The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on 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: What are you most thankful for when it comes to the Steelers’ 2017 season so far?
Well, I can’t think of a better time to pose this question than on Thanksgiving, so that’s the one I’m going with today. While reviewing the first 10 games of the Steelers’ season to date, what do you find yourself most thankful for?
You can take the easy way out and simply say that you’re thankful they’re winning games and share the best record in the AFC, with a real chance to lock up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. It’s been over a decade since they’ve been able to do that.
I’m more interested in some of the more specific elements, though. I’m sure players will be focused on. Some players in their first year with the team, for example, are making a big impact this year, namely JuJu Smith-Schuster, Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, and T.J. Watt.
The defense has begun to get more sacks and interceptions as well, especially recently, which has at times helped to create short fields for the offense. They have done a much better job this season, in addition, of getting off the field on third down.
Maybe you’re most thankful for the fact that it looks as though quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is finally rounding into form as we head down the stretch. He had not been having his best season to date, but has really looked good in the second halves of each of the past two games.
Maybe you’re thankful the team doesn’t seem to have much competition in their division this year, with all of their divisional opponents failing to achieve a winning record through 10 games. Or maybe for the fact that their schedule has worked out in a way that has avoided some key players.
Maybe we should all just be thankful that Antonio Brown is still here and down Antonio Brown things. Or that Cameron Heyward, back from an injury-plagued year, is playing the best ball of his career. Or that Vince Williams has filled in Lawrence Timmons’ shoes without much publicity.