Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell aren’t on the roster, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have plenty of talent and Mike Tomlin reminded us of that.
Mike Tomlin addressed the media during a press conference on Tuesday, to remind all of Steelers Nation that Pittsburgh isn’t dead. Despite more drama than they expected and moving on from two All-Pro players, this team has plenty to work with.
Outside of a Hall of Fame quarterback who, without saying anything, is uniting this team better than anyone has in years, the Steelers have the pieces to replace Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Yes, they did lose two Pro Bowlers, but Tomlin made it clear that Pittsburgh has players in the same positions that played just as well.
He’s talking about James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Heading into the 2018 season, the Steelers biggest worry was playing without Bell. Many didn’t believe Conner was fit to replace him just yet, but from Week 1, the second-year running back took on the starting role and, sorry for the pun, ran with it.
In 13 games, Conner ran for 973 and 12 touchdowns and landed his first Pro Bowl spot. Without any real backup running back, Conner became one of the more dominant runners in the NFL. With the breakout of Jaylen Samuels during the end of the season, this backfield will become even better in 2019.
Then, there’s the wide receiver position. Outside of the hope that James Washington finally finds his traction this season, the Steelers still have a young player who has as much potential as any young receiver in football.
People tend to put JuJu Smith-Schuster’s talent down because of Antonio Brown’s role in Pittsburgh over the last nine years. That doesn’t take away from his Pro Bowl season and his quick emergence in the offense. He’ll need to prove he can be a true number one target this year, but looking at his work through two years, confidence in this fun-loving wideout has to be high.