Believe it or not, the Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp on July 25th, and we are digging up the '32 Scenarios in 32 Days' segment to help us all pass the time. Once a day we will be drafting a potential 2015 season scenario, telling you why it will happen, why it won't and giving you important keys for the scenario to take place.
Scenario: Steelers WR Antonio Brown wins the 'Triple Crown' of receiving by leading the NFL in receptions, yardage and touchdowns.
Why it will happen: 2014 was a special year for Antonio Brown. He was the top receiver in the NFL in receptions and yardage, but was one leg shy of the famed 'Triple Crown' of receiving. His 13 touchdowns were three shy of Dallas Cowboy's Dez Bryant who was tops in the league with 16 touchdowns. Brown's 2014 season was the equivalent of winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, only to come in second at the Belmont Stakes.
So, can Brown complete the Triple Crown in 2015? If Brown has proven one thing in his short NFL career, it is you can never count him out. He has lead the league in receptions in back-to-back seasons, and has a proven rapport with Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger looks to Brown when things break down, and that equates to big plays in big spots for the Steelers QB-WR duo.
32 scenarios in 32 days: 50/50 split at NT in '15?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a good problem to have at their nose tackle position. Veteran Steve McLendon has proven what he can do, but second year player Daniel McCullers has shown flashes too. In 2015, could the tandem see split time?
Brown has the ability to do it all. He runs every route in the route tree with precision, can stretch the field deep, can run intermediate routes and can attack the middle of the field with the best of the best. Brown is the total package, and despite having an increased number of weapons blossoming on the Steelers' offensive side of the ball, there is no doubt Brown has the skill set to take the next step in 2015 by proving he is the best wide receiver in the NFL, not just the best "pound-for-pound" receiver as he consistently gets labeled.
Why it won't happen: When you have players like Le'Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, Heath Miller, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates, Dri Archer and Darrius Heyward-Bey, there is certainly the concern of not having enough touches to go around. In fact, there will be games were several of the players listed above will be lucky if they even get a target, let alone a reception.
Brown getting receptions is a given. He is uncoverable within the new rules put forth by the NFL on defensive backs, but will he be able to make enough catches to not just lead in receptions and yardage, but also touchdowns? That might be difficult for someone even as talented as Brown.
The toughest leg of this race for Brown will be scoring enough touchdowns. It was the part of the race he lost in 2014, and with the Steelers' red-zone woes it could certainly continue. Brown is great in between the 20-yard lines, but when it matters the most is when the Steelers find it difficult to get the ball into the end zone. Brown very well could lead the NFL in both receptions and yardage again in 2015, but a Triple Crown might be out of reach for No. 84.
Keys: Brown and Roethlisberger have a rapport which can't be tampered with, but this scenario depends a lot on Brown's ability to stay healthy, but also the development of Martavis Bryant. If Bryant is able to pick up where he left off in 2015, it will open up the other side of the field for Brown. Most defenses will be concerned with Bryant going deep, and will roll coverage to his side. This defensive move would be exactly what the Steelers want as it would leave Brown with a much better matchup. The Triple Crown is only talked about when referencing the very best who ever played the position. Could Brown join those rankings in 2015? He could, but it would take an absolute magical effort by the entire team.