One of my all-time favorite movies is the courtroom classic “A Few Good Men”. Something about the back-and-forth exchange between Jack Nicholson, Colonel Nathan Jessop, and Tom Cruise, Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, at the end of the movie has always stuck with me.
Everyone knows the, “You can’t handle the truth!” line from the movie, but what follows is even better, in my opinion. Especially the part with Jessop talks about weakening a country due to his pending arrest.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and knowing some cuts were going to be made, I felt the same way about a team which should be poised to be a Super Bowl contender for as long as Ben Roethlisberger wears No. 7 for the black-and-gold.
The Steelers were getting weaker, not stronger.
However, this was certainly just the fan in me bleeding through. In the wake of the horrible loss on home turf, I read comment after comment about how the team was broken beyond the point of repair. Players and coaches alike just weren’t good enough.
The more I thought about it, the more I disagreed. The offense was still elite, and I truly felt the defense was just a few pieces away from being in the top tier of NFL defenses. The team just had to find a way to add those pieces.
NFL Free Agency arrived, and the Steelers didn’t make a peep.
However, those who know understand this isn’t how the Steelers do business, nor did they have the salary cap space to make any grand moves. They waited, and started to make moves.
First, they added inside linebacker Jon Bostic, who most recently played for the Indianapolis Colts. For their second act, the Steelers added Morgan Burnett, free agent safety from the Green Bay Packers.
What these two players bring to the team is not just experience, but extremely high football intelligence with an emphasis on communication. These factors will help ease the transition of the defense from not only life without Ryan Shazier, but an attempt to move on from the Mike Mitchell/William Gay era.
When things were at their lowest after the Jaguars loss, and I can say I haven’t experienced much worse since taking over here at BTSC, the Steelers proved they are still all-in for another championship.
When fans were about to jump ship, the Steelers have done nothing but show they are committed to winning, and nothing was more evident than the additions of Jon Bostic and Morgan Burnett to start the second week of free agency.
Are these those huge splash free agent signings? Similar to what would have been the signing Tyrann Mathieu? Absolutely not, but they are extremely valuable pieces of the team’s 2018 puzzle. The experience, communication and versatility these players bring is invaluable to the team, especially heading into the 2018 NFL Draft.
While many thought the Steelers were anything but committed to the overall goal, the team has proven otherwise, going out and bringing in talent which can help fill some of the holes the team has on the roster.
The players are in place, but can the coaches get the in the position to succeed?
That is an entirely different discussion for another day.