By: Joseph Pucciarella
While the first two weeks are in the books, and with the weekend already upon us, week 3 is set to be a reality. However, Steelers fans across the nation might have mixed feelings about what played out the over the first two weeks. Just in case you’ve been in a cave, in a foreign country, or just simply aren’t following Steelers Depot on Twitter; here’s a quick recap: The Steelers got embarrassed week 1 in what was expected to be a very heated season opener, and week 2 they shut out a very unimpressive Seahawks team with a 24 to nothing route.
After week one, some of the so-called NFL experts were quick to write off the Steelers as “paper-champions” who were too old, and too slow to remain competitive. Admittedly I wouldn’t take week 2 as a gauge of this team’s capability, but I wouldn’t be so quick to say that this team doesn’t possess the ability and potential to be a contender yet again this year.
Overall neither of the first two games should be an indicator for the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s far too early, and any expert proclaiming their demise or success isn’t an expert at all. After October 19th 1995 following a Steelers embarrassing 27-9 loss to the Cinci Bungles at Three Rivers Stadium, many experts were quick to write off the three and four Pittsburgh Steelers. The same Pittsburgh Steelers who went on to become AFC Champions, and contend with Troy Aikman and company (Larry Brown?) in the Superbowl.
This team’s true tests will come next week against the high powered offense of the Texans, and a few weeks down the road in the form a sweatshirt and this generation’s Joe Montana, I’m talking Patriots here folks. Overall, the schedule isn’t a daunting one. A few challenges along the way, but in no way as challenging as some schedules in years past.
Call me crazy Warren Sapp, but this team has all the potential to be a contender yet again. The Wizard is still running the defense, despite some of your wishes Bruce Arians hasn’t been fired, Ben Roethlisberger is under center, and the core group of starters is back for another run. Continuity win’s championships. Correction, continuity with the right staff and players wins championships. Again, call me crazy but the potential is there. A few true indicators will come in the next few weeks.
What can you expect for the remainder of the season? Here are three things I’d say you can bank on. November 6th against Baltimore will be the game we were expecting week 1. It will be brutal; big hits, great defense, a few fights, the typical Steelers/Ravens game. Secondly, the Steelers won’t go 15-1. So don’t panic when they lose another game. It’ll probably be a dumb loss too, to a team you’d expect was a wash. Finally, Isaac Redman will continue to steal reps from Rashard Mendenhall. Don’t expect him to fade off anytime in the future. The guy is a machine. This isn’t another Amos Zereoue or Gary Russell, this guy is loaded with potential.
You can follow Joe on Twitter at @Joseph18James