It’s a bit on the early side, in all fairness, to be talking about potential changes to the offense, but that is going to be one of the key storylines we follow this offseason as the Pittsburgh Steelers shift from the leadership of Todd Haley after six seasons to Randy Fichtner, an internal promotion who will also remain onboard as the quarterbacks coach.
It’s probably not going to be for some time still before we really start to get a handle on how we might see some things change with Fichtner behind the offense rather than Haley. We haven’t even seen the veterans out on the field yet.
And, frankly, rookies are not going to know the difference between this year’s offense and last year’s. They kind of were not around to know the difference. But one player in particular was around who would be able to pick up some changes. That would be wide receiver Marcus Tucker, who has spent two years with the team on the practice squad and is hoping to make the 53-man roster this year.
Because of his ‘veteran’ status among the first-year players, Tucker has been a sought-after source of information over the course of the past week about what he is seeing out of rookie minicamp, whether it’s evaluating players or picking up clues about what the new offense is going to look like.
“There’s a couple of new personnel-type things going in, different wrinkles with the offense here and there”, he told reporters over the weekend, “but it’s pretty much, we’re just trying to learn and get better, whatever he’s giving us”.
Those comments came from early on during rookie minicamp, so we don’t know if they worked even more on a wider variety of things, which is quite possible. But according to Tucker, it does sound like there have been at least some minor variations, switching up personnel and adding a little nuance here and there.
We will learn much more about these sorts of things once Organized Team Activities begin later this month. Players like Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will obviously be in a much better position to make comparisons and contrasts to the system they’ve run for the past six years.
Even more obvious is the fact that they would be the actual players required to run whatever new looks or wrinkles that will be employed this year, and not necessarily the tryout players who are just trying to show that they have enough skills to be worthy of a spot on the 90-man roster.
The truth is that we really won’t even know the full scope of what might be different until we get to the regular season, because even preseason offenses are vanilla. The chances of there being major changes of any degree are slim to none, but you know that Fichtner is going to have his own ideas about how to do things.