Fifth Quarter Report: 2016 Steelers, continued
by Ivan Cole
The Team, Part Three: Defense and more
Defensive line coach John Mitchell fired a lot of people up last spring singing the praises of Daniel McCullers. He wasn’t necessarily wrong in doing so. Big Dan did improve. It’s just that no one could have anticipated how big a first impression the rookie Javon Hargrave made.
As promised in Part 1, we will look at one position group per post to assess where the Steelers currently stand. As you can probably guess from my title, I’m beginning with the cornerbacks.
This has been a position of need for years. Steeler Nation has decried, year after year, the lack of a high-round pick being spent upon the secondary, and in particular on the corners. It was not always thus, but it’s been a long time since the last high-round pick was spent on a corner—all the way back to 2015.
Matt Freed, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
by Ivan Cole
The Team: Offense
Let’s re-establish a basic professional football truth at the outset. Franchise quarterbacks do not grow on trees. We don’t usually define them as such, but they tend to be generational players, as in if you are lucky, one will come along every quarter century or so.
This is Part 1 of what will be an ongoing series as we start to work ourselves up for the draft. Each week I will pick a position of (at least putative) need and have a look where the Steelers stand.
And as for the title—well, isn’t that the idea? I gather the feeling over at the Southside facility is that any year in which a Lombardi isn’t added to the collection is considered, at least on some level, a failure.
Besides, as I pointed out a few weeks ago, as the Steelers have moved through and emerged from the team rebuild they never admitted was happening, we’ve had the following progression: Read more
by Ivan Cole
The biggest question to be answered this past season was whether the Pittsburgh Steelers were, indeed, Super Bowl contenders. The answer is contained in the title of this piece. To make it into the fifth quarter of an NFL season, the playoffs, is always a good thing. They came within 60 minutes of making it to the big game.
There will certainly be those who will insist that this makes all the difference and is not good enough. But you won’t hear that argument in this space. It could be said that the fragility of Le’Veon Bell’s groin may have been the difference. Close enough.
by Hombre de Acero
The 2016 NFL seasons has come to its end and, as much as we might not like it, the New England Patriots are 5-time Super Bowl Champions. Many if not most Steelers sites have long since shut the book on the Steelers 2016 campaign, but in keeping with this site’s commitment to offer an introspective view of the Steelers, we take one last Smoldering look at 2016 before shifting to the off season and free agency.
1. Shortly after our last edition of the 5 Smolderings, I was commiserating with a Dallas Cowboy fan who observed this:
“As much of a disappointment it is to lose in a Championship Game, it still can’t replicate the pain of that Divisional Round loss after twice tying the game in the 4th quarter; it’s still going to take a long while until I am over that game.”
The Steelers have had their share of heartbreaking AFC Championship game losses. Would it have been easier for you as a fan to swallow this loss had it gone down to the wire? More importantly, do you think the lopsided nature of the loss will have negative repercussions moving forward?
Or—How Much of a Player’s Success is Tied to Which Team Drafts Them?
I’ll tell you up front that I don’t have the answer to this age-old question, any more than anyone can tell you definitively how your child would have turned out had they grown up in a different family. But we’re into the silly season, and it’s interesting to speculate.
by Ivan Cole
In August 2015, I spent a delightful day indulging in a Pittsburgh sports feast with Rebecca. We spent the afternoon attending Steelers training camp in Latrobe, and then the evening taking in a Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park.
One of many things that struck me that day was the difference in mood at the respective venues.
Let’s get this out of the way first. The day is coming when Ben Roethlisberger is going to leave the game, either because he walks away of his own free will, as Heath Miller did, or because he gets carried off the field because of some sort of career-ending injury.