With the Pittsburgh Steelers having completed the first portion of their season, now would be as good a time as any to take a look back on what’s transpired this year and give out some midseason player evaluations.
The team has had a rocky but ultimately successful season to date, coming out of the first six games with a winning record despite being 1-2-1 just two weeks ago. Coming off of consecutive strong victories with improve play from both sides of the ball, things are looking up.
The offense has done its part for the most part, but has taken some long vacations. Their disappearing acts in the second half was perplexing, but that has improved. Defensively, the secondary is seemingly becoming a bit more stable after being nothing short of terrible previously, but there are absolutely some real concerns remaining.
Player: Terrell Edmunds, S
It is no longer the case that defensive rookies are expected to sit during their first season. More and more frequently has it been that we have seen the Steelers get first-year players on the defensive side of the ball playing time in one form or fashion, some of whom have even been given opportunities to take upon starting roles.
That was the plan last season with T.J. Watt. It wasn’t the plan this year for first-round safety Terrell Edmunds, but that is what has happened thanks to the groin injury dealt with by Morgan Burnett. Edmunds has started five of the first six games and it’s not clear at this point that he will be giving up that spot at any point.
Not that it hasn’t been a journey, because frankly the Virginia Tech product has had more than his fair share of growing pains. He has made just about every mistake than can be made, from the mechanical to the mental to the schematic and technical. He has missed tackles and assignments, blown coverages, gotten bowled over, and has generally put together a collection of poor tape.
But the good news is that that hasn’t been the case all year long, and in particular he has been on an upward trend. His best game of the season so far came in Week Five against the Atlanta Falcons, in which four of his tackles during the game resulted in unsuccessful plays for the offense. While he gave up some receptions, they were of the low-hanging fruit variety that did not cause much harm.
One thing that he hasn’t done particularly well at this point—and it’s rather minor in the grand scheme of things—is blitz well. He is only sent to rush the passer perhaps three times a game on average, but it has simply not been working, whether it’s timing it poorly, failing to disguise it, or just having no plan to get to the quarterback.