You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.
In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.
When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.
Topic: How much of a role will there be for fullback Roosevelt Nix in the offense this season?
It was a surprise in hindsight when Roosevelt Nix managed to make the 53-man roster as a futures player at a position in which the Steelers already had Will Johnson, but it was even more surprising when the special-teamer continued to play fullback on offense over Johnson in 2015.
His first season was cut short after he suffered a foot injury in the penultimate game of the regular season, and his second year was truncated as well due to a back injury that kept him out or limited him through much of the first half of the season.
But he did begin to log more snaps down the stretch, to the tune of somewhere between 10-15 snaps per game on average. The Buffalo game proved to be an outlier in that regard, but clearly, he was beginning to play more as the season evolved.
A reasonable projection based on how last season ended would indicate that he should get at least a couple hundred snaps on offense in his third season. The Steelers have an offensive line that last season showed it is both able to run block and desiring of the opportunity to do it.
But the Steelers significantly bolstered their wide receiver group from last season, and that includes getting players back from injuries who missed significant time. The simple fact of the matter is that the talent on the roster is at that position, so it stands to reason that they are going to use them more than they did a year ago.
Which side do you lean closer toward?