Ben Roethlisberger should be at his peak performance at 30 but injuries have cost the franchise quarterback considerable playing time in recent years. How much gas Big Ben has left in the tank remains to be seen. It is this writer's opinion that barring the catastrophic piling of injuries which crippled the 2012 campaign Pittsburgh could separate themselves from the pack even further by claiming a seventh Lombardi Trophy by 2016.
Moves made in the 2013 draft and free agency were typical of Pittsburgh, no circus no glitz, but the choices made were smart, in some ways bold, and by all means exciting. LeVeon Bell and Shamarko Thomas are the most intriguing athletes going into camp. Bell is a mauling powerhorse 3-Down ball carrier, something Pittsburgh has missed since the departure of HOF bound Jerome Bettis. You need a closer who will eat clock and get those tough yards when called upon. Shamarko Thomas plays with a seek-and-destroy style similar to current Steelers Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu respectively. Thomas may only make special teams in 2013 or 2014, and if he doesn't clobber himself first the kid is destined for big-hit highlight reels.
The most important variable of all the men acquired in free agency/draft is that they are high character team-first athletes. These are the intangibles which make or break a locker room, and since the departure of Hines Ward, Aaron Smith, James Farrior so has departed the cornerstones of leadership. What this team needs now is a core of young men to take the helm and get it done so as to send out Roethlisberger with his 3rd ring and a seat in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio; similar to what Roethlisberger did for the great Jerome Bettis in 2005 so that history may again show herself golden for the fair city of Pittsburgh and Steeler Nation Worldwide
John Thomas Menesini