Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Matt Freed
These are mostly my random thoughts, but I will begin with Ivan Cole’s email. Although neither of us are known for being particularly succinct, it was a masterpiece of linguistic economy:
- From: Ivan Cole
- Subject: MVP
- Joshua Dobbs
Here are some of my thoughts on the game:
Photo via Steelers.com/Karl Rosen
As fate would have it, I was only able to follow the score updates on NFL.com during the actual game. (It’s complicated.) But I did manage to watch the condensed version on Gamepass last evening, which it may interest you to know took 33 minutes total. There seems to be a lot of wasted time in a football game.
Which was, I guess, my first random thought. Here are some more, in no particular order:
Karl Rosen photo/ Steelers.com
By Ivan Cole
I begin with my usual disclaimer that I focus on potentialities rather than predictions. Many things can and will happen between now and February that impact outcomes. I will address some of these shortly. That being said, it’s not going out on a limb to assert that the 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers are legitimate Super Bowl Champion contenders as measured by the accumulated talent, organizational leadership and support. Unfortunately, there is more involved. What follows are the four horsemen of the Apocalypse that alone or in tandem can undermine a season.
Photo: Western Michigan Athletics
It’s getting on for the end of the third round in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Steelers have chosen a wide receiver in the second round, which wasn’t very surprising given they had just traded Martavis Bryant away, and then moved up in the third round to nab Mason Rudolph, a choice which will make this draft either live in infamy among Steelers Nation or go down as one of the smartest moves of a generally canny front office.
And while it took one of the Steelers’ few remaining picks (No. 220) to get Rudolph, at least they still had their usual third-rounder. So who would they use it on? One of the remaining ILBs? A pass rusher?
Nope. It was back to the offense—the very unit that was putatively the strength of the team already. They took an offensive tackle.
Although Ivan has pretty much sewn up the “think globally” part of the site writing, I’m going to dip my toes back into those waters before continuing with my profiles of the new players, because several interesting bits of news have hit the stands.
But before I speak of things particular to the Steelers, I’m going to tackle a league-wide issue which, strangely, does not effect the Steelers, thank heavens—the increasing fuss over the “working” conditions of the NFL cheerleaders.
I’ve always been a fan of the Steelers eschewing cheerleaders, and given what I’m reading, I’m even gladder, although I can’t see the Rooneys treating “employees” with the same disdain as some of the teams.
In case you’re wondering why I have italicized “working” and “employees,” it is because many cheerleaders are not, apparently, paid in any significant way.
By Ivan Cole
If you are interested enough, the entire football year can be endlessly intriguing. As we move into the second week of OTAs it is still far too early to make much sense of where the Steelers stand in relation to securing that seventh championship this season, but enough of the puzzle pieces are in place to allow for some educated speculation.
Injuries and other handicaps
In past seasons the team often struggled with a high volume of injuries. As Head Coach Mike Tomlin has said, the injury rate in the National Football League is 100 percent, therefore it has been tempting to throw one’s hands in the air and declare that it is all just a matter of luck as to how things work out.
A few years ago, Art Rooney II threw the gauntlet down and declared the organization’s intention to get a better handle on the situation. It sounded at the time like Owner Speak, putting an optimistic face on a problem that was really beyond the capacity to influence.
By Ivan Cole
Since last we met on this topic the personnel situation has advanced significantly. The draft has occurred, free agents signed and a significant trade. How have these developments advanced the narrative?
A quarterback controversy
I don’t believe that we have had a full-blown version of this phenomena during the Ben Roethlisberger era, although there has been some drama and conversation surrounding back- ups. But the drafting of Mason Rudolph has impacted the entire quarterback room and will likely be a focus of conversation for years to come, regardless how the situation unfolds.
The current bottom-line as I understand it now is that unless there is an injury/IR circumstance like the one that unfolded during the 2010 season when Ben, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon were all on the roster, when the 2018 edition of the Steelers begins play in September one the players in that room, Ben, Rudolph, Landry Jones or Joshua Dobbs, will be gone. What should we look for going forward?