Preseason is quickly approaching and there hasn't been this much excitement amongst Steeler fans in a few years. It's the unknowns that we have labeled as wins, as they look to be.
We arguably field top 5 players at the position of Guard, TE, RB(?), DE, OLB(2?), and safety. And if you go by many pundits, we basically drafted 3 first rounders in this years draft. This to go along with notable free agent signings. There can be as many as 6 new starters on defense and another 2-3 on offense depending on how pre-season works out.
The question is, is this enough to elevate our standing. Fortunately our ship doesn't veer off course often. The late 2010's were a struggle. We fielded winning records but lost games when they counted most and for the better part of the 2010's we forgot how to play defense.
Now our defense looks like it's ready to place itself amongst the elite of the league once more but the offense becomes the question mark. But with the new starters on D, that too is actually a question mark.
Years ago Tomlin was asked why the Steelers weren't more active in free agency. At the time, he stated it's never good to make to big of a change regardless of how it looks on paper as it affects team chemistry. We threw that out the window this year for sure. The chemical reaction created by the active offseason seems to not be taking from but building upon.
It seems as though we have looked more to IQ, desire, and love for the game over "freak athletes". Cowher did that for years very successfully. And at least on paper, this chemical composition, seems to be gelling better than any of us can imagine.
The X Factors are the new starters as well as the depth. 4 of our top 5 position players are the same. The X factors become questions not actually the statements we consider as improvements. Will JP Jr play like a rookie or continue his winning ways from college? Will the linebackers be able to cover or will it be more of the same? Will we be able to move the ball situationally? These will all be answered in the coming season and chances are the rookies will look like rookies at times. The new depth may not be on the same page at times.
But there is a chemical mixture that's been created. Will the confidence building end to last season carry over? I say absolutely. The team is pushing one another, more than competing. Yes, everyone wants to start but if the coaches sell the system correctly, players buy in. What if the entire organization were on the same page? No hostages at all (A big reason I think we let Maulet go....keeping the chemical composition clean).
As a football fan, I believe we are being highly underrated yet at the same time applauded for the growth of the team yet we're seen at .500 again. With all the new pieces, I don't disagree. It takes time. But as a Steelers fan, I think we are about to have a chemical reaction of the positive variety. What do you think?