Over the final 32 days before the start of Steelers' training camp in 2014, we're highlighting 32 scenarios for the upcoming year. We'll list reasons why they'll happen, why they won't and keys to both.
Scenario: Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell rushes for 1,000 yards in the 2014 season
Why it will happen: Pittsburgh, much like last season, will be committed to running the ball frequently in 2014. The investments they've made in their offensive line look to finally begin paying dividends. Center Maurkice Pouncey is armed with a new contract, and right guard David DeCastro looks to ascend to a spot among the top interior offensive linemen in the game. The pair have only played three games and eight snaps together in the two years they've been on the team. The Steelers drafted Bell in the second round of 2013, the final component to a unit that's been desperately trying to rush for success since 2011.
New offensive line coach Mike Munchak was brought in to help guide a young but now experienced offensive line. Kelvin Beachum was inserted at left tackle in Week 6 of last season, moving past the failed experiments of Mike Adams and Levi Brown. Ramon Foster will return to left guard and Marcus Gilbert will be on the right side again.
Why it won't happen: Injuries have decimated every facet of the Steelers' running game for three straight years. Different combinations of offensive linemen, tight ends and even coaches have prevented the team from running the zone scheme it has been trying to implement for two years.
There's reason to believe Pouncey has yet to perform to a level worthy of his highest paid center status, and the relative lack of pop from the Steelers' tackle positions will lead to a crumbling of their zone scheme early and often.
Other concerns come from the tight end position, which was essentially at half strength for the majority of last season. Stalwart Heath Miller wasn't 100 percent for much of last year and the Steelers only got a handful of snaps from free agent acquisition Matt Spaeth, one of the better run-blocking tight ends in the NFL. Both suffered major injuries, and may not get back to where they once were.
Keys: Heath, stability and a fast start. The Steelers have started each of the last seasons very poorly, having lost three consecutive openers, including an embarrassing loss to the Titans last season - their first home-opening loss in a decade. Heath has been part of that reason, although there is plenty of blame to be passed around the team. If Bell is going to rush for 1,000 yards, the entire offense will have to get off to a better start, and carry that momentum through the year.