Just the other day I couldn't help but click a link. Like the loyal readers of this website, I search for news, opinions and facts on the Pittsburgh Steelers on a daily basis. While readers simply look for anything to read on the black and gold during the extremely painful NFL offseason, I am looking for potential articles to create.
While perusing, I couldn't help but see a USA Today article which ranked the offseasons of all 32 NFL teams. As I typically do, I immediately search for where the Steelers are ranked.
"They have to be near the Top 5...Nope. Okay, Top 10 at least...Nope. Alright, top half of the league? Wrong again."
The Steelers are ranked 18th in the league, according to these rankings, and here was the reasoning behind their bottom half rank:
They hope their first two draft picks, corners (Artie Burns and Sean Davis) remedies the AFC's worst pass defense. Retired TE Heath Miller will be missed as will suspended WR Martavis Bryant.
I'm not kidding, you could probably write almost the same summation of Pittsburgh's offseasons, just changing the names, dating back to the days of Dewayne Washington and Chad Scott.
Now, I could have easily written an article calling the ranking a bunch of malarkey, but I couldn't help but realize this is just how the Steelers do business. Fans like to get angry when they feel their favorite team is disrespected by the media. They almost want to carry around the underdog label as if they were the ones putting on the helmet with the hypocycloids on the logo every Sunday. Nonetheless, if you asked general manager Kevin Colbert or head coach Mike Tomlin what they thought of the ranking, the conversation would probably resemble something like this:
Me: "Hey guys, did you see USA Today ranked the Steelers 18th on their list of all 32 teams' offseasons recently?"
Tomlin: "We don't listen to elevator music."
And the two would be off on their way without even a second thought about it. Why? Not only do they not have the time or effort to waste on such an article, but this is the status quo for the Steelers.
Leading into the 2015 season, their ranking description could have read something like this:
"The Steelers hope to get significant contributions from rookies Bud Dupree and Senquez Golson, but the addition of DeAngelo Williams to replace Le'Veon Bell during his suspension doesn't seem like an upgrade."
How did the team's season turn out? Dupree did more than contribute, Golson never saw the field and Williams did more than just fill in for Bell during his suspension, and was a foot injury away from rushing for 1,000 yards after Bell returned for 5 games before injuring his knee.
This is just how the Steelers work. They make very careful and calculated moves in free agency, they take who they think are the prized picks at their position in the NFL Draft, and they keep on moving. Let teams like the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles try to "win the offseason", while the Steelers simply win in the regular season and beyond.
Why didn't the Steelers make a ton of splashes this offseason? There wasn't a need for them. They lost Martavis Bryant for the season and Heath Miller to retirement. The addition of Ladarius Green almost single-handedly helps the team adjust to those losses.
Let the media write and talk all they want about the Baltimore Ravens 11 draft picks, the Cleveland Browns setting themselves up for the future and the Cincinnati Bengals being an AFC powerhouse in 2016. The Steelers will simply keep their nose to the grindstone and prepare for another playoff run.