets everybody else on our defense do their thing. I’ve said for years that Casey is hands down the most important piece on the defense and I think I still have a case. Going into the final year on his contract, I think Casey will take a minor pay cut and finish out his final season as a Steeler.
Hoke – looks like Hoke is going to retire based on reports of a serious neck injury. Very sad news as he was a terrific backup to Casey for his career. Anytime Casey needed a breather (quite often as with people his size), Hoke played very well and did the job. He will be missed.
McClendon – got some decent minutes this year with Hoke going down. I see McClendon as a solid backup to a legit NT. I don’t believe McClendon can start fulltime in the NFL. He struggled mightily in the playoff game.
Keisel – might have been one of his better years as a Steeler. His ability to stop the run and block passes is amazing. He is definitely one of the leaders on the defense. Age isn’t his friend right now, but I still expect some more out of the Deisel!
Smith – was injured this season. I’ve heard different reports on Smith. Most saying he will retire and one or two saying he may try to give it one last go. I don’t believe the Steelers are willing to put stock in him any longer. Aaron has had a HOF career in Pittsburgh and is respected by all.
Hood – Ziggy Hood is a player who I can’t pinpoint very often. Just as I think he is improving greatly he has a bad game here and there. Ziggy did improve this year, but I don’t think he is anywhere near where the Steelers want him to be. He is very young and can easily improve into a stud. I’m looking forward to that as he is our starting DE.
Heyward – didn’t get a lot of playing time as a rookie, but when he did he looked VERY good. He is able to make plays tackling, sacking, deflecting, etc…He will take over for Keisel as he retires soon enough, but until then I expect him to challenge Ziggy Hood for starting playing time. Future stud!
Harrison – stud. Year in and out he shows this. Even with back trouble Harrison terrorized QB’s again this season. He still gets held like the best of them. I’d like to see his stats if the refs made the calls on James, would be interesting. James is known to be dirty and not the mosr respected player in the game, but I think James is the last person who could care.
Woodley – never seen an up and down season like Woods. The first four games he was not heard from. This is a trend of his to start seasons. He then blew up and looked like Lawrence Taylor for the next 4 games. Complete transformation and the Woodley we are used to. He then pulled a hamstring and was never right again. He is hoping that Woodley sits for months and months in the off season and really gets that thing right.
Worilds – showed some flashes this season, but over all I’m not that impressed. I think he has a lot of work to do before he takes over for James Harrison. For being an OLB in Dicky L’s defense scheme, he really needs to start making more plays when he is on the field.
Timmons – quite year “statistically” for Timmons, but played a huge role in terms of team defense. Timmons played all 4 positions at LB this year filling in for injuries everywhere. I don’t know many other players in the league that can do that. He is also in coverage for 70% of the plays and is one of the best coverage LB’s in the league. He still needs to learn to slow his game down on run plays and not over pursue tackles. Once he solves that issue and is able to play “his” position all year…look out.
Farrior/Foote – I put these guys together because they play the same position and had similar roles and outcomes this season. Both are getting old, but both still can make plays. Both have contracts with the Steelers going into next year, but one/both could be cut due to cap issues. They are set to make 3.8 and 3.6 respectively. I’d be somewhat surprised to see both cut, so I would say one or the other. My guess is that Farrior plays one more year because of his great leaderships skills.
Sly – special teams demon. Body of work on the field remains unclear due to playing time. I’m a big fan personally and wouldn’t mind seeing him get a shot at starting at ILB.
Taylor – putting aside the performance in the playoffs, Ike had his best year without question. His hands improved this season and he turned into even more of a shutdown CB. He started better than he finished, but I believe he will come back next season with even more to prove.
Gay – everybody’s favorite criticism target. Not mine though. I’m a fan of “Big Play.” I thought he has his best year as he was part of the reason our pass defense ranked #1 in the NFL. Yes he gets beat from time to time, but played very consistent defense this year. He is by far the best tackler out of all our CB’s. Gay is an UFA and should be signed.
Lewis – big big improvements from Lewis. Played some nickel and solid CB for the majority of the year. This was a great sign for the Steelers because he could have been another early round bust in the secondary. It’s looking like he wasn’t and that he will turn out to be a solid player for us.
McFadden – injured for the early part of the year. By the time he got back, he was outplayed by Gay and Lewis. Mcfadden for the most part didn’t get on the field this season and probably saw his Steeler career end for the 2nd time now.
C. Allen – a 5th or 6st round draft pick that made the team and excelled towards the end of the season. Played surprising good ball very quickly in the development process. He kind of reminds me of Gilbert, in which the expectations were not high for this season, but they both surpassed.
C. Brown – special teams ace. Lead the team in special teams tackles before he got injured late in the season. Not much of a body of work at the CB position. Being a rookie, he has many years to come.
Troy – awesome year once again by the “Samoan Headhunter.” Played pretty consistent throughout the entire season, but really started playing his best ball towards the end of the season when he was most healthy. The instincts and plays he makes can be made by him and him only. This is pretty much stating the obvious, but with the crazy and reckless style he plays, his career could be winding down in the next 3 years or so. The beating he puts on his body is “unique” to say the least.
Clark – Ryan had one of if not his best years in the NFL. He lead the team in tackles, which probably isn’t a good thing considering he’s a safety, but more power to him. His coverage was inconsistent, but his tackling was spot on. It takes a special person to cover for Troy and Clark does the job very well.
Mundy – had a pretty good year. Actually let me rephrase that, a very good year compared to where he was at. Before this year, I was not a fan of Mundy and thought he was complete average at best. He brought his A game this season and broke out of his shell. In the time he was on the field and his replacing Troy and Clark when hurt, he didn’t miss a beat for the most part. I hope he makes another improvement from this year to next.
W. Allen – I’m not exactly sure what to say about Allen. When he plays he does a decent job. Does he need to be retained? Not necessarily if we would pick up another safety.
Suisham – hot and cold all year. I think his performance in the playoffs helped him out. Without that game, I’m not exactly sure he would be the starting kicker next season.
Danny S – torn his ACL for the 4th time or so. I don’t see how the Steelers could rely on him for another year. Expect him to be cut.
Kapinos – thought he did a solid job this year punting the ball. Ranked middle of the league in punt average. I wouldn’t have an issue of they would keep him and wouldn’t have an issue if they would look elsewhere.
**Please forgive any spelling/grammar mistakes in advance**