If the Steelers Fall Short in 2012, A Combination of these Five Things Will Have Happened: Part I

June 12, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Jerricho Cotchery (89) runs after a pass reception during minicamp at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

As Hanz and Fritz of The Simpsons said after selling the power plant back to C. Montgomery Burns, "We Germans aren't all smiles und sunshine."

I'm not German ("Not that there's anything wrong with that"), but I am forced to drop a crowbar of bitterness on SteelerNation this morning.

We've been way too optimistic as of late.

Can't blame us. There's a lot to be excited about. Like every NFL team at this point of the year, we're hopeful about things that, frankly, haven't been established for the present.

One aspect of my regular life job is when my boss looks over a process we're about to implement, and invariably asks, "So why will this fail?" It's not a question asked in a sense of pessimism, but rather, one asked to make sure everything has been thought through, and to establish the risk of that particular process.

So why will the Steelers fail this season? What are the most likely things that would happen if the Steelers finish at or - Heaven help us - below .500?

Here are the first two of five reasons, in no particular order, why the Steelers 2012 season may implode.

General Failure of the Steelers Offense to Click

Ever have a blown tire on your car? Imagine all the tires are the same age, and you happen to hit one on a pothole, and POW! Thing's gone. You're low on cash, so you only get one extra tire.

One of the other three is bound to suffer the same fate, putting you into the same position you were in. The replacement of Bruce Arians was a widely accepted move this off-season, and the hire of Todd Haley, while with its dissent (myself included), brought about a sweeping feeling of optimism.

What if the problems Haley's alleged to be fixing - establishing more rhythm-based passing, a stronger running game and better pass protection - only leads to other problems that were perhaps covered up by Bruce Arians? What if the Steelers succeed in creating a high completion percentage passing offense based off a strong running game, but can't move the ball down the field?

It's a fair question. Certainly, the individual talent is there, but is it realistic to assume, with the amount of new pieces coming together in big roles (the new manager, the new offensive linemen, the new Hines Ward-alpha leader), there will be some growing pains. Will those growing pains subside before the weather gets cold, or will we be discussing them at this time next year?

Defensive Anemia

It's never sat well with me that the Steelers had the best scoring defense in football despite huge dropoffs in turnovers and sacks from 2010 to 2011. If you think about it, there were many times we were poised to write "Wish We Made Some More Plays" on the Steelers' defensive epitaph.

It's not like the Steelers played a dearth of great offensive teams last year, certainly not down the stretch. With strong receiving groups slated for 2012, like the Giants and Dallas, and good to great quarterbacks throughout the schedule, the defense is going to have to get even better for 2012.


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