The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season has changed shape many times this offseason. When the 2021 NFL salary cap decreased, for the first time since its creation, many fans saw a long list of free agents destined to depart, and a team on the way down.
Slowly, the Steelers were able to manage the cap and keep more free agents than anyone ever expected them to keep. With some creativity in the front office, and my creativity I mean using void years in contracts, the Steelers were able to start making moves.
Needless to say, after the 2021 NFL Draft, and several moves prior to training camp, expectations for this team have changed. I’d go as far as saying they’ve changed dramatically. However, not only have expectations changed, but an urgency is evident for many players on the Steelers’ current roster.
Those players would be those who might wonder if this year is their last shot at a championship. Players like Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger met with media on Thursday this week, and was asked about this training camp, and if there is a sense of urgency heading into this regular season.
“Camp was still kind of different, obviously, than what we’re used to. A little different than last year but still different. I think every year that you play in this league your urgency has to go up. For a guy that’s played for a long time, every year seems like there’s some urgency to it. Someone like Cam, I’m sure he’s feeling the same way, that he’s been doing this for a while.” Roethlisberger said.
“I’ll never forget, it was my first or second year, Chad Scott got up in front of the team and was like, “Listen, I’ve been doing this a long time and there’s no guarantees you’re ever going to make the playoffs again.” So, I think every guy needs to take that approach, that this could be the last chance you have.”
Maybe with a combination of urgency, and higher expectations, this Steelers team can fly under the radar and shock people. It won’t be easy. The Steelers call the AFC North home, which is arguably the toughest division in the NFL. On top of that, the team also plays the toughest schedule of any team in the league, based on 2020 win percentage.
Some suggest the Steelers play their best football when their backs are against the wall and people are counting them out. This theory will be put to the test in 2021, and it will be intriguing to see if they can respond. But as Roethlisberger suggests, they need to have a sense of urgency because you never know if/when they’ll ever get back to the playoffs.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season and the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field in Week 2 of the NFL Preseason.