The Steelers got to 12-4 last year by virtue of a soft schedule that pit them against the NFC West and AFC South. By the end of the year, half the defense was injured and Ben Roethlisberger was playing on one leg. Still, they should have been good enough to beat Tebow, but didn’t because Dick LeBeau decided not to play pass coverage. In the off-season, Pittsburgh finally made an effort to fix their long-woeful offensive line, except the best guy they drafted is already out for most, if not the entire season. Boss Todd will also be playing the part of Bane.

Five Fast Facts About the Steelers:

– Ziggy Hood recently dazzled people on the Internet with displays of incredible workout feats. So the four sacks he gets this year should be really impressive looking.

– Ben Roethlisberger has been listening to all this conversation about legit rape and wondering whether he’ll have to do the next one right to get it on the books.

– On all routes Emmanuel Sanders runs this year, he will leave behind a trail of Frito bags and gum wrappers.

– Heath Miller last spoke a word in 2007.

– Shaun Suisham refers to his balls as the left and right uprights. Possibly because his penis protrudes from the middle of his right thigh.

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Notable acquisitions: David DeCastro (womp womp), Mike Adams, Leonard Pope

Notable depatures: Hines Ward, James Farrior, Aaron Smith, William Gay, Chris Kemoeatu, Mewelde Moore

Vegas win total over/under: 10.5 wins

KSK verdict: UNDER

Fantasy player you’ll want to dig at with rusty hooks: Steelers team defense

I shifted through one of those shitty fantasy prep magazines the other day, and it inexplicably had the Steelers defense as its top fantasy defense. Now, I’m sure this is mostly because of reputation as, hey, Steelers invariably equal defense, right? Except the team never gets turnovers anymore and they only had 35 sacks last year. Sure, part of that can be explained with LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison missing huge chunks of last season, but even with them back, they’re not putting up 50 sacks. If you take them over the Niners D, you’re an asshole.

Fan forecast, by KSK commander-in-chimp, Christmas Ape:

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Obnoxious Steelers fans, myself included, spent years braying for the ouster of fuckstick Bruce Arians. Bruce has many flaws as a playcaller – BUBBLE SCREEN OF DEATH – but he’s actually not bad at planning for teams and scripting early sequences. In fact, he can be quite good at it. Problem is, beyond his staunch reliance on a handful of plays that never work, he just mainly sucks at adapting mid-game. That’s why you’d see the Steelers jump to a 17-0 lead over the Jaguars by the start of the second quarter, only to not score a point the entire rest of the game and nearly lose.

But Bruce Arians wasn’t fired because he sucks. Or because Mike Tomlin or THE BEN wanted him gone. Bruce and THE BEN are best golfing bros and Ben has had an OWIE IN HIS HEARTSPOT ever since he left.

No, Bruce Arians was fired because there’s a ridiculous notion of what should be “Steelers Football”.

No doubt, whenever you’ve watched a Steelers victory, sometime in the 4th quarter Pittsburgh will rush for a clock-killing first down and a dutiful announcer, probably Dierdorf, will chime, “YOU KNOW, THAT’S JUST GOOD OL’ FASHIONED STEELERS FOOTBALL.” I know, it’s annoying as shit. But it’s not just dickhead announcers who espouse it, but a vocal and not insignificant percentage of the Steelers’ unwieldy fan base. This ignores the fact that the Steelers haven’t been primarily a “running” team since, oh, 2004. They’ve won two Super Bowls and went to a third by not being a team slavishly devoted to running the ball, whether they were good at it or not.

In the minds of the STILLER FOOTBAW orthodoxy, Pittsburgh should aspire to always be the 1994 version of the team, which played lights-out defense but whose offensive strategy could be distilled to two patterns:

1ST AND 10: Run up the middle by Foster for 4
2ND AND 6: Run to the right by Morris for 3
3RD AND 3: Run up the middle by Morris for hopefully at least 3

or

The same first two plays, followed by Neil O’Donnell trying to hit Ernie Mills in the flat.

It wasn’t all that pretty to watch and, as you saw in that year’s AFC Championship Game, not enough to get the job done when the other team manages to score more than two touchdowns.

There’s also the issue that the 1994 Steelers would have a much harder time in today’s game, where it’s more difficult to play pass defense and offensive schemes in general are evolving much faster than defensive schemes. It’s just not a viable strategy for success in today’s NFL.

Nevertheless, the Rooneys made the team get rid of Arians, so Yinzburgh can get back to its power-running roots, even though it doesn’t have any healthy running backs and the supposedly revamped offensive line is already in tatters. And who did the team hire to institute this run-first attack? BOSS TODD PLOWING YOUR MAMA’S HOTTEST FRIEND OH THAT GIRL DON’T EVEN KNOW HALEY. A guy even more pass-happy than Bruce Arians, and at least 10x more alienating and dickish. So that should end well.

And there are more concerns for the defense than there have been for a while. The secondary is still forever iffy. Fuck you again to the Jets for trading ahead of the Steelers to take Revis in the ’07 Draft. It’s okay, we got Lawrence Timmons instead and he’s been a perfectly whatever inside linebacker who is occasionally impressive when not out of position. Demaryius Thomas abuse notwithstanding, Ike Taylor is actually a serviceable starter at corner. The other side, as usual, not so much. After suffering through years hoping William Gay would ever be useful, the Steelers turn to one of its endless supply of interchangably shitty mid-round defensive backs taken from the past few drafts. His name is Keenan Lewis. He’s probably gonna suck. Polamalu will play lights out until about Week 7, when he takes a running back’s knee to the helmet because Troy likes to dive at them knees, sometimes. Troy will then groggily amble through the rest of the season and the pass defense will appear mostly porous.

Oh, and James Harrison is breaking down and we’re starting LARRY FOOTE GAAAAAHHHHH this year. Suddenly, a lost-two-steps James Farrior sounds like a goddamn luxury.

The loss to Tebow in the playoffs last year was embarrassing, but I still prefer that to an injury decimated Steelers team try to win in New England the following week. Three times watching the Steelers lose to the Patriots in the playoffs is enough for one lifetime.

I see Cinncinati winning the North this year, so the Steelers and Ravens annual dead town pissing match will only be for one if not both the Wild Cards. As usual, if the Steelers don’t make the playoffs it will be a travesmockery, because we Stiller fans are spoiled, horrible people.