I think that most of the well-informed Pittsburgh Steelers fans have by now learned that there is really no reason to get excited about free agency, because their team is not going to come away with the home runs. They are lucky to get the occasional bunt single, on average, or maybe a double. Last year’s free agents were Tyson Alualu, Coty Sensabaugh, Justin Hunter, and Knile Davis, the latter of which didn’t make the team.
So perhaps the most exciting things for Steelers fans before the draft (and the extended draft process, including the Combine), might actually be the meetings of the Competition Committee this offseason, which does include Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Among the issues heavily anticipated to be addressed this offseason by the committee is the catch rule, which really all fans should concern themselves with, but the catch rule played a significant part in Pittsburgh’s season a year ago, resulting in a go-ahead touchdown overturned that otherwise might have led them to the number one seed in the conference.
The Competition Committee met in some form or another for the first time this offseason yesterday in Indianapolis while the league is gathered there for the Combine. According to Adam Schefter, there is expectation of “some kind of change with added clarity” that will come before the owner’s meetings next month.
NFL’s competition committee is meeting today in Indianapolis to try to simplify the catch rule, and sources are “expecting some kind of change with added clarity” to the rule before or during March owner’s meetings, per a person familiar with those talks.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 26, 2018
That is not the only issue that they discussed, however. It was not even the only issue that prominently featured Steelers tight end Jesse James, the author of The Catch That Wasn’t. One focal point that they had preliminary discussions over was targeting.
Troy Vincent, the Executive Vice President of Football Operations, shared a video with examples of some of the things that they are looking at, and the first clip highlighted a play that you might remember of James coming up with a reception inside the red zone against the Ravens, taking a high hit from Eric Weddle, which drew a flag.
Here are some examples of the video we’re reviewing on targeting, non-football action suspensions and QB protection. pic.twitter.com/FOqbwK5Vol
— Troy Vincent (@TroyVincent23) February 26, 2018
Another emphasis this offseason is going to be on “non-football actions”, of which there were a few high-profile ones last year with Marshawn Lynch, Vontaze Burfict, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, and Michael Bennett. Oh, and the worst offense of all, the disgusting shot to the head by Rob Gronkowski.
The Steelers’ first game of the season was also referenced in relation to quarterback protection, highlighting a late hit by Ryan Shazier on Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer. Everybody’s favorite, Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron, also said that fumbles through the end zone will also be revisited.
Today Commissioner Goodell, the Competition Committee, along with several other league representatives, reviewed video regarding on-field non-football illegal acts, ejections/suspensions & fumbles through the end zone.
— Al Riveron (@alriveron) February 26, 2018
Feel free to complain about how the league is ruining the game below.