When you evaluate the roster as a whole, there is something very noticeable...the roster is eerily similar to last season's, but with even less experience.
Let's see here...we have our future hall of fame quarterback, an all-pro receiver, a potentially sketchy secondary, a promising, young receiver suspended, and our star running back is beginning the season suspended, as well...what year is this?
The Pittsburgh Steelers were out with the old, and in with the new this offseason, and while they restocked with young talent, the newcomers aren't exactly proven yet.
While Antwon Blake and Will Allen were not necessarily elite talent, they have been replaced with rookies and younger players that have not yet had time to develop into an NFL starter. You don't have to be a football guru to know that experience can not be taught. The injury to Senquez Golson at training camp this week has only added more mystery to an already skeptical position.
Look at it this way: Imagine this is the Cleveland Browns' secondary, filled with these rookies and new starters. Fans of the black and gold would be laughing and chomping at the bit to drop Big Ben Bombs (I need to trademark that) all over them.
Heath Miller's retirement has forced the Steelers to fill in the major hole he leaves at tight end with Ladarius Green and Jesse James, both whom have potential, but are not proven. Green has had three seasons to shadow and learn from Antonio Gates in San Diego, and the Steelers are hoping he has brought some of that with him to Western Pennsylvania.
The season-long suspension of Martavis Bryant opens the door for Markus Wheaton to show he has what it takes to be the future. Behind him, Sammie Coates is eager to show how productive he can be. Combined with the reliable Darius Heyward-Bey, the three receivers have the potential to be effective, but are not proven.
Now I must ask you -- what position did the Pittsburgh Steelers upgrade with proven talent this offseason?
Outside of the return of Maurkice Pouncey, there's not one.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing I want more than the Steelers to get the seventh ring this season, and to come back to this article in six months and read about how wrong I was-- but to accomplish that, it is critical for the rookies and new starters to prove their abilities at the NFL level. There is no denying the potential of this team, but it is up to them to deliver to the standard.