* Not because Starks most likely won't be here next season, but because Starks is the last person anyone would expect to be talking about flexibility, yoga and pilates work in the offseason.
* I guess it's just that one looks at Starks and sees more of a sportswriter than an athlete.
* Then again, he makes more sense than almost every sportswriter.
* A few notes later you can take the almost out of it.
* Everywhere I turn someone asks me why Starks has to go. It's because he finally – finally – has proven to the rest of the league that he can play this game and, since he's played every offensive snap this season, stay healthy.
* Maybe that yoga thing is something I ought to look into.
* But the point about Starks is that someone will offer him more than the bargain-basement rate the Steelers would offer him to return as an insurance policy in case Mike Adams can't play left tackle.
* "Bargain basement" and "insurance policy" are terms Starks has left behind with his performance this season. So, the Steelers' past two Rookies of the Year must step up and play tackle, with Kelvin Beachum the No. 3.
* I absolutely love the idea of hiring Tunch Ilkin as the next offensive line coach. His best quality of many might be his ability to teach handwork, and that's what Adams – who'll be the most important new starter next season – needs more than anything else.
* When I say "Young Money Crew" what do you think of?
* I used to think of modern-day and egotistical young athletes. Now I think of 8-8 and mediocrity.
* I'm never sure about the proper definition of "irony," but I think it is this: Three young receivers come into the league calling themselves "Young Money Crew" and then when they begin making or preparing to make that big money, they let you down.
* I'm not done, because Heath Miller came out of college with the nickname "Big Money" and he begged us not to use that or write that or call him that. And he turned into the real deal.
* After Starks, Ben Roethlisberger offered the most hopeful post-game comment when he said that he'd already begun talking to the strength coach about an offseason workout plan. This coming three days after he talked about a new sense of enthusiasm for Todd Haley and the offense. Now this is the leader the Steelers need. That's truly exciting.
* I'm amazed at how little Roethlisberger has worked on his body but how athletic he's remained. This won't continue to be the case into his 30s, and Steelers fans should be pleased he realizes this.
* Mike Wallace was talking about the need to re-define – or define more specifically – his role in the offense next season. Now we're understanding his poor season a little bitter: He wasn't smart enough to keep up with the changes that come with a new coordinator.
* I have no idea how the Steelers will bring Wallace back, because they have to start talking to his friend Keenan Lewis today. That's the important offseason signing.
* Have to love the improvements made by the cornerbacks, as well as the depth at the position.
* Have to love the building blocks in place on the offensive line.
* Those were two very questionable positions coming into the season.
* Have to love the fact that Lawrence Timmons is now a consistent threat to disrupt any play.
* That leaves pass-rushers and offensive skill players as the need. Repair, rejuvenate, rebuild. Pick one of the 3 Rs, dear Steelers braintrust, and go to school.
* Christmas, particularly a white Christmas, always provides the soul a re-birth that we unfortunately (and inevitably) sully before the New Year even begins. It's like watching Heath Miller play a game and then turning on a talk show or a message board.
* Yes, Heath is transcendent and we are merely human.
* Of course the Steelers understand the importance of depth, all the way to those listings of street free agents they have on Phil Kreidler's office wall that go beyond their practice squad. But a season such as this, with so many injuries, no doubt seared this fundamental point back into the organizational skull.
* You see it all the time, that a year wracked with injury not only allows playing time and growth opportunities for so many, but it re-stresses the importance of finding 60 good men.
* At least 60.
* While this team needs playmakers, I wouldn't have a problem with them drafting an offensive guard again in the first round.
* What's that? A collective groan? No, really, the foundation of a potentially great O-line is just about built. Finish the job.
* As I watched "The Young Money Crew" finish the season with grimaces of pain each time a member got up off the field, I remembered once again how Hines Ward's smile wasn't just cute, it was evidence of an indestructibility that pervaded the entire team. This team needs another guy like that – along with Heath – who gets up before the guy who made the vicious hit.
* Troy Polamalu picked off a pass and on the first offensive play Roethlisberger faked a handoff and threw deep to Antonio Brown for a 43-yard gain. That's the kind of football I have been watching in Pittsburgh since 2004.
* Of course, the play was called back because the third right guard of the season had to tackle someone who was about to sack the quarterback. But that snapshot of winning football remains alive – at least in my mind.
* Just saying, this team can still make it work.
* And then there's the image of the fake handoff and give to a second receiver coming around on a reverse. A second receiver? I had never seen such a play design – and I never want to see it again. It lost 13 yards near the goal line as the camera went to Haley. That's one snapshot of losing football – among many this year – that no one ever need see again.