Another in a position-by-position analysis of the Steelers as they are about to report to training camp at Saint Vincent College. Today’s installment focuses on the offense:
The progress of
What will be of most importance here during this camp will be the continued coordination established between Roethlisberger and his receivers. From last season’s top three receivers, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery are out and most likely
“I think a lot of it is going to be determined by how much the new guys and the young guys can learn,” said Roethlisberger this spring when asked about the no-huddle’s potential role in 2014. “We lost two starting wide receivers who knew the offense and knew the no-huddle really well, so for us to use it we’re going to need the young guys and the new guys to pick it up quick.”
Similar to the situation at quarterback, the purpose of training camp for this unit will be less about arranging the depth chart as it will be about working on the coordination required to have a successful running attack. When the dust clears – barring injury – it’s going to be Le’Veon Bell and
Last summer, Coach Mike Tomlin had periods of live tackling tucked within virtually every padded practice, and it can be assumed that again will be part of the plan. The timing of the running game depends upon it.
If Miller and Spaeth get through camp healthy, the initial 53-man roster probably would include only three tight ends, and the No. 3 spot looks wide open. The top candidates include veteran
Each of those four have plusses and minuses associated with his candidacy, and there will be 22 days spent on campus to sort all of that out.
When it comes to the competition for roster spots and then the battle for roles within the offense, there could be a lot of action at this position throughout the whole preseason. There will be 10 receivers, not counting Archer, to open camp with probably five or six roster spots available, depending upon the special teams value of the guys at the bottom of the depth chart and whether Archer ends up being counted here or with the running backs.
There is no position that changes more once the pads go on than wide receiver, and players either rise to the occasion or shrink once the threat of violence is introduced. There will be that to sort out, because those who shrink will fall by the wayside, and then there will be the issue of who’s best in what role. Because the secondary also figures to be a highly competitive area this summer, the seven-on-seven sessions during this camp should prove to be very interesting.
What would be a nice change here would be if the Steelers were able to line up five guys across the offensive front at the start of camp and complete the preseason with those same five guys in the same five spots. Continuity along the offensive line would be something new for the Steelers, and it would go a long way in allowing the offense to develop into the force it seems to have the potential to be.
The one fight for a position would be
Except for that one spot, most of the energies will be spent on developing continuity among the starting group and versatility among the backups. Having the opportunity to take a lot of repetitions as a five-man unit would create the muscle-memory to enable it to get off to a strong start, instead of having to open a season with some problem-solving before building momentum and rounding into form.
Continuity appears to be the critical element, because the talent certainly seems to be there.