Trent Dilfer Believes In The Steelers?

By Jeremy Hritz

Recently on ESPN.com, a video was posted of a discussion between Mel Kiper, Trent Dilfer, and Chris Mortensen that was focused on the topic of whether or not the Steelers are still relevant. While Kiper and Mortensen were somewhat pessimistic about the 2013 version of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dilfer believes in the team’s ability to replace the departure of such stars as James Harrison. Dilfer goes on to say that by the end of the new season, the NFL will be familiar with several new names on the Steelers roster.

When the 2013 season does conclude, who will have had the better prognostication? Kiper and Mortensen, or Dilfer?

There is no question that age is still a concern for several players on the Steelers defense, as Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel, and Larry Foote are all over 30 years old. Whether or not the aging of these players also results in a decline in skills remains to be seen.

There is also the injury factor that has plagued the team over the past two seasons, especially Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger. It seems that every year Polamalu is destined to miss a few games, as is Roethlisberger who has taken a pounding throughout his career, a result of his gunslinger mentality and mediocre offensive lines. Heath Miller is also recovering from a torn ACL, and the timetable of his return next season is uncertain. Will the team be able to avoid the bumps, bruises, and tears that have hindered their competitiveness?

Lastly, there has been a lack of emerging stars waiting in the wings behind players that have been fixtures on the team, and players that have been drafted with the expectation that they will contribute have not lived up to their potential. This season, two such players will get the opportunity on defense to showcase their development as they assume starting roles. Cortez Allen and Jason Worilds have earned opportunities to be in the starting lineup, and hopefully they are poised to become the next big superstars that have characterized the Steelers defenses in recent years. The Steelers also need to get production out of players like Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward, David DeCastro, and Mike Adams, as they were all high draft picks for whom expectations were high. If they do not deliver, Kiper and Mortensen will have been correct.

If the Steelers can still get quality production out of their elders, and if they can avoid any serious injuries, on top of getting their youngsters to emerge, they can push their way back into the discussion of relevancy. In the video, Dilfer says “At the end of the day the Pittsburgh Steelers develop talent. And there are players on that roster that we don’t know their names…. That will be productive at the end of the year.” While the former Ravens quarterback may more optimistic than many in the Steelers Nation, the team’s history of churning out stars is well documented, and 2013 may just be the year where players like Worilds and Allen take the torch and carry the team forward to another championship.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Like last season, I had no concern whether steelers will make the playoff. They only has to be more clutch.

    If anything, superstars’ departure will make our emerging stars more revelant. Lawrence timmons, cortez allen, and McLendon for examples.

    I’m still waiting to see more from Worilds.

  • http://twitter.com/GeneralZY Cecil

    Last year’s team was very soft, in all areas. I hope they develop a mean mentality this year. I don’t know about a championship, I think we will be fighting for a playoff spot, 4 wins against the teams in Ohio are no longer a given. AFC North is tough now.

  • steeltown

    I somewhat agree with Dilfer.. and disagree with anyone who says that the up and comers have been a disappointment. The reason being, we havent seen enough of them.. guys like Heyward, McLendon, Decastro and Worilds have not really been given large amounts of snaps… others like Cortez Allen, Mike Adams, Beachum, Dwyer & Will Johnson I fully expect to improve using the experience they gained last season

    At the end of the 2013 season we will see who is capable and who is not

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.abbate.3 Dennis Abbate

    I agree, these younger players are ready. Worilds is ready. I think he is going to have a big year. Do forget he has missed two years of the offseason because of the strike and the wrist surgury. I also know that Jonathen Dwyer is going to have a big time year. He will an All-Pro. He will come to camp in shape and take what’s his…… Go Steelers!!!

  • Chris Ranieri

    Lawrence Timmons is ready to break out. He already was flying around the field last year and surely has more to say this year. As was Worilds in the time that he was given. I’m excited to see Woodley prove people wrong this season and the entire linebacking corps to exceed expectations. Together they will be the core that motivates the defense.

  • Isaac Reveles

    i hope they sign McLendon and Allen to long term deals before their contracts are up otherwise we end up in the same boat we were in this offseason. player has a breakout year in their last year of contract then go sign elsewhere for more money.

  • Pete

    When the Steelers brought in the aging Flozell Adams I thought they would go to the Super Bowl and they did. Last season I thought the Steelers would go 12-4 while the talking heads forecast 9-7. I was way too optimistic. The pundits basically had it right.

    I’m not very optimistic about 2013 and if it goes badly Tomlin could be on notice. I hope it goes well but I’m not feeling it. The losses in key people have been many and I think we’re in a period of rebuilding. Added to that every season lately brings a boat load of injuries. A 9-7 season would not surprise me. It could take a couple seasons of retooling to get back to 12-4.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    The league’s number one defense was soft? What was the rest of the league, liquid?

  • dgh57

    If you think this team was soft last year and needs to develop a mean mentality I have two players in this years draft that will solve that problem! First on defense is Safety Shamarko Thomas that hits like a LB but plays Safety! He delivers punishing hits! On offense is a guy I’m not that high on but still likes to deliver his own punishment to DBs is Le’Veon Bell a RB out of Michigan State. I hope we at least get Thomas, would love to have him on our defense!

  • steeltown

    One thing I keep in mind, is the amount of close games we played last season…. 5 out of the 8 games lost were lost by a matter of 3pts, a damn field goal

  • rizzo29

    If they had won those games against Oak, SD, Cle, Tenn like they should have, You were right there,I agree there,s many question marks for them unlike the last few years.They have a pretty tough schedule so hopeful they stay healthy at least through pre-season for once,and some of the young guy,s can contribute and become rising stars.

  • rizzo29

    I agree Thomas is like a cruise missile when he hit,s. He was born to wear the black and gold

  • rizzo29

    I wouldn,t say soft but they did give up a lot of 2nd half lead,s

  • steeltown

    I think our Offense had trouble scoring pts as well, they were pretty bad in the redzone.. that needs to improve, more than anything else

  • rizzo29

    Yes if their running game was effective they could have controlled the clock more,giving the d a break I think they were wearing down late in games

  • steeltown

    Agreed. I would hope Thomas is pretty high on their draft board during the 2nd-3rd Rds

  • hergieburbur

    Well, Kiper is an idiot, so we can discount his opinion right away… That leave Mort and Dilfer, and honestly, I think it could go either way. The talent on this team doesn’t scare me so much as the (lack of) discipline and heart does at times.

  • http://twitter.com/softdrums Shea Fahr

    I think it’s as simple as keeping number 7 upright and healthy combined with a nice running game to bring back the AFC North Title. I think we still have a top 5 defense in spite of no Lewis, Harrison or Hampton. This HAS to be an offense that can dominate t-o-p and score quick Touchdowns. This year goes as Big Ben goes. 11-5 and AFC North Champs sounds reasonable to me.

  • http://twitter.com/softdrums Shea Fahr

    Exactly

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Better would be to not worry about whether Trent Dilfer believes in the Steelers.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Man I agree with him(never thought i’d say that). I dunno why but i have a good feeling about this year.

  • zyzak

    allen is gone

  • rizzo29

    you polish my friend

  • http://twitter.com/NeffRn Randy Neff

    If the offensive line can stay healthy, with Woodley and Polamalu having big seasons, it’s possible. Add Vacarro and Bell and it could get interesting.

  • Isaac Reveles

    Cortez Allen

  • steeltown

    I agree.
    Healthy OL and in turn healthy Ben, add another RB and new blocking scheme.. should help keep the Defense fresh

    Also another offensive weapon (WR or TE) couldnt hurt

  • John Hinton

    I was at the Dallas game which should have been another W for the Steelers.

  • rizzo29

    Probably could throw that cincy game in their as well