2007 Pittsburgh Steelers Preview

2007 Pittsburgh Steelers preview from MadduxSports.com. Use an experts NFL picks this season to turn your normal losing seasons into point spread success.

New Head Coach Brings New Concerns
By Adam Barone

Things will certainly seem strange in the Steel City this season without the formerly longest tenured NFL head coach Bill Cowher, who spent 15 years there. Cowher's demeanor and caricature-like chin were a personification of the city's blue collar attitude. Although Cowher will be missed, new head man Mike Tomlin will inherit one of the leagues best teams and be expected to produce immediately.

Notably, the Steelers lost LB Joey Porter to the Dolphins as a free agent, and needed someone to fill the position that could pressure the quarterback from the outside. This was the Steelers' top priority in the draft, and they made two selections to fill the hole. At #15 overall they selected Florida State OLB Lawrence Timmons and then later at #46 they chose Michigan DE LaMarr Woodley and plan to utilize him as a pass rushing linebacker.

Steeler fans should still see one of the NFL's most consistent offenses, with “Fast Willy” Parker serving as the feature back. Parker, an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina, has been one of the biggest surprises in recent memory. Taking the ball 337 times in '06, Willie was 6 yards short of 1500 and reached the end zone 13 times. He's also a capable pass-catcher out of the backfield, pulling in 31 passes and crossing the goal line 3 times. He'll be backed up by power backs Najeh Davenport and newly signed Kevan Barlow.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seemed to be fine last season after his motorcycle accident prior to the season, and still has a solid group of targets to throw to. He compiled over 3500 yards, but will need to work on his TD/INT ratio, finishing up last season at 18/23. It will be imperative in the coming season for Roethlisberger to cut down on his mistakes and take better care of the football. Wide receivers Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes return, along with Cedrick Wilson, Nate Washington and TE Heath Miller. Ward led in both receptions and yards, with 74 and 975.

Mike Tomlin is very similar to Bill Cowher in his fondness of a team built around the run. Even with a new head coach, the Steelers will still play ball control offense and try to establish a strong ground game, while complimenting that with a hard nosed, physical defense that will attempt to wear down opposing offenses and focus on shutting down opposing running attacks. The Steelers' 2006 9th ranked defense was built specifically to play a 3-4 scheme and Tomlin will stick with that scheme, even though he's known to be a proponent of the “Tampa 2” zone style which is based on a classic 4-3 scheme. Pittsburgh has very few big names on their defense, but play very well as a unit. LILB James Farrior had the most noteworthy season, making 126 tackles and 4 sacks. The biggest name, fan favorite SS Troy Polamalu, managed 76 tackles and 3 picks.

2007 Pittsburgh Steelers Predictions

A year removed from Ben Roethlisberger's accident, the offense should be able to run on all cylinders and play to its potential. Santonio Holmes is a year older, as is Heath Miller, and both should be more mature. Even with a new coaching staff in place, the Steelers should not be much different as a team. Joey Porter was the face of the defense, but Woodley and Timmons should adequately replace him. Expect most handicappers to show little change in their treatment of Pittsburgh, at least early in the season. When researching NFL picks, expect most to reflect that the Steelers are a veteran club running at least a very similar system to the one they've been running, so unless something drastically changes with the team, look for a season very close to that of 2006.

If you enjoyed reading our Pittsburgh Steelers preview read up on the rest of the AFC North opponents like the Ravens, Browns, and Bengals team breakdowns from Maddux Sports.

Related Pages:
Steelers Draft Preview
Official Site
Lines for NFL Games


2007 NFL Team Previews

As usual Maddux presents its anual 2007 NFL preview sorted by divisions. From each division you can find our predictions as well an individual team report of each National League Football Team. Click here to return to the main NFL season preview page.

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