May 23, 2019
Will the Pittsburgh Steelers be an improved team or a worse team from the 2018 season that resulted in a non-playoff appearance and only nine wins?
Today I found one writer who believes the Steelers could in fact improve their performance from last year for four very simple reasons.
4 reasons the Pittsburgh Steelers could improve in 2019
By Wyatt Krehbiel, stillcurtain.com
Every NFL team heads into training camp full of hope for the future. The Pittsburgh Steelers are no exception. They finished the 2018 season at 9-6 and failed to make the playoffs – a fate they hope to avoid in 2019. To do that they will need to improve as a team. Here are four reasons why the Steelers could improve in the 2019 season.
1. The addition of an every-down linebacker
The biggest difference for the Steelers defense in 2019 will likely be the addition of a player that can play a similar role to the one Ryan Shazier used to hold. Devin Bush was drafted out of Michigan to play that role. He is fast for a linebacker and can play sideline to sideline. Bush can drop back in coverage as well as rush the passer as a blitzer. In all likelihood, Bush won’t be as good of a player as Shazier was but will have a big impact on the team’s defense. The Steelers need a guy that can stay on the field and impact a game in different ways from the linebacker spot and they traded up to acquire Bush because they believe he can do that.
2. Less drama surrounding the team
The issues surrounding Pittsburgh last season have been well documented at this point. Fortunately for fans of the team, the two players that appear to be at the heart of the issue have moved on. Losing players of the caliber of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown is hard to spin in a positive direction, however, a more unified locker room and less negative media attention can only be seen as a positive. On top of that Bell didn’t play at all last season as part of a contract holdout. Brown and Bell are both great football players but the team has an opportunity for a fresh start that could provide a boost next season.
3. An improved defensive secondary
The Steelers secondary hasn’t been a strength of the defense since the days of Troy Polamalu, and Ike Taylor. It may not be a strength next season either but there is hope that it won’t be a weakness either. Pittsburgh signed Steven Nelson this offseason and drafted Justin Layne to strengthen their cornerback room. They also have a pair of young safeties in Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds who should continue to improve.
4. A career year from Bud Dupree
One Steelers outside linebacker is a rising star in the league. T.J. Watt lead the team with thirteen sacks last season and appears poised to maintain that pace. On the other side of the field, there are questions, however. Bud Dupree has been a solid player but not the elite pass rusher Pittsburgh hoped he could be. He has shown flashes and has all the physical tools entering a contract year. The team has shown faith in him by picking up his fifth-year option and not making any big moves this offseason to find his replacement. Now it’s time for him to step up in a big way if he wants to get paid.
For you fantasy football players, if you are looking for members of the Steelers to add to your next season’s roster, you might consider the advice below.
Fantasy: 7 sleepers to steal near the end of your draft
Justin Boone, thescore.com
A fantasy sleeper can be defined in many ways, but here we aim to find players flying under the radar who could emerge as significant assets.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Steelers
The Antonio Brown-sized hole in the Steelers' offense is one that won't be filled by JuJu Smith-Schuster alone. After all, JuJu saw 166 targets in 2018, so there isn't much room for that number to grow. Replacing the 168 targets left behind by Brown will fall on Moncrief, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, Eli Rogers, Ryan Switzer, and tight end Vance McDonald. It's possible we look back a year from now and realize it was a collective effort by several members of that group, but at the moment, it seems as though Moncrief and Washington will have increased roles.
Moncrief comes with a three-round discount as a free-agent signing whose stock fell after stops in Indianapolis and Jacksonville were capped by injuries and poor quarterback play. The 25-year-old has flashed game-breaking ability throughout his career, including 13 touchdowns combined during the 2015 and 2016 campaigns, he's just never been able to put everything together over a full season.
The 6-foot-2, 216-pound wideout was a top-30 fantasy receiver during a seven-week stretch last year, which was highlighted by stat lines of 5-109-1, 6-76-0, 7-76-0, 4-54-0, and 3-98-1. He'll now get a significant upgrade at quarterback with Ben Roethlisberger. If Moncrief can win the No. 2 job, a fantasy breakout is still within reach.
Overachiever potential: ★★★★☆ 4 out of 5 stars
Average Draft Position: 13th round (WR57)
Why can’t the Pittsburgh Pirates put together long winning streaks? Their inconsistency will probably cost them a shot at winning the National League Central Division title or a wild card spot. After winning seven of 10 including three in a row following last weekend’s sweep, the Bucs have now lost two in a row and have dropped to 4 ½ games behind first place, 2 ½ behind second place Milwaukee.
Pittsburgh is also one game back in the wild card race.. The Colorado Rockies handed the Buccos a big loss last night and they play again today in the series finale at 12:35.
Finally for today, a recognition of several birthdays celebrated today. The first is of my favorite professional boxer growing up, "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler who actually is only five years my senior at 65. Hagler hung up the gloves after losing a decision to "Sugar Ray" Leonard this after boxing changed the championship rounds from 15 to 12. Had it stayed 15, I believe Hagler wins that fight. Still, he was one of the most feared fighters of his era.
Not with us anymore but he lived a very long life passing at the age of 99 is William Ellsworth Hoy more commonly known as "Dummy." Hoy was born 157 years ago today and made it as a player in Major League Baseball besides being deaf. Hoy is credited with the creation of signals for player being called safe and out derived because of his inability to hear. When mentioning Hoy, it reminds of of another player from a different era, Pete Gray who also had a short career in pro baseball all while taking the field without an arm, a dilemma he was born with.