Steelers Nation overran Canton, Ohio to honor a Hall of Fame “Bus” and to celebrate the launch of a season full of high expectations.
The new year couldn’t start soon enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After last year’s disappointing Wildcard departure against the rival Baltimore Ravens coupled with the deflating reality that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick subsequently raised another Lombardi Trophy, the Steelers and their fans were anxious to hit the reset button.
With Jerome Bettis to cheer on once again, and memories of Super Bowl glory once again looming, there is a hum of “I’ve Got A Feeling” among the faithful for 2015.
So with the wings of many Terrible Towels once again filling the air, here are your season’s first Rapid Fire Conclusions:
The Porsche In The Garage
Forget about the new football rules, there is certainly something deflating about seeing Landry Jones march out to the huddle. He did prove he could hand off the ball effectively in the first quarter and was remarkably poised considering the pressure he was under to perform. But his performance mostly reinforced how much we love a big armed Ben Roethlisberger.
Perhaps the biggest winner for the Steelers against the Minnesota Vikings was Bronze Star recipient and fan favorite Alejandro Villanueva. Has there ever been a practice squad player for the team who has drawn more positive praise from Steelers nation? Based on his performance, the hulking left tackle already has secured him a spot on the team’s 53 and may have put disappointing high-pick Mike Adams firmly on the bubble.
The William Gay Public Relations Firm
One of the other big stars of the first preseason match was…hold your breath Steelers Nation…Cam Thomas. Yes, the poster boy of fan abuse last season has been one of the surprises of camp and reinforced this with an impressive game against Minnesota. Not only did he put some bend in the line but he applied more pressure on the quarterback than any other player. Could he emerge from the fan doghouse to be a legitimate Big Dog on the line? Just ask William Gay if it’s possible.
The Arrow in Haley’s Quiver
Dri Archer had his best game as a Pittsburgh Steeler reigniting the original hope that he can be another weapon in Todd Haley’s formidable offense. Was he perfect? No. His blocking was poor, he looked a bit lost at times and he muffed a punt. But he also demonstrated what elite speed can do on a football field as he shifted the Vikings to slo-mo every time he had the rock. His clutch third down runs and home run capability will have Haley scurrying to add pages to his playbook.
If Only Every Game Was The First Preseason Match
Linebacker Ryan Shazier wanted to let Steelers fans know what he can do when he is healthy and as he did in the first preseason game of last year…he did just that. It was another impressive display of the mesmerizing potential of his speed in the center of the field.
The Young and the Restless
The Steelers are about to launch their most formidable offense…possibly ever…this season. However; the most exciting emerging storyline may be on the other side of the field. There are quite a few young defensive players who are beginning to find their groove. It may take a few rough games early in the season for the defense to weave itself together, but the foundation of the Steelers next decade of dominating defense is something to be excited about.