Kyle Boller represents the physical prototype, but NFL puts a premium on savvy.
Massive unit must fortify unproven right side.
Steelers offense (2002 ranking) Total (5) Rushing (9) Passing (7)
The Steelers don't like their offense being characterized as pass-oriented, but that's what their old smash-mouth approach has morphed into. Pittsburgh utilizes West Coast principles to move the football with a controlled passing game. Amos Zereoue it done with speed. Jerome Bettis isn't the focal point anymore.
Zereoue is a compact runner who excels at making defenders miss in open field.
Major question mark because of injuries. Guard Alan Faneca is a Pro Bowler.
Quarterback edge: Steelers
Running back edge: Ravens
Receivers edge: Steelers
Offensive line edge: Ravens
Ravens defense (2002 ranking) Total (22) Rushing (13) Passing (26)
Ravens are in an attack mode with four mobile linebackers led by Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware. Secondary is active, ideally-sized, especially with Chris McAlister and Gary Baxter. Defensive line hasn't mounted much of a pass rush, but has been really stout against the run behind scrappy nose guard Kelly Gregg.
Slightly undersized unit gets it done with hustle, quickness and technique.
Linebackers Speed, tackling are the watch words for coach Mike Singletary's group.
Chemistry, ability are present, needs improved health for nickel and dime packages.
Steelers defense (2002 ranking) Total (7) Rushing (1) Passing (20)
Historically dominant against the run and sound in front seven, Pittsburgh has been vulnerable to the pass. The Steelers surrendered 345 points last year, an average of 21.6 per contest. No Steelers team had been shredded like that since the 1988 squad that gave up a franchise-record 421 points on its way to a 5-11 record. Defensive line
Casey Hampton acts as a human wall at nose guard.
Defensive line edge: Steelers
Linebackers edge: Ravens
Secondary edge: Ravens
Ravens special teams
Draft picks and free agent dollars have been devoted to key part of team hoping a shaky preseason was an aberration. Kicker Matt Stover is their ace.
Steelers special teams
Special teams edge: Steelers
Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.