With mandatory Minicamp in the books, the narrative of the ‘19 campaign continues with speculation and excitement galore. BTSC anticipates big storylines and issues bold statements regarding each one of them. Let’s take a look and deem them as fact or fiction.
Despite talent at the RB position, the Steelers are likely to run the wheels off of James Conner
Mike Tomlin teams haven’t always been great at limiting carries and reducing the load for their RB1. We’ve seen it before with Fast Willie Parker going out with a broken leg late in 2007, LeGarrette Blount leaving due to lack of carries and Le’Veon Bell and Deangelo Williams being spelled sparingly and suffering injuries. However, the paradigm is shifting and it seems more likely that preserving James Conner has become a priority. Don’t expect a full-blow running back by committee situation, but expect more opportunities for Jaylen Samuels and Bennie Snell Jr. to get involved more.
Antonio Brown will do his best not to blast the Steelers on HBO’s Hard Knocks.
Fact...But keep reading
I have a feeling that the Raiders will mandate that AB refrain from badmouthing his former team on the cable series and I wouldn’t be surprised if No. 84 tries to do his best not too. However, HBO needs drama and Brown won’t be able to stay mum. Antonio’s best won’t be good enough as he fills his segment of the show with innuendo and stories of suffering oppression from Steelers management and his former quarterback.
Donte Moncrief becomes the clear-cut WR2 by camp’s end.
There is a ton of talent in the Steelers’ stable of wide receivers and Moncrief hasn’t quite achieved stats expected of a number-one selection. However, the former Colt and Jaguar hasn’t always been in great receiving-opportunity climates. With the exception of a not-always healthy Andrew Luck, Moncrief has had an aged Matt Hasselbeck, Jacoby Brissett, Scott Tolsien, Josh Freeman, Cody Kessler and Blake Bortles throwing to him as a WR2. Moncrief walks into a perfect situation in Pittsburgh with a future Hall of Famer throwing him the ball. I expect the rapport to develop quickly with Ben Roethlisberger and for Moncrief to make the most of his opportunity opposite JuJu.
Vance McDonald will break Heath Miller’s team single-season mark of eight receiving touchdowns for a tight end.
Vance has never had more than four touchdowns in a single season, but he’s poised for a big season and has developed quite a rapport with Ben Roethlisberger. If healthy, he can possibly be the second-most targeted receiver next to JuJu Smith-Schuster. No. 89 has the ability to eclipse Heath and will come real close, but I don’t think he’ll adVance past Miller Time.
2019 will be Bud Dupree’s swan-song season as a Steeler.
(Tossup...But I’ll lean towards) Fiction
I think to the chagrin of many (not me), Bud Dupree will get a new contract opportunity with the Steelers. I think working more closely with Keith Butler will lead to his best season in the Burgh and the lack of depth will make it hard to cut ties, despite what might be a hefty price tag.
Am I right on? Or are my opinions just pure poppycock? The comment section is yours to have your voice heard.