Take it easy, everybody. Put those foam bricks down.
To quote the Comedy Central roast-worthy Charlie Sheen: “No panic, no judgment.”
The Steelers will be fine this season. That’s not to say they’re a shoe-in to meet everyone’s lofty championship expectations. You won’t read a Namath-like Super Bowl prophesy in this column.
But this year Pittsburgh already has had to tackle more baseless assumptions than opponents.
“The defense is too old.”
“They didn’t make the playoffs after their past two Super Bowl performances — and they won’t make playoffs this year.”
“The offensive line isn’t good enough.”
Yes, the defense starts eight guys of 30 years or older. But they also have some younger guys — Ziggy Hood, Jason Worilds, Keenan Lewis — who seem ready to contribute if and when needed. Equally important, they have a coaching staff competent enough to make those decisions.
As for years past, who’s keeping track? You can bet the players aren’t. This is a veteran group. They will, in fact, follow the one-game-at-a-time cliche. And don’t be surprised if they win themselves a division.
And so what about the offensive line? It hasn’t been “good enough” for years. But that’s on paper — not in playoff games, where offensive line coach Sean Kugler’s groups have pulled together to help drive some impressive Steeler victories.
Is everyone calm, yet?
Remember, it’s a long season — and for the Steelers it will probably last longer than many of their critics will admit to imagine.
(Staff Writer Bruce Siwy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)