Pittsburgh Steelers offensive last season finished in the second place in the NFL in terms of yards per play while they emerged fourth in scoring despite the power trio of Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger never playing in the whole game together. What is extremely enthusiastic is the fact that Roethlisberger who is entering his thirteenth season as the Pittsburgh’s starting quarter –back told the USA TODAY after his team’s opening practice of training in the camp last week that he wondered what it would be like if everybody was there and everyone was in the field. If the team stays healthy and put to the end their performance will be fantastic and in line with the Super bowl predictions.
This is a thought that is likely to stress the defenses, but one which the Steelers’ first four opponents may not grapple with this season. Bell may be the NFL’s best all-round back is occupied with the appeal of a four game suspension for missing numerous drug tests. Martavis Bryant, who is the Pittsburg’s No.2 receiver, has been banned for any participation in this season due to his substance abuse violations.
At a certain juncture, the cocktail of poor judgment and bad luck figures is going to reduce which will lead to reorganization of the NFL’s quarterback, running back and receiver combination. Considering the time that has lapsed sine the trio managed to stay in the game for the entire 60 minutes as back in December 21, in 2014 leaving everyone speculating what this type of offence is capable of yielding.
Todd Haley, offensive coordinator, said that the most prudent approach is to remain focused on the task at hand and try and reap the most out the players. He added that they are trying to see how good they can get every day, which will be a sign of how really good their chances are.
When you go back last 10 games in the 2014 season, Steelers’ averaged over 31 points while Roethlisberger had a 12 touchdown passes in a span of two games setting an NFL record and Brown and Bell sealed the first team of all-pro honors. They gave the impression of peaking in their second year in Haley’s offense on their way to the AFC North title. Unfortunately at the time Bell suffered a knee injury in the 17th week which kept him out of the opening round playoff which they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
Universally, every team suffers from injuries and other unforeseen issues, but Steelers’ unfortunate run in previous season was extraordinary and striking. Bell missed the first two games due to drug suspension. He came back in the third week and Roethlisberger immediately suffered a medical collateral ligament strain and bruised his bone in the left knee that did cost him four successive games. Big Bien comeback in the 8th week against Cincinnati Bengal, Bell badly tore his MCL which ended his season. The following week Roethlisberger got hurt yet again making him miss his next start. However, he came off the bench and led the Cleveland Browns despite his sprained left foot.
In spite of the setbacks, Steelers went 10-6 earning them a wild card. In Cincinnati, they won their playoff opener, but Roethlisberger sprained AC joint in the shoulder and ligament damage thanks for the hit from a linebacker called Vontaze Burfict. A foot injury was responsible for the veteran DeAngelo Williams missing both playoff games which left Steelers without their most reliable tailbacks. Roethlisberger later concluded that the key to a successful and fruitful season is staying healthy. It is really straining when you are in and out.
The good news for Steelers now is that they are healthy. Roethlisberger, 34, before the camp had an MRI which showed his shoulder had fully healed without undergoing surgery. Brown, 28, and Bell,24, joined Roethlisberger in the team drills at the start of camp. It was also interesting to see center Maurkice Pouncey in action too after suffering multiple leg surgeries last season.
Todd Haley admitted that despite his vast experience of twenty years as a coach that it is always an uphill task to keep everybody together.
Bell’s status for the first four games might not be clarified until the September 12 opener against the Washington Redskins on the Monday Night Football. Another setback is the retirement of veteran Heath Miller that leaves yet another void.
Pittsburgh has signed the tight end Ladarius Green, whose has had an ankle injury but it is not expected that it will affect his performance or availability this season. Roethlisberger has admitted that this is his best O-line he has ever had. Despite the lineup’s turnover, Brown has managed to catch 265 passes since 2014 during his two-season span. Given the productivity exhibited by the Steelers last year it is evident that they are prepared to face whatever challenge in 2016. Whoever is going to step up next is still not known, but Roethlisberger said they are ready for any eventuality.
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