The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will the Steelers look to add another inside linebacker before training camp?
If there is one area of the team hit hard in the offseason that wasn’t addressed appropriately, it would have to be the inside linebacker position. It wasn’t so long that this group was one of the deepest on the team, having players like Vince Williams and Sean Spence as your reserves.
Now they have Williams in the starting lineup, and Tyler Matakevich backing up, along with two special-teamers behind him, and then…pardon me saying so, Alex Kozora, but, bodies.
Many felt similarly about the safety position, and then the Steelers quietly addressed it by bringing in Daimion Stafford, who would have signed with the team even earlier had he been at a weight the team was comfortable with when he first came in for a visit.
This was all done on a pretty lowkey basis—I don’t recall ever reading about him coming in for a visit, for starters—so it’s certainly not impossible that they are actively and seriously exploring the possibility of adding another veteran talent at another position on a one-year deal, such as at inside linebacker.
It’s quite rare that the Steelers lose a starter in free agency as they did with Lawrence Timmons only to not even address the position in the following offseason period in free agency or the draft. I can run down a list of examples, but I assume the point is taken as stands.
One thing that can be said of the group is that they have all been here for at least a year, so at least they have a relatively good feel for what they have. It’s possible that they’re comfortable with the likes of Steven Johnson and L.J. Fort on defense more than would seem wise to those who don’t see practice.
But the safety group is also returning from a year ago, and the team did address that. They had ample opportunity to re-sign Shamarko Thomas, for example, and chose not to.