The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a tremendous training camp and preseason, for a lot of reasons. The team remained healthy, which is paramount, but also saw great signs from younger players who saw more playing time throughout the exhibition season.
Players like James Washington, Kameron Kelly and Devin Bush all showed they are capable of helping the team not just in the future, but during the 2019 regular season. Throw in the fact the team finished the preseason 3-1, and most would say a culture of winning is never a bad thing.
While Steelers fans are brimming with excitement for the upcoming season opener vs. the New England Patriots in Week 1, head coach Mike Tomlin wants to warn fans how a good camp doesn’t necessarily equate to a good season.
“We don’t pay attention to the storylines,” Tomlin told New England reporters via conference call. “That’s stuff that’s fed from the exterior. It was a good camp, but shoot, it was a good camp a year ago. But really you measure camps by how you perform over the course of the season, and from that standpoint stay tuned.”
Stay tuned is right, but when you look back at the 2018 result the team was 7-2-1 and sitting atop the AFC North before a free fall saw them finish the season 9-6-1 and on the outside of the playoffs looking in.
What is different about this team in 2019, compared to the 2018 version? Some might say the circus has left town, but by most accounts this team has certainly been just that — a team. Having to come together to get over the sudden loss of coach Darryl Drake, and get through one of the more tumultuous offseasons in team history, if this team loses they will be doing it together, not as individuals.
At the end of the day, Tomlin is right. You can’t predict success based off of a good preseason, or a good training camp. It just doesn’t work that way. The 0-16 Detroit Lions finished the preseason 4-0 that year, and I bet most fans didn’t see a win-less season coming up after going undefeated in meaningless games.
Take it one step at a time, and the first step is a big one for the black-and-gold. The New England Patriots await the Steelers as they drop their 6th Super Bowl banner in front of a nationally televised audience on Sunday Night Football.