Steelers Rising, Just in Time for Cleveland

Hello Steeler Nation! I am a new poster to this site, however, I have been following it for quite some and finally decided to jump aboard and discuss our beloved Black and Gold. I hope you enjoying reading and hearing what I have to say.

First off, I want to say that I have been a Steeler fan my entire life and grew up loving Bill Cowher's teams of the 1990's. The 1995 Steelers are my all-time favorite, having the privilege to grow up watching Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, Yancey Thigpen, Levon Kirkland, Rod Woodson, and Carnell Lake at their best.

With all of that aside, I have to say that I have watched every single play of this team this year, for better or for worse, and have fallen in love with them. You might ask how in the world can anyone fall in love with a 4-6 team with an aging defense and a core group of guys that are on the verge of breaking up? I'll tell you why. Because if you are diehard fan like I am, you are with the team through its darkest moments (and let's be honest, this year has provided us with a buffet to choose from) and through it's brightest moments. I am happy to say that the bright moments are here and will be here for awhile. The pieces are there to lead you to believe that this team is on the upswing. Here on some of the reasons why I believe this to be true.

1. The god-awful preseason and slow start are now starting to look like a blessing in disguise. Think about this for a second. As hard as it was to watch the Steelers in the months of August and September, wasn't it worth it to see how well they are starting to play now? I always try to keep a level head when watching the Steelers, especially this year during the first month of the season because when you're emotionally invested in a team, it is so easy to overreact, whether good or bad. It's especially easy to overreact when the team plays so poorly in the preseason, as the Steelers did. But here is one way to look at that. I always try to divide the season into segments (every four games is a segment). The Steelers' preseason and first four-game segment was as bad as it can be, 0-4 (0-8 really). However, the second segment saw them go 2-2. This next segment already has that at 2-0. That puts a lot of things in perspective doesn't it? Imagine if this trend continues? I've always said I would rather see a team start out slow and continue to get better and better as the season moves forward than seeing a team start out great and continue to regress as the season goes on. Things are looking up for this Steelers squad.

2. Guys who nobody expected to step up are stepping up! Cameron Heyward should be and will be the first guy I mention. I will boldly say that behind Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, he is Pittsburgh's third best player this year. He is outperforming everybody else on the defensive side of the ball (I can understand arguments for Lawrence Timmons as well). I agree that he is a first round pick and is expected to play at this kind of level. However, I am sure a lot of fans had already declared him a bust and virtually forgot about him being any kind of factor in the D-line. But I cannot ever remember a Steelers player having this significant of an improvement from one year to the next. Hoping he keeps dominating opposing O-Line's and swatting the ball down the rest of the year.

Jerricho Cotchery- Probably my favorite player on the team. Most were chanting for Wheaton to be the WR3 (including me) to begin the year, but how quickly that fell to the wayside. Perhaps we still should be chanting Wheaton to be WR3, as long as Cotchery is WR2.

Jonathan Dwyer- I was yelling so hard for him to get the ball when Pittsburgh had it on Detroit's one yard line yesterday (twice). The guy runs full steam ahead every time he touches the ball. The Lions could not even bring him down on the catch he made.

Jason Worilds- the defensive embodiment of Dwyer. Doesn't start, but makes the most of his opportunities when they are there. Runs full steam ahead every play. He was like a bullet hitting Stafford yesterday. That was a safety, too.

3. The guys want it and you can see it. Is anybody else kind of glad hearing about the Big Ben trade garbage that has been going around all week? If that wasn't an "Eff You" game by Roethlisberger yesterday than I don't know what is. The Lions had no answer for him yesterday, none. Or Antonio Brown. That pump fake and TD throw to Cotchery was absolutely beautiful. Like I said about Worilds eariler, he was like a bullet hitting Stafford. They held MEGATRON to 0 catches in the 2nd half. If this game was any indication of Pittsburgh's confidence and motivation the rest of the way, we can feel pretty good about ourselves.

Looking forward to seeing how Pittsburgh plays against Cleveland next week and the continued improvement of the team. Let's make this third segment 3-0. Things are looking up Steeler fans, rest of the league beware.

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