Three and out: Steelers

September, 9, 2009
9/09/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker


Three quick hits on the Pittsburgh Steelers:

1. For the past few seasons, the offensive line has been the biggest question in Pittsburgh and that remains so this year. Statistically, the Steelers’ pass protection has ranked among the league’s worst in allowing sacks. Ben Roethlisberger’s penchant for holding the ball too long has contributed to those numbers, but the offensive line certainly isn’t without blame. The coaching staff feels this unit will improve with another year together, but that remains to be seen. The loss of guard Darnell Stapleton (knee), who was put on injured reserve, hurts the team’s depth.
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2. If the preseason is any indication, Pittsburgh’s special teams will be better. Kicker Jeff Reed and the coverage teams were solid a year ago, but the return game and punting were horrible most weeks. A healthy Daniel Sepulveda is a significant upgrade at punter, and after bringing in a host of returners via the draft and free agency, CFL import Stefan Logan proved to be the best of the lot. Logan has been electric returning kicks this preseason and should help Pittsburgh win the field-position battle.

3. The Steelers must figure who their short-yardage and goal-line tailback will be. Running backs Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore and Frank “The Tank” Summers are vying for that role. A case can be made that Pittsburgh’s best short-yardage option might be on the practice squad in Isaac Redman, who was successful in getting tough yards in the preseason. But with Redman inactive, the coaching staff must hope someone emerges.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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