This upcoming regular season will be season four of my adventure as the host of the “Let’s Ride” podcast for the Steel Curtain Network, formerly known as the Behind the Steel Curtain podcast network.
With this Monday, Wednesday and Friday solo show, I find myself often thinking back to where my thoughts, and feelings, were the year prior at specific points during the season.
- What were my post-draft thoughts on the team in 2022?
- Was I really thrilled with the free agent moves last year?
- As for expectations, were they high heading into the season last year?
- How excited was I before the 2022 regular season?
Thinking back to last season I remember how I was extremely excited for the 2022 season. The rookie class of 2022, mainly the top three picks, had me thinking the future was bright. However, as the offseason progressed and it became increasingly clear Kenny Pickett wasn’t going to be the starter out of the gate, my excitement waned.
In fact, when I’m being completely honest with myself, last season I thought the team could make some noise, but it will likely be an uphill battle.
It was that, and then some.
Fast forward to Omar Khan’s first full offseason as the team’s General Manager (GM) and I can say it feels as if it’s night-and-day, when it comes to my excitement level for the upcoming season.
The Steelers, and the new-look front office, have masterfully worked both free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft. Some will credit Khan’s aggressiveness, while others deem it to be more patience. Either way, everything seemed to work in his favor this offseason. Everything from the Chase Claypool trade to the Chicago Bears to the trade up in Round 1 of the 2023 draft to leap-frog the New York Jets and get Broderick Jones in Round 1.
The offseason moves are one thing, but the overall improvement of the roster is what is generating the most excitement for me.
Sure, the Steelers could have run back the same five offensive linemen, but instead they improved and created competition at almost every position. Yes, they lost some players in free agency, but they have all but negated those losses with savvy veteran additions to the roster.
With excitement high, is this 2023 Steelers team built for a Super Bowl run? That might be a bit lofty, but they are much closer to that now than they were a year ago. On my podcast I’ve spoken about how the Steelers started a 2-3 year rebuild when Ben Roethlisberger retired. This would be Year 2 of said rebuild.
Has the team’s offseason been good enough where it has accelerated the progress? Maybe, but it certainly was a big step in the right direction.
Even the team’s biggest detractors can’t suggest the Steelers didn’t improve, at least on paper, this past offseason. Now it’s time to see if they can put together a better product on the field. Many questions remain, but I have to admit, I’m more excited for this season than I was in 2022.
Bring it on.
(Note: The Letter from the Editor feature runs every Sunday during the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason.)
How Omar Khan has done in his first season as the Steelers GM was the topic of conversation on my Friday “Let’s Ride” podcast. You can hear that in the player below: