As the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fan base prepare for the 2015 NFL Draft, and the 2015 NFL regular season schedule is about to be released, many look at the team's roster and start to look ahead and try and get a picture of what to expect in the coming season. A bit of advice to those doing just that, don't allow the past to alter your view on the future and the upcoming season.
The Steelers are a team which has experienced a tremendous amount of turnover across the board. Whether it was the release of Brett Keisel, the retirements of Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor or legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau leaving for the Tennessee Titans, just to name a few.
The simple fact is when the 2015 Steelers take the field, no one knows what to expect from the team, especially on the defensive side of the football. With LeBeau gone, many believe the Steelers' defense will simply look like the same old 3-4 scheme just with a different person wearing a headset calling the plays. However, no one knows what Butler will do now he has the reigns of the horse which is the Steelers defense. Will he be LeBeau 2.0? Or will Butler put a spin on the defense which will accentuate the players' skill sets and minimize their weaknesses?
On top of the person calling the plays is the reality of the turnover on the defensive roster. Gone are Polamalu, Keisel and Taylor. Joining them in retirement was Jason Worilds. How will Stephon Tuitt and Ryan Shazier perform in their sophomore seasons? All questions which won't be answered until this Fall when the games truly count.
The offensive side of the football was left relatively untouched, but what will the team's offense show defenses with a second year wide receiver Martavis Bryant who stormed onto the scene in 2014 to the tune of 8 touchdowns in 10 games played? Will Bryant's presence change the poor red zone offense which plagued the 2014 Steelers offense? Will Antonio Brown continue his dominant ways? Just as the defensive side of the ball, only time will tell.
Fans will constantly be wondering what will happen with their favorite team heading into the new season, but for the first time in over a decade, the 2015 Steelers will look entirely different across the board. Almost all of the players who were on the roster the last time the organization won their last Lombardi trophy are gone, and for once it is time to turn to the next generation of Pittsburgh Steelers.
So what are fans to do? Don't hold judgement until you give this team the eye test. On paper anyone can draw conclusions and give doomsday testimonies to the team's fate, but the reality of the situation is this team is so fresh and new in so many cases, it will take time to see what this team will look like on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football.
Could the 2015 season be a rough row to hoe with the toughest schedule and the turnover the team has experienced? Certainly, but it could also be a great opportunity for the new regime of Pittsburgh Steelers to make their mark on the organization.