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 Martavis Bryant comes down to Earth throughout the dreaded sophomore slump.
Why it will happen: 2014 was a special year for Martavis Bryant. He burst onto the scene after being inactive the first 6 games of last season, and ended up being a dynamic player which was missing from the wide receiving corps outside of Antonio Brown. Bryant ended the season with 26 receptions for 549 yards and 8 touchdowns. He sported the best yards per catch average in the league while averaging over 21 yards per reception.
Who wouldn't be excited about his second season?!
32 scenarios in 32 days: Steelers sweep the North
It has been a long time since the Steelers swept their division, but could 2015 be the year they get back to dominating the AFC North?
However, despite his successes, the book is now out on Bryant. No longer will he be seeing one-on-one matchups, but more coverage rolling his way and bracketed coverage over the top to prevent the deep pass play. In other words, defensive coordinators will be game planning to stop Bryant in 2015.
Bryant has been working hard, but his sophomore season will be a true test for his improvement since his rookie season. Todd Haley and Bryant both spoke about how his routes were adjusted to make things easy on him, and he didn't have to read defenses very often. For him to see the same success in 2015 that he had in 2014, that will have to change, and Bryant remains a very raw player who might not be ready for that level of play - yet.
Why it won't happen: One name - Antonio Brown. Brown is the best wide receiver in the game, and as long as he is on the opposite side of Bryant, defenses will have to give up one side or the other. Bryant has the speed, size and athleticism to beat double team matchups, let alone a defense which is focusing on stopping Brown from beating them repeatedly.
Outside of the tremendous supporting cast Bryant has within the Steelers' offense, Bryant's tangible skills are something most defenders can't defend, at least not in today's NFL. If Ben Roethlisberger and Bryant can get on the same page and work the back shoulder throw, it will literally be unstoppable. There isn't a cornerback in the league who will be able to stop the 6-foot 5-inch frame of Bryant under those circumstances.
Bryant's numbers might dip in 2015, especially his yards per catch, but it doesn't mean he will experience a sophomore slump. Bryant has put in quality work this offseason, and is look to collect on his work next season.
Keys: Bryant's overall comfort level within the offense and with Roethlisberger will ultimately lead to his success or failure in 2015. If Bryant shows he has taken the necessary steps to be a complete receiver by learning to read defenses and adjust on the fly, he possesses the skills to make him nearly unstoppable. However, if he proves this work to be too much in his second season, a sophomore slump for Bryant isn't out of the realm of possibility.