Meadville Tribune

Sports

August 26, 2013

Walk Talk: Steelers fans should alter their usual hopes this season

MEADVILLE — 1I spoke to a reader last week about the Steelers and how I haven’t written about them in a while. My stance is that there’s not much to write about yet – or at least nothing positive. Pittsburgh fans better hope for a long playoff run out of the Pirates; Penguins season cannot come soon enough. Health is going to be a major concern this season, as the Steelers are a lengthy Ben Roethlisberger injury away from being one of the worst teams in the league. Simply put, the Steelers haven’t gotten better from last season’s 8-8 record.

2 Two things are certain after what transpired Saturday for the New York Jets: Rex Ryan will be fired before the season ends, and he has no idea who will start under center in Week 1. After rookie Geno Smith threw three interceptions and finished with a QB rating of 45.7, Ryan brought Mark Sanchez, his starter since 2009, into a meaningless Week 3 preseason game in the fourth quarter. Of course, Sanchez got injured and is out indefinitely. Injuries happen, but Ryan was asking for it by putting Sanchez behind a backup offensive line.

3 As it was, the Jets didn’t have great options at quarterback before Ryan trotted Sanchez out there in the fourth quarter. Smith didn’t look good in his only preseason start. Sanchez hasn’t looked good for years – and that’s exactly why New York drafted Smith in the second round. This Smith-Sanchez situation brings us back to the thought process that having two starting quarterbacks means you don’t have one. The Jets, Raiders and Bills will all finish with losing records this year – all because they have sub par quarterbacks.

4 Our weekly division-by-division NFL previews continue with the NFC North, which has four teams primed to compete for a playoff berth. The reigning division champion Packers are once again the favorites, but their offensive line and defense are major question marks. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will win this team its fair share of games, but as we learned the last two seasons, once the playoffs arrive, Green Bay’s weaknesses aren’t enough for Rodgers to overcome. The Bears, Lions and Vikings all should be competitive, but the Vikings’ playoff run last season was a fluke and won’t be duplicated

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