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5 Burning Questions Facing the Steelers as They Fight for the Playoffs

Do the '12 Steelers underachieve or are they simply mediocre? Is "Young Money" really counterfeit? Is Willie Colon done as a Pittsburgh Steeler? Answer these and other Burning Questions facing the Steelers as they fight for their playoff lives.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say that the latest chapter in the Pittsburgh Steelers history vs. the Dallas Cowboys rivalry closed on a downer is an understatement. Yes, the Steelers post-season dreams remain alive, but the mid-season mojo feels like a distant memory.

But before fully focusing on the season's final two games, Steelers Nation is left to grapple with another 5 Burning Questions facing the Steelers.

1. Tony Defeo compared this Steelers squad to the 2009 team. Yet 2009 Steelers were dramatic underachievers as evidenced by the 2008 Super Bowl XLIII championship and the 2010 Super Bowl XLV appearance. With two games yet to play, are the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers also under achievers, or are they simply mired in mediocrity?

2. The emergence of Young Money made The sad sight of seeing Hines Ward retire was made a little easier with the emergence of Young Money. However, Joe Starkey of the Tribune-Review charged "Young money has been counterfeit money so far this season" concluding that they've been the biggest disappointment of the season. Too harsh? Or is Starkey on to something?

3. Willie Colon has gone on IR, possibly ending his days as Steeler. When he signed his extension, my alter ego joked that the Steelers would cut Willie Colon in two years. That was a tongue and cheek commentary, but since 2007 the Steelers have signed Sean Mahan, Justin Hartwig, Kendall Simmons, and Max Starks to long-term extensions only to cut (or trade) them either before or at about the two year mark. What's going on here?

4. The Pittsburgh Steelers surprised many when they signed DeMarcus Van Dyke prior to the season opener. Van Dyke made some good plays early on in special teams, but then was the culprit behind many of those unnerving special teams penalties. Van Dyke went on IR today. Was signing Van Dyke a wise use of a roster spot? Who else might they have used that spot on?

5. Who can offer us some realistic hope that the Steelers can shut down Andy Dalton, Jermaine Gresham, and A.J. Green and the Bengals passing attack in spite of their injury ravaged secondary?

There you go folks, have at it.