Welcome to another edition of the BTSC Pittsburgh Steelers ‘Think Tank’. These articles are designed to be left open ended so you, the fans, can discuss and try to come to your own conclusion regarding the specific topic.
In the past we have discussed everything from offensive balance, position versatilyt among other topics. But today we tackle something I came across today when searching the interenet for articles for my daily links article. At NFL.com, writer Bucky Brooks produced one of his notorious lists/rankings, and the topic at hand was potential “sleeper” teams in 2019.
Before getting to how the Steelers made the list, I was wondering what Brooks’ definition of a ‘sleeper’ actually is, because there is a strong chance it is far different from those reading this article.
Here is what Brooks prefaced his article with:
non-playoff teams from last season that should not be underestimated in 2019
Not really a clear cut definition, but here is what Brooks had to say about the Steelers, and their upcoming season:
Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin might trot out a team possessing less talent than he did last season, but I’m on record as a believer that he will get better results with a more cohesive unit in the locker room. Sure, the departures of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown will defuse some of the offense’s explosiveness, but James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster are Pro Bowl-caliber playmakers ready to step into prime roles. With Ben Roethlisberger motivated to prove his greatness by uplifting an offense that is short on brand names on the perimeter, the Steelers could get his best effort as a player and leader this season. On defense, the addition of first-round pick Devin Bush gives the unit the dynamic weapon it’s been missing since Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury in December 2017. Bush, a former Michigan standout, could dominate the game between the hashes and upgrade a frontline that’s already brimming with young, energetic talent. If the defense comes together and holds its own against some of the premier aerial attacks in the AFC, the Steelers could finally realize their potential as title contenders.
I have to be honest, I don’t always agree with Brooks, but I do in this regard. But I am getting off topic here. Although the 2018 Steelers would fit into the category set forth by Brooks, in that they missed the playoffs last year, could they really be considered a sleeper team? This is a team who always contends, usually makes the playoffs and hasn’t had a losing season since Mike Tomlin took over in 2007.
So, in today’s ‘Think Tank’, how do you describe a ‘sleeper’ team, and would the 2019 Steelers be considered sleepers? Be sure to join the conversation in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as the days drift by before the players report to training camp at the end of the month.