Sure, Stegall was aging and did not have the step he used to have, even though last year he still managed to keep his "never caught from behind" streak alive. It was time for Milt to retire even though we did not want to see him go.
However - it is not his ability that is sorely missed. It is his leadership.
Milt played under several head coaches, included the Reinbold and Daley eras. He never complained and there is no arguing the numbers he put up! A true professional with a great attitude. This is something the OFFENCE is missing badly right now. Many are putting 100% blame on Kelly (and yes, he does deserve a high %, but not 100%) but it looks to me like nobody is even trying to hold things together?
I can't help but think the following would have been different if Stegall was still a part of this team (playing or not)
1: Armstrong would not have pulled his stunt on the 1st game of the year. He would still be around today.
2: Romby (and others) would have pushed themselves more to do better.
3: The entire offence would have been more receptive to the change of direction (ie: Kelly). Remember, Stegall was through it many, many times over his career.
4: Stegall had a knack of working with QB's and making them "read" a little better. Probably not good enough, but better!
None of the above would have solved all the teams problems, but I do believe it would have held the offence together, and made them more accountable. There would not be a mass exodus to leave town, and there may still have been some "hope" left in the locker room.
I think this team is sorely missing that type of leadership and neither Kelly or Bob Dyce (receiving coach) has the ability to replace it.