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: Ben Roethlisberger wins the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award.
Why it will happen: The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have one of the best offenses in franchise history, and possibly in the entire NFL. Ben Roethlisberger will have a myriad of weapons at his disposal in 2015. These weapons, and a new confidence within Todd Haley's offense could see the Steelers' QB having a year which could land him in consideration for a major postseason award.
Roethlisberger will have his share of targets this season. Le'Veon Bell has proven to be the most versatile running back in the league and will certainly help pad Roethlisberger's stats with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Antonio Brown is the best WR in the NFL, and when you put Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and Heath Miller all in the equation, you have yourself a dynamic offense.
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The Steelers will have to improve their red-zone offense in 2015, but the addition of Bryant will certainly help Roethlisberger. In other words, Roethlisberger has the best weapons he has ever had in his career, and after tying for the most passing yards in the NFL in 2014, he could boast statistics in 2015 which will certainly have him in consideration for such a prestigious postseason award.
Why it won't happen: The Steelers will not only be without Bell for the first three games of the season, but also have the most difficult schedule in the NFL. When Roethlisberger has a running game, he is one of the best in the business, but when the game is on his shoulders he has had his share of poor performances. To be named the Offensive Player of the Year, there can't be a huge fluctuation from week to week in terms of production.
Look at the quarterbacks who have won the award. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning. All have the consistency and the statistics to put them on such a high pedestal.
On top of the schedule and consistency, the Steelers are a team which rarely produces a dominating offense with mind-blowing statistics. In the era of Fantasy Football and high scoring games, the Steelers will have to put up big numbers for Roethlisberger to be in position for such an award. With their schedule, it will be a challenge.
Keys: Ben Roethlisberger is a great quarterback. A top 5 quarterback when most people are ranking the best in the game going into 2015, but can he be "the guy" for the Steelers in 2015 which will put him in the discussion of best offensive player next season? He has the weapons, but whether he can string together a full season of production will be the ultimate factor on this scenario coming to reality.