The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the thick of training camp, and it officially starts the beginning of the 2018 football season. While the masses rejoice at this news, the team, and organization, still have several questions which need answered before Week 1 of the regular season.
I have narrowed the questions down to 5, and will try to decipher whether or not these will have their own answers, or a resolution, before the team starts to play football games which actually matter in the regular season.
1. Will the Steelers bring in outside talent again?
Last year the Steelers bucked the trend of going to war with what you have, and brought in talent from the outside before the start of the season. The team added Joe Haden, Vance McDonald and J.J. Wilcox before the regular season. This year there is a clear need for help at the offensive tackle, inside linebacker and possibly tight end positions entering the 2018 season. Will the team, with very little cap space available, just sit tight and go with what they have? Or will they bring in players they feel can help the team win a Super Bowl?
2. How will the running back position shake out early in the season?
Last year Le’Veon Bell reported the week prior to Week 1, and when he did he assumed the top position from Day 1. No one is questioning whether he should be the top running back, but should the Steelers ease him back, rather than thrusting him into a full workload as they did in 2017? Whether it was Bell, the defenses they were facing or the offensive line’s production, Bell wasn’t nearly the same player as he usually is in the first three weeks of the season. Should Tomlin use more James Conner and company early in the regular season?
3. Will the offense continue to stall in the red-zone?
Todd Haley wasn’t as bad as many people suggest, but when the field got short, Chris Boswell was utilized more than he should have been. Randy Fichtner has a tall task ahead of him, and it isn’t appeasing Ben Roethlisberger. It is to get the Steelers to score more touchdowns, and settle for field goals less. Can he do that with such a ridiculously talented offense? Todd Haley struggled with it...
4. What will the defense look like in specific situations?
At this point if you didn’t know the Steelers are not really a 3-4 defense, but focus almost entirely on sub packages, you need to wake up! The question here isn’t what will the Steelers do on defense, but how will they handle specific situations? Their inside linebackers are clearly a weak link, but what will happen on 3rd and long? Or what about 3rd and 5? Keith Butler has a lot of wrinkles to iron out on this defense in the preseason, and how he deploys his units on these key downs will be something to keep an eye on.
5. Will the entire team’s demeanor be different?
The Steelers were humbled in 2017 by the Jaguars — twice. Well, let me say they should be humbled after those losses. The question here is simple, did they learn from those defeats, or will they remain the same arrogant team who feels just showing up will be enough to win? Or will this team be more driven to prove the doubters wrong? That starts with Mike Tomlin, and hopefully bleeds down throughout his staff and to every single player on the 53-man roster.
How do you think these questions will shake out? Let us know by commenting below and contributing to the community!