The Steelers players head into the offseason for recovery and the coaches head out to prepare for free agency and the draft.
Steelers season never truly ends for Steeler Nation so while the offseason starts to heat up we’ll be busy looking for mentions of your Black & Gold so we’ve got you covered. Here’s your Steelers Morning Huddle for Monday, Feb. 1st.
Look at the stats
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Steeler Nation went into this season knowing the defense was the weakest link. They lacked talent in the secondary and the majority of the linebackers were unproven and too inconsistent to provide the pass rush needed to stop teams’ offensive attack.
What we saw, however, as the season went on, was a defense that was able to take the ball away, get after the quarterback, and stop teams in the red zone enough to be ranked 11th overall in the league in points allowed (19.9). Mike Prisuta reminds us that with all things considered there’s no reason to expect they’ll get even better next season.
The defense was able to limit points scored against by an increase involvement in the pass rush by the defensive lineman like Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, linebacker Ryan Shazier barely scratched the surface of his capabilities and generating turnovers, particularly in the red zone can make all the difference in the world.
Ben is still Ben
Ben Roethlisberger will turn 34 next month and missed four games due to injury this past season but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reminds us that doesn’t mean that Steelers president Art Rooney II is out looking for Roethlisberger’s replacement right now.
"“Ben didn’t show much sign of falling off this year. I’m looking forward to several more years with Ben as our quarterback.” – Art Rooney II"
Who dresses as Ben’s backup next season and going forward, however, is something the team will be exploring this offseason out of necessity. Backups Bruce Gradkowski and Michael Vick are both free agents and while Landry Jones had the most playing time of his career this year it was mostly characterized as “meh”.
Hoping for an offseason without incident
Martavis Bryant has his most important offseason ahead of him. It will be one where he will be monitored via the NFL’s substance abuse policy but one in where he will be expected to test clean on a regular basis to prove that he learned his lesson from his four-game suspension to start the 2015 season.
Bryant has confidence but challenges from his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who wanted Bryant to rise up and accept the challenge to become the best receiver in the world as reminded by PFT’s Josh Alper. This offseason will be all about how Bryant can respond to that challenge.