Hello fellow BTSC people,
I want to give you my personal offseason review position by position. I don't think I'm telling anyone anything new, just repeating (and reminding you of) stuff you already know in a format that hasn't been done yet and with a few personal thoughts of me added on top.
Quarterbacks ▲ / ▷ / ▼ / ?
Lost: Ben Roethlisberger, Joshua Dobbs, Dwayne Haskins †
Gained: Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett
We simply don't know. Ben was clutch and smart till the very end. On the other side we gain a ton of mobility. I can't make any predictions, it could be the same or worse or better. I'll watch the games and see how it plays out and you should, too.
Wide Receivers ▲
Lost: JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, RayRay McCloud, Cody White
Gained: Calvin Austin, Miley Boykin, George Pickens, Gunner Olszewski, Steven Sims
We gained a lot of talent here. Washington and White were easy replacements and so far Olszewski looks like an upgrade to RayRay, Boykin is servicable, Pickens might be a star. Who knows about CA3 yet (injury). The only true loss is that we know what JuJu was capable of when healthy and he was the leader of the WR room. Let's hope these guys all pan out as expected/they are developing so far. I would say this was definitely an upgrade over what he had last year.
Running Backs ▴
Lost: Kalen Ballage, Anthony McFarland Jr.
Gained: Jaylen Warren
I still can't figure out why so many fans on BTSC every year freak out so much on back up running backs. No matter who it is, Fitzgerald Toussaint, DeAngelo Williams, James Conner, Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland or Jaylen Samuels... all of them are either the best thing that has happened to this world since sliced bread or they have been the antichrist that sinks the franchise into eternal hell.
Can't we just acknowledge, that the Steelers always have ONE bell cow and that RB2/RB3 really matter less than on every other team in the league? It really doesn't matter a lot, folks.
Jaylen Warren has been the find of the year in the UDFA class and is the first backup since Toussaint I personally feel really good about. AMac and KaBal did nothing of value, so they won't be really missed and we saved a roster spot which is the best thing of it really.
Tight Ends ▴
Lost: Kevin Rader, Eric Ebron
Gained: Conner Heyward
The loss of Kevin Rader and injured Ebron doesn't hurt a lot, and Little Heyward could be what Jaylen Samuels never turned out to be and more. The Tight End position, if they continue to improve and stay healthy could be set with the three current guys for years and years to come. I am very happy about this position as it is.
Offensive Line ▼
Lost: Zach Banner, Joe Haeg, John Leglue, Trai Turner, BJ Finney
Gained: Mason Cole, James Daniels, Jesse Davis
The story about the OLine is not really about who they've lost (no tears shed for any of these world breakers), but more about who they didn't acquire and how absolutely atrocious they looked in the preseason. There are large question marks at pretty much every position and regarding coaching, too. This is a mess right now and it could get really ugly. I don't know how you can regress when you're already at the bottom, but it feels like they achieved that feat.
James Daniels has absolutely not justified his price tag so far. Mason Cole probably has and looks at least servicable so far and to be quite honest, I'm just happy, if I don't need to see another 20 high snaps this year. Moore seems to not have improved, and Chuks is still... underwhelming, especially for his price tag.
The trade for Davis is confusing as he was the worst lineman on the worst line last year (yes, even worse than our line, I know, I couldn't believe it either.)
So at this point they're throwing crap onto the wall and hope that some diamonds stick. Hell, even if it's just some shattered glass, aluminium or cauliflower leaves, everything is better than nothing at this point.
Green has been an absolute disappointment (especially since I was a fan of his draft selection) and Dotson continues his weird career with us full of injuries, doghouses, bad and good games alike.
That only leaves J.C. Hassenauer who - in a weird way - is the player I feel the best about in this group, since he doesn't seem to have regressed. Sadly he is our lineman #6,#7 or #8 and wouldn't even be on the roster for many teams, so that is another way to say, how much we're in trouble, if you need to go that far to find something that didn't get worse.
And last (and probably also) least, the new coach seems to have a too complicated system for the players - nobody knows if it's on the players or the coach, but something doesn't seem to add up. I hope it somehow turns out all they need is time and they get better as the season goes along but I don't have high hopes.
Defensive Line ▲
Lost: Carlos Davis, Henry Mondeaux, Demarcus Christmas, Stephon Tuitt
Gained: DeMarvin Leal, Larry Ogunjobi
Since Tuitt didn't play, I can't really say we've lost anything, but still he was one of my favorite players. Otherwise we lost shoddy depth and added a starter and really good depth. Together with Alualu's return from injury, this position has vastly improved and should be one of if not the best and deepest group in the league. All 7 players they kept could be a (low-end) starter in the league somewhere. It doesn't get any better than this.
Inside Linebackers ▲
Lost: Marcus Allen, Ulysees Gilbert III, Tegray Scales, Joe Schobert, Buddy Johnson
Gained: Myles Jack, Mark Robinson
Both new pickups look really good so far. Considering how bad this position looked last year this is actually an upgrade, if you believe me or not. We trimmed a lot of fat at this position, guys that made little of their roster spots. The position still overall is not a strength, I get it, and it has been talked about ad nauseam, but it's leaps and bounds better than last year.
Outside Linebackers ▴
Lost: Taco Charlton
Gained: Malik Reed
Malik Reed should be a slight step up over Taco Charlton.
Lost: Joe Haden, Justin Layne,
Gained: Levi Wallace
I haven't really seen anything of Levi Wallace which probably is exactly what kind of player he is. We lose experience and gain youth and availability. I don't see any dramatic changes on the capability of this group as a whole.
Safeties ▴ / ▷
Gained: Damontae Kazee
Kazee - I assume he comes back at some point, has looked good in preseason, so I guess, this make depth overall a little better. Right now it's just the exact same guys as last year.
Long Snapper ▷
Pressley Harvin seems to be improved, which was much needed. Kuntz and Boswell have been fine, so nothing changed there.
Overall I think we did a really good job of shoring up a lot of minor areas of concern, solved a lot of depth problems and got younger, healthier and better overall. I feel a lot better about most our backups this season than last one.
The three biggest question marks from last season though still remain: OL, QB and ILB
Let's hope that with all these small holes filled up we can make a concentrated effort to cover up the big ones. And of course let's hope whoever is starting at QB for our beloved Steelers is rocking the house and leading us to glory once again.
I for my part am hyped and excited for this season and believe we can truly be a playoff team. My prediction of 10-7 still stands.