Steelers OTAs 2013: Out with the Old

USA TODAY Sports

There were some coaching and roster shakeups in Pittsburgh this offseason as the team looks to rebound from an 8-8 campaign in 2012. If they don't get things back on track this year, there will be even more new faces for OTAs in 2014.

The Steelers begin the first of three Organized Team Activities sessions today in Pittsburgh with a much different look than they have in the past.

Those who won't be in attendance this year but were last year: Casey Hampton, Keenan Lewis, Max Starks, Will Allen, Ryan Mundy, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich, Doug Legursky and Chris Rainey. Let's not forget James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall and, of course, Mike Wallace.

Also, offensive line coach Sean Kugler and wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery are out, and Jack Bicknell Jr., and Richard Mann, respectively are in. Special teams coach Amos Jones left for Arizona, and Danny Smith has replaced him.

Age is one thing; tenure is another. Hampton has been on every opening day roster of this team since 2001. Jones took over special teams duties during the preseason last year. Top to bottom, as far as the way the Steelers do things, they cleaned house of both longstanding members of the organization and relative newcomers.

These kinds of things are driven off 8-8 seasons. And it may just be OTAs, a far cry from training camp, but here, a foundation must be laid to improve top to bottom from a disappointing season.

For all the Hebron Fangupos and Matt Spaeths who have been added, a Casey Hampton and a Leonard Pope isn't expected back. It's the natural tithing of the roster most teams will undergo, but how many have the pressure of being a team that finished with an undesirable record while keeping their head coach and general manager?

The pressure will invariably be higher for every player, new and tenured, young and old, this season.

As meaningless in the grand scheme as OTAs are, the Steelers can make them what they want them to be, starting today. They'll have to do something, because another repeat of 2012 will likely mean even fewer of the same faces will be around the organization next season.


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