The 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers have something special going on. Yes, they are 5-0 as they head to Nashville to take on the only other remaining undefeated team in the AFC. But there is something else to the Steelers team, and the more Steelers fans understand it the more they need to appreciate the Steelers front office’s willingness to protect it.
The Steelers locker room is really something special.
Sometimes fans get it and sometimes they just don’t see this aspect of the game. When a team comes together in the locker room, there’s so much more they can do on the field. Of course it’s easier to have a good locker room when a team is winning, but this started long before the Steelers took the field for the first time in 2020.
Going through the different training camp setting required this season, the Steelers had a different mentality. From the beginning head coach Mike Tomlin made the statement of “It’s one fail, all fail” which speaks both to the teams mentality when it comes to Covid procedures as well as the season in general. By players and personnel needing to take the precautions needed to in order to make this season happen, it appears it has brought this team together even more. Add the fact not one single Steelers player opted out for the season already and it felt like something special was going on with this team from the very beginning.
As the season progresses, more evidence continues to emerge about the quality the Steelers locker room. Ben Roethlisberger cannot say enough about his young wide receivers. Remember, Roethlisberger is only seven games removed from having a team which included Antonio Brown. Seeing the Steelers Pro Bowl wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster smiling and happy after a win where he had a minimal contribution shows the difference in this wide receivers room which Roethlisberger hasn’t seen for a long time.
For those who may not have seen Thursday’s Minkah Fitzpatrick interview, T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree decided to drop in and take over for a while. It was quite comical for anyone watching as Fitzpatrick burst out into laughter at their responses. While many may put this into just people having fun, the fact that they can have fun and not feel like they’re stealing each other spotlight is something to be noted.
Bud Dupree and TJ Watt’s impersonation of Minkah’s would-be answer about Alabama is also pretty hilarious pic.twitter.com/49LFQ0OajL— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) October 22, 2020
Another example of the Steelers locker room being different is Steelers tight end Eric Ebron. One of the biggest complaints about Ebron coming into 2020 was his presence in the locker room in his previous stops in the NFL. What has happened since he’s come to the Steelers? There haven’t been any problems reported. Additionally, Ebron is jumping for joy on the sidelines at Steelers games.
So what’s the big deal? Why even talk about the Steelers locker room chemistry? Whether it’s great or if it’s terrible, does it really matter if the team is winning?
Yes, it does.
The biggest thing the Steelers need to make sure they do this season is not screw it up. As the trade deadline approaches, many feel the Steelers could possibly make a move to bolster their roster. But as much as a player can bring to the field, the Steelers also need to be aware of what the player would bring to the locker room.
I understand that just because someone has a black and gold T-shirt and a smart phone it doesn’t mean they speak for Steelers’ Nation. There are plenty of takes presented on social media, many of which are absolutely terrible. I’m going to highlight one or two that I’ve seen from multiple places and show how little they consider locker room chemistry.
“The Steelers need to trade JuJu NOW! They’re going to get nothing from him if they don’t.”
Why are the Steelers concerned about getting something in return for a player who may or may not leave via free agency following this season? The Steelers are 5-0. This year is what it’s all about. Not only that, why would the Steelers even consider taking their locker room leader in the wide receivers room and shipping him off somewhere else? What message does that send to the other young players on the team? What if JuJu Smith-Schuster is the glue that holds them all together?
I’m not going to quote the next one exactly, but even some former Steelers has chimed in on the topic of the Steelers trading for Dwayne Haskins. I don’t understand the point. First, what are they going to have to give up to get him? Next, how is he going to help the Steelers win in 2020? And finally, why would the Steelers disrupt a quarterback room which appears to be functioning quite well?
In case you’re wondering why I make the statement about a well-functioning quarterback room, it’s based on the James Washington touchdown in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns. The story about this play is it was presented to Ben Roethlisberger on the sidelines by third-string quarterback Josh Dobbs who saw something where he thought it would work.
The reason this is such a big deal is Ben Roethlisberger is trusting the other players in the quarterback room. Why would Ben Roethlisberger listen to Dobbs unless these guys have something going on? Roethlisberger has been doing this more than all the other guys in the room combined, but yet Roethlisberger listened to Dobbs, Steelers scored a touchdown, and Roethlisberger gave Dobbs the credit.
How much do fans really know about the Steelers locker room? We can look for evidence through various things, but it’s really difficult to find out the information with certainty. After the fact, we found out so much about Steelers superstars from several years ago and the issues going on. But from everything that is coming out in 2020, this is not the case with this team. This team is rolling on and off the field.
As a Steelers fan, remember the importance of locker room chemistry, specifically in season. Yes, it would be nice if the Steelers could go out and compile as much talent as possible before the trade deadline. But if there’s any question as to whether or not it’s going to upset the balance in the locker room while this team is on a roll, then don’t even bother picking up the phone.