Are the Steelers doing OK this off season?

No


Super Bowl-winning coach, ESPN analyst and creepy doll lookalike Jon Gruden has been quoted saying: "You never stay the same. You either get better or you get worse."

Through the early weeks of the off-season, it's hard to see how the Steelers are getting better.

Starting offensive players Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall have bolted for Miami and Arizona, respectively. Wallace's hands were a problem last season, but consider Pittsburgh's current alternatives: Plaxico Burress and Jerricho Cotchery.

Burress was a Pro Bowl-quality player five-10 years ago. It's uncertain whether he's BBVA Compass Bowl-quality at this stage in his career. Cotchery doesn't seem like a legit No. 2, either.

Even if both of these veterans do well, the Steelers will miss Wallace's big-play, deep-threat capabilities.

As for the backfield, it's anyone's guess who will be taking hand-offs in 2013-14. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer may return for the season, but their unimpressive production last year may relegate them to backup or utility roles.

There's been talk that Pittsburgh will pursue Ahmad Bradshaw, a former New York Giant who has played well when he's not injured. He has been, however, injured fairly often.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers will miss James Harrison. Many have pointed out that Harrison — who was cut March 9 — was making too much money at his age. They say that he's lost a step.

This may be true, but Harrison remains a game-changing presence. He showed flashes of this even last season, and his departure shouldn't be taken lightly.

Can the cash-strapped Steelers luck out in the NFL draft or find a cheap steal in free agency? There is certainly hope.

But it will take more than hope to send this aging squad back to the Super Bowl — they'll need to "get better."

(Sunday editor Bruce Siwy can be reached at bruces@dailyamerican.com or on Twitter @BruceJSiwy.)

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