It’s time to face facts, the 2009 Steelers are going to become the second straight Steelers squad to follow up a Super Bowl season with missing the playoffs. The 2006 team though had a different vibe, as they started slow, going 2-6 and then following it up by wrapping up the year 6-2. Then of course the team went through a huge change at the top with Bill Cowher stepping down as coach.
No matter how 09 wraps up, Mike Tomlin is going nowhere, and while we’ve already addressed the changes that could be made with assistants, the bottom line is the players have not played as well as last season. Sure you can blame some injuries as the reason for the letdown, but at the end of the day, the team has had a stunning letdown on both sides of the ball.
So with that said, here are a couple of players in my opinion that failed to live up to the hype this year, and some of these guys may not be back in 2010.
1. William Gay – When Bryant McFadden left the team this offseason to go to Arizona, the club felt that Gay would be able to step in and be that 2nd CB and they wouldn’t lose much. They were wrong. Week after week Gay has allowed opposing wide outs to get too open, and then has whiffed on tackles way too many times. It’s no wonder many think that the club will address the CB spot this offseason.
2. James Farrior – A player who never seemed to have a bad game, has had moments this season that show that he’s getting older. Two prime moments come to mind: the first Bengals game when he failed to cover Andre Caldwell on the game-winning TD, and the 4th down play vs Baltimore when everyone knew Ray Rice was getting the ball, and Farrior allowed Joe Flacco to find him for a huge gain that led to a game-tying field goal. You gotta love Farrior’s heart, but he’s not the player he was last year.
3. Limas Sweed – Many felt that after a slow rookie year, Sweed would step up and be the teams #3 wide out. Instead, Sweed is buried on the bench after dropping a for sure TD vs the Bengals that could have put the game away, and then when he finally did get back on the field he dropped an early pass vs the Lions. I would like to see what Sweed could do given the chance again, but now behind rookie Mike Wallace, Sweed may never live up to the #2 pick the team spent on him.
4. Willie Parker – Once again in 2009 Parker was given the starting job based on the past, and once again, he failed to come in and make an impact. Blame the game-planning on not using him enough, but he’s only putting up 3.3 yards per carry, and has just 259 yards and no touchdowns. He’s gone after this season, and the team will need to go out and get another running back to back up Rashard Mendenhall.