LATROBE, Pa. – It's only been two years since Ryan Clark was on the field during Steelers training camp, practicing and preparing for the 2013 season with teammates like Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu and Brett Keisel.
But when he returned on Monday as a part of ESPN's coverage of Steelers training camp, Clark saw a different group of players on the field, but a group he thinks has the potential to have a great 2015 season.
"It's a totally different team in makeup from the ones I played on here," said Clark. "If you look at this team, not only are the more known players, but the experienced players and leaders are on offense. Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster and you have Antonio Brown on the outside. For so long it was built on Brett Keisel being the leader, James Farrior, then Troy (Polamalu), and James Harrison. Everything was focused on defense as far as playmaking and leadership. That has totally shifted.
"I think that is a good thing in the sense they are going to score a lot of points. What they have to figure out in training camp is where you get that from on defense. That is what the first few games are about, where that is going to come from on that side of the ball.
"Once that gets clicking this is a Super Bowl contender."
Former running back Jerome Bettis, who along with Clark and Merril Hoge was also a part of ESPN's Steelers training camp coverage, also likes what he sees on offense and believes the young defense will develop.
"I see a young team defensively that has to grow," said Bettis. "I see an offense that really is running at high gear. This will be an offensive minded football team. The defense has to catch up. If the defense can play well, they have a chance to be in the playoffs and contend as a championship caliber team. If the defense doesn't come around they will be a quality playoff caliber team."
And Hoge, well, let's just say it looks like the three agree on the outlook for the 2015 Steelers.
"I think offensively they have the three phases, the perimeter people, the running backs who can control the tempo of the game and one of the best quarterbacks in the game," said Hoge. "Offensively you are dynamic. There is no question there. They are only going to get better.
"On defense when you have change there is a learning curve, but if the change fits with the talent it can go a lot quicker. It will be interesting to see how they play in the preseason and if they are ready to go week one with the challenge."
The ESPN crew paid a visit to Steelers Training Camp. Jerome Bettis, Ryan Clark and Mike Tomlin spent some time on set.