Minnesota Vikings Look Fresh on Offense
The Minnesota Vikings decided to make a change at offensive coordinator earlier in the week. Did it pay off and will it pay off?
The Pittsburgh Steelers had an interesting 2017 season, but they once again failed to win the Super Bowl. The Steelers finished with a 13-3 record and the number two seed in the AFC, but they should have finished with the number one seed in the AFC. It had to do with an overturned Jesse James touchdown late in the game against the New England Patriots and then they were picked off at the goal line.
The playoff matchups would have been different, but the what if game can be played all we want. Pittsburgh lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Round last season. I thought the Steelers were going to fire head coach Mike Tomlin after that game, but he is around for another season.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley is not and Randy Fichtner is the new offensive coordinator for the Steelers. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been considering retirement, but now he wants to play for the next three to four years.
Running back Le'Veon Bell has not gotten a contract extension and he is 28 years old. It is quite possible this is his last season in a Steelers uniform.
Linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a serious injury in a game last season on the road in Week 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He had no movement what so ever and Shazier had to stay in a hospital for a couple of months. Ryan Shazier is walking again and he hopes to play football again some day, but Shazier is out for the entire 2018 season. The Steelers defense was not the same without him late in the season. Pittsburgh will begin training camp on Wednesday July 25.
Ben Roethlisberger will be the starting quarterback. Landry Jones, rookie Mason Rudolph, and Josh Dobbs will compete for the backup job. There will be one quarterback that gets cut and it will most likely be Josh Dobbs.
Le'Veon Bell will be the starting running back. James Conner will be the second running back. Fitzgerald Toussaint will be the third running back. Stevan Ridley will be the fourth running back. James Summers or rookies Jarvion Franklin and Jalen Summers, will try and snag Ridley's spot.
Roosevelt Nix will be the fullback.
Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster will be the top two wide receiver. Rookie wide receiver James Washington is a game breaker and he will be the number three receiver. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Thomas, and Justin Hunter should be the final three receivers on the roster. Tevin Jones, Trey Griffey, Marcus Tucker, and rookies Quadree Henderson and Damoun Patterson will try and compete for spots on the roster as well.
Jesse James, Vance McDonald, and Xavier Grimble will be the three tight ends on the roster.
The Steelers have a very good offensive line. Alejandro Villanueva will be the starting left tackle. Ramon Foster will be the starting left guard. Maurkice Pouncey will be the starting center. David DeCastro will be the starting right guard. Marcus Gilbert will be the starting right tackle. Parker Collins, B.J. Finney, and Larson Graham will be some key backup offensive lineman.
The Pittsburgh Steelers play a 3-4 defensive front. Keith Butler is the defensive coordinator and he received a lot of criticism last season.
Cameron Heyward, Javon Hargrave, and Stephon Tuitt will be the starting defensive line. It is one the best units in the NFL. Tyson Alualu and L.T. Walton will be in the rotation on the defensive line as well. Daniel McCullers and rookies Josh Frazier and Greg Gilmore will compete for the backup defensive tackle role.
The Steelers are great at starting outside linebacker. T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree will be the starters. The starting inside backer spots will be a battle in training camp. I expect Tyler Matakevich, Vince Williams, Jon Bostic, and L.J. Fort to all make the roster, but at the end of the day, Matakevich and Williams will be the starters. Keion Adams and Anthony Chickillo will be the backup outside linebackers.
Joe Haden and Artie Burns will be the starting corners. Morgan Burnett and Sean Davis will be the starting safeties. Mike Hilton, Coty Sensabaugh, and Cameron Sutton will be the other three cornerbacks on the roster. Dashuan Phillips, Brian Allen, and rookie Trey Johnson will try and make noise in training camp in order to claim a spot on the roster. Rookie safety Terrell Edmunds was drafted in the first-round and he could be a force on the Steelers backend sooner rather than later.
Chris Boswell will be the Steelers kick. Jordan Berry should be the Steelers punter, but Matt Wile will compete in training camp to be the team's punter.
JuJu Smith-Schuster will be the Pittsburgh's kickoff returner and Antonio Brown will be Pittsburgh's punt returner.
The Steelers should win the AFC North again this season. Pittsburgh has the talent to win the Super Bowl. The question is, will they ever beat the New England Patriots? It is there biggest stumbling block. The times Pittsburgh has won it all, they haven't had to worry about them one time.
This is a pressure packed season for a lot of people in Pittsburgh. This is also a reality check season for head coach Mike Tomlin. The front office will probably be on high alert early and often. Steelers fans are the passionate fans in the entire NFL and they can't stand losing.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will open up the season on the road on Sunday September 9 against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have lost their last 17 games and the Steelers can't afford to play down to their competition the first week of the regular season. Pittsburgh will win somewhere between 10-13 games this season. They could be the best team in the AFC this season.