As the Pittsburgh Steelers arrive at training camp, the fans are excited. Some of the excitement is positive while some is negative. That is the right of fans. Each fan has their own opinion on the team and the upcoming season. Some fans are looking at the positive while others prefer to approach the season with caution after their defeat in the AFC Championship game. What should fans’ expectations of the upcoming season be?
I think fans of the Steelers have the right to be optimistic and think they can advance to the Super Bowl.
If Martavis Bryant is back and focused, that is a big win for the passing game. Imagine if Ben Roethlisberger has Antonio Brown and Bryant out wide; what could that do to open up the running game? Although the negative side will point out that Bryant is a mistake away from another suspension…
The running game has just as many questions. The confidence in the run game depends on a couple of factors that are fluid. The positive fan will say that Le’Veon Bell will be back in plenty of time for the season opener. While some other positive fans think the depth will be fine if Bell holds out.
The negative side of things will point out that Bell is the catalyst for the offense and he can hold out into the season just to prove a point. Some will point out that James Conner and Knile Davis are as capable as DeAngelo Williams was.
Then we have the defense. Three rookies started last year and improved as the season went on. Can they continue to improve? Is this the year that Ryan Shazier shows the league what Steeler fans believe him to be? When does Father Time collect on James Harrison and if he does, who fills his shoes?
You also have Cam Heyward coming back healthy. You have Stephon Tuitt improving and a full season of Bud Dupree. Lawrence Timmons looked a step slow in the AFC Championship game so Vince Williams should be able to bring the hard hits like LT did.
That is a lot of positive and negatives for the team. So how do we set our expectations? We do not. Well, we don’t set them right now. I think fans should settle down and relax on both sides. Watch preseason and see what happens. The NFL is about parity these days. One season you are on top and the next you are in the running for a high pick.
The Steelers have fought off this curse for a long time. I am not worried about the Steelers being on that side of things. I do think training camp through the last preseason game can bring a ton of changes. Who would have thought that a kicker going down in the first game would have had such an impact on the season.
Right now, it is unfair to James Conner, T.J. Watt or Ju Ju Smith-Schuster to say they are superstars or a waste of a pick. Just sit right back and give them a chance to play.
I remember last preseason the talk of camp was Sammie Coates and then he laid an egg in the first preseason game. Everyone was saying the sky was falling. Sure enough, Sammie Coates was solid until he got hurt. Moral of the story is that all sides need to take a breath and exhale. Enjoy the next couple of weeks and then decide what you think of the team.
Remember, everyone has opinions so be respectful of theirs.