AFC North Final Report Card

The Steelers once again prove to be the class of the rugged AFC North division as they totally dominated the competition in route to again capturing another division title. The Ravens rode the right arm of rookie QB Joe Flacco to the Conference championship game while the Browns and Bengals proved just how hard it is to win without a competent performer under the center.

Final Report Cards – AFC North

Pre-season Mid-season Final

1 - Pittsburgh 1 - Pittsburgh Pittsburgh

2 - Cincinnati 2 - Baltimore Baltimore

3 - Cleveland 3 - Cleveland Cincinnati

4 - Baltimore 4 - Cincinnati Cleveland

Pittsburgh Steelers Final Term Report Card

TEAM: Pittsburgh Steelers

OFFENSE C+ C+

DEFENSE A- A+

SPEC. TEAMS C B-

COACHING C B+

FRONT OFFICE B- B

SCOUTING C+ C+

OVERALL B B+

STRENGTH QB DL LB

WEAKNESS OL WR RS

OFF. MVP Ben Roethlisberger

DEF. MVP Aaron Smith

TOP ROOKIE Bruce Davis

2009 Prognosis Steady improvement

Comments: This is a very gutsy Steelers football Club. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has played much of the season banged up and broken, but has stayed focused with the task at hand. The running game, a long time Steelers staple) finally appears to be in high gear. Willie Parker and off season free agent acquisition Mewelde Moore have performer admirably and their presence along has really upgraded the sluggish Steelers offense. The Steelers Achilles heel has been their very mediocre offensive line that has been riddled by both injuries and defections.

Defensively the Steelers are the class of the AFC and one of the three best teams in the NFL, but the grades given to the offensive unit reflect in my mind, critical team need which can not be rectified over night. Harrison and Palamalu are the type of players who would have been outstanding for any Steelers defensive unit in the team's illustrious history.

TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals

OFFENSE D+ C-

DEFENSE C- C-

SPEC. TEAMS C- D

COACHING C- D+

FRONT OFFICE D- C-

SCOUTING D- C

OVERALL D D-

STRENGTH WR CB LB

WEAKNESS OL DE RB

OFF. MVP Cedric Benson

DEF. MVP Dhani Jones

TOP ROOKIE Keith Rivers

2009 Prognosis Improved

Comments: its tough enough winning in this division, but accomplishing this feat without quarterback Carson Palmer, made it next to impossible. Late season arrival, Cedric Benson, one of the many bad boys in Bengals history, played well after he arrived on the scene, and if he can stay focused, off the field, may well become the logical successor to former Bengals Rudy Johnson. I really don't like the Bengals defensively, seeing them as being far too inconsistent overall one of the worst tackling clubs in the league.

TEAM: Cleveland Browns

OFFENSE D- F

DEFENSE D F

SPEC. TEAMS D D

COACHING C- D-

FRONT OFFICE D F

SCOUTING B- C-

OVERALL D F

STRENGTH OT TE, WR

WEAKNESS QB FB DS

OFF. MVP Joe Thomas

DEF. MVP D'Qwell Jackson

TOP ROOKIE Alex Hall

2009 Prognosis Bleak

Comments: The Browns may well have been the weakest club in the league at the conclusion of the NFL season. The quarterback situation has done a 180 degree turn in the last year, but there is a great deal of work to be done on both sides of the football. Where does one start? I can think of a number of area's on both sides of the football, but it sure as hell not going to be on the left side of the offensive line position. It is imperative that tight end Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards rebound from sub-standard seasons and quarterback Brady Quinn so something in his third season of play.

TEAM: Baltimore Ravens

OFFENSE C+ B

DEFENSE A A

SPEC. TEAMS C B+

COACHING B A-

FRONT OFFICE C B

SCOUTING C B-

OVERALL B- B+

STRENGTH LB DS RB

WEAKNESS WR PR OT

OFF. MVP Le'Ron McClain

DEF. MVP Ed Reed

TOP ROOKIE Joe Flacco

2009 Prognosis Slight Improvement

Comments: I can't remember a time when the Ravens defense hasn't been a dominant group. There is some age on some of the key personnel, but this still is a very intimidating group of football players. The season ending injury to Kelly Gregg is certainly going to hurt, but Rex Ryan is one of the top football coaches in this league and does as good a job of readying his defense. Ed Reed is as special a player as I've seen in some time, Ray Lewis continues to play at a superior level and Terrell Suggs is one of the best pass rushes in the game. With all three backers heading for free agency and corners Samari Rolle and Chris McAlister entering their twelfth and eleventh season respectively.

The offensive unit isn't going to be make many people forget about 1999 St. Louis Rams, but it improved rapidly with hard running LeRon McClain and rookie sensation quarterback Joe Flacco. Some of the club's key component are going to have to be re-tooled or replaced, but I like the job management has done with this ball club.


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