Are the Steelers Who Needed to Step Up, Stepping Up?

With their barn-burning victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in hand, the Steelers reached the midpoint of their 2010 season.

During training camp, Steel Curtain Rising offered a look at six players the Steelers needed to step up in 2010 for them to climb the stairway to seven.

Let’s take a look at how things are shaping up at the halfway mark.

Troy Polamalu

Troy’s back and in good health (knock on wood) thus far this season. He made his impact felt against Atlanta in the very first game of the season. Nonetheless, the Steelers pass defense has struggled statistically and at key moments.

Troy, in no way, deserves to have all of this laid at his feet. But with Aaron Smith out, stepping up the Steelers will need more splash plays from Polamalu.

Ziggy Hood

The accolades poured in for Ziggy Hood as training camp started, yet as the preseason wore on, he failed to for challenge for a starting spot or even playing time.

Aaron Smith’s injury means the Future is Now for Ziggy Hood. He’s looked solid thus far, but has a ways to go before he can be considered and impact player.

Mike Wallace

All signs indicate that Mike Wallace is blossoming into a top tier NFL wide receiver. His 22 catches might not impress, but his 22 yards per catch and 4 touchdowns provide should put secondaries on notice everwhere that Mike Wallace is a man to be reckoned with. The Steelers needed more from Wallace, and Wallace is delivering.

Bryant McFadden

Phoenix’s willingness to part with McFadden for a 5th round pick left some asking, “Why give up a starter for a song?”

On paper, McFadden has been an improvement over William Gay, being second on the team in tackles registering a sack, forced fumble, and an interception. Still, McFadden has gotten burned a few times as well.

McFadden has improved the Steelers secondary, but the Steelers still needed to do more. Fortunately, his strip-sack of Drew Brees at a key moment lends hope that McFadden can provide that. Unfortunately, T.O. had its way with him on Monday Night Football.

Muarkice Pouncey

Wow. Not only did Pouncey push Justin Hartwig off of the team, but he is probably the team’s best offensive lineman, and if offensive lineman got their due, he’d be a candidate for offensive rookie of the year.

You cannot ask for more

Rashard Mendenhall

Mendenhall was asked to carry a tremendous load with Ben Roethisberger suspended, and Dennis Dixon and Bryon Leftwich injured.

And Mendenhall delivered throughout those first three games.

Ironically, initally production slipped from the man who figured to benefit the most from Roethlisberger’s return. But is play on the final drive against Cincinnati was classic Steelers Smash Mouth football.

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