For some Pittsburgh fans, it has been difficult to follow the National Football League off-season as the Pittsburgh Penguins are making their quest for another Stanley Cup run.
Even though there’s been many fans who have given up on baseball, the Pirates are looking to snap of 20 straight seasons with a losing record.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of what a myriad of fans are wrongfully describing as “the beginning of a rebuilding season.” So far, former Pro-Bowlers Mike Wallace and James Harrison along with running back Rashard Mendenhall are no longer with the franchise.
Now it seems the New England Patriots are on the verge of signing wide receiver after making restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders an offer. For the 2013 season he projected as the Steelers no. 2 receiver behind Antonio Brown.
Many questions still surround the Steeler Nation.
What is going to happen with the passing game if Sanders signs with the Patriots? What about the running game? How is Ben Roethlisberger going to handle the pressure with the least amount of talent he has dealt with his entire career? How will the defense perform with no Harrison? And more importantly what will happen to Mike Tomlin after this year?
How about the Penguins instead?
It’s way too early to panic about the season.
With that being said, the answer to all the previous questions get answered with another question. Is it not better being overly optimistic? Keep the faith instead and get let down later in the season. As opposed to the negativity and expecting a less than stellar season.
Roethlisberger is going to do fine fine throwing to Brown and Heath Miller as he has done before. The one guy who has plenty of potential to step up in 2013 is Plaxico Burress. There were low expectations for him when he came back after serving his jail sentence in 2011.
Even with Mark Sanchez throwing the football to him he recorded 612 yards receiving and eight touchdowns during the season. This year he’ll have a full training camp and be more involved in the Steelers’ offensive scheme under a quarterback who has won twice in the Super Bowl.
Do not forget about Jerricho Cotchery who has consistently come up with big plays on third down.
This will not end up being your “All-Star” receiving core. Instead, it will look very similar to that of the 2006 Super Bowl Champions which had a mediocre trio of Hines Ward, Cedric Wilson and Antwaan Randle El.
Aside from Ward (a future Hall of Famer), Wilson and Randle El were not “dazzling.” The two were role-players.
On top of that, there is a possibility that Pittsburgh will add a piece to their running game, which has gone missing since the Jerome Bettis era.
Former New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw has shown some interest in joining the Steelers. Bradshaw, who visited the Steelers, is a power back who can blow through defenders and punch it in the end zone with authority much like “The Bus” used to.
If this were to happen in the next few weeks, the running game will be solid with Jonathan Dwyer as the backup and Isaac Redman coming in on key third downs.
Time for Steelers Nation to take a deep breath as there is no rebuilding for the 2013 season. The franchise is making calculated moves to ensure a successful season.