Category Archives: Pittsburgh Steelers

Ranking the elite NFL quarterbacks

Very few debates in professional football stir up as much heated discussion as who the best quarterback is, who the best quarterbacks are, and variations of those two. Assuming (and this is not necessarily a safe assumption) that all quarterbacks who suffered injuries last year are fully healthy at the start of the season, this is how I would rank the top five quarterbacks in the league.

1. Peyton Manning- Sorry, but I am not and never have been one of the Tom Brady worshipers. The guy’s great, but he’s not the greatest quarterback ever, of the last twenty years, ten years, five years, year, or right now. I’d take Peyton Manning over him any day, and I think that if Manning and Brady were on opposite teams over the last five years, Manning would have had at least the amount of success Brady has had, and Brady a good bit less than Manning. Many recoil when I saw this, but Brady is really just a system player. That doesn’t mean he’s not good, I have him at number two, but he’s just not the freak of human nature people have painted him to be. His intagibles are the best, but physically and mentally he’s not the player Manning is, and he doesn’t have the skill or trust from his coaches to do quite the amount of on-field play calling and adjusting Manning does.

2. Tom Brady- I basically gave all my arguments above. Tom Brady is thriving in the system he is in, as it’s basically been built around him. He might do well on another team, but he wouldn’t be considered the quarterback he is now. I think the really great quarterbacks could do well on any team.

3. Carson Palmer- The knee injury makes me a little distrustful of him starting out this year, but assuming he makes a full recovery, he should be even better, and he’s well on his way to being the next Peyton Manning. After only two years of playing time he’s already established himself as one of the best out there. There just isn’t a throw he can’t make, and the deep out, the throw that sets aside great quarterbacks, is one of his best.

4. Ben Roethlisberger- He doesn’t stand out as much as others because his numbers aren’t as good, and he has a good running game, but the guy’s the youngest quarterback ever to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory, he’s 27-4 since entering the league, and in the span of about two months he led the Steelers to victory over the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd best teams in the AFC, as well as the top two teams in the NFC. He’s great under presssure, and he looks to have an unbelievably bright career ahead of him, especially with his recovery from the accident going so well.

5. Drew Brees- A player who I think is all in all fairly underrated. Why the Saints let him go in favor of the untested Philip Rivers is beyond me, but it’s a decision I think they’re going to regret. Brees completely turned around the San Diego franchise, and put up some stunning numbers at the same time. His passer rating has been excellent, and he’s got over 50 touchdowns in the last two seasons.

Why Pittsburgh is not, in fact, in trouble

Not so very long after Pittsburgh won Super Bowl 40, everyone suddenly decided they wanted some of their players.

Antwaan Randel El was lured to Washington with promises of a huge contract and a big role in a somewhat pass-oriented offense. Chris Hope and Kimo Von Oelhoffen were also taken by other teams.

Jerome Bettis retired, as well, leaving another gap to be filled.

Already some were saying that the Steelers were in trouble. Then Roethlisberger got in the accident. Then Santanio Holmes was arrested. Twice. Things were not looking so good. The popular position now is to say that the Steelers are, in fact, toast before the season even starts.

After all, they didn’t do much more than beat the AFC’s top three teams and the NFC’s top 2 teams, mostly dominating all of those games, on the way to the Super Bowl and in the Super Bowl.

The loss of Chris Hope supposedly destroys their secondary. The loss of Bettis ruins their grinding ground attack. Santantio Holmes being arrested makes him a bust. Roethlisberger making a mistake makes him useless for the rest of the year. The loss of Kimo makes the defensive line useless.

Right?

Maybe not. The Steelers are a team with extraordinary depth, and none of the losses mentioned above will kill them. Chris Hope was indeed a great player, but guys like Deshea Townsend, Ike Taylor, and Troy Polamalu are all good enough to carry on without him.

Jerome Bettis had some great moments in 2005, but he was really only used in short yardage situations. That will be a small loss, but with Parker, Haynes, and Staley all on the roster, they’ll be ok.

With Antwaan Randel El gone, you might think the reciving corps would be in trouble, but that’s not really the case. Hines Ward is back, and he’s one of the top recievers in the league. Cedric Wilson started playing really well towards the end of the year, and he’ll probably slide into the number two role, which he should fill in well enough. Santantio Holmes is fast and a good overall player. He should make a solid player even as a rookie. Heath Miller had an incredible rookie season (six touchdown catches) and he should be even better this year.

The loss of Randel El on special teams stings a little, but the coaches have liked what they’ve seen from third round pick Willie Reid, and he should be able to fill in the role of returner without much of a loss.

And Roethlisberger? He’s expected to start game 1 against the Dolphins, so the only thing that the accedent did was make him a wiser man.

All in all, things aren’t really looking all that bad for Pittsburgh.