The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will we see the Steelers make any changes, personnel or otherwise, following their three-game losing streak?
It’s not uncommon for teams to shake some things up following an extended losing streak. Back in 2013, for example, when the Steelers got off to a four-game losing streak to open the season, Ziggy Hood was benched in favor of Cameron Heyward and Mike Adams lost his starting job to Kelvin Beachum. Artie Burns and Sean Davis took over starting jobs during a four-game losing streak in 2016.
Pittsburgh is looking at a three-game losing streak now, and one that they are really hoping to prevent from going beyond that, which won’t be easy with the New England Patriots coming to town. Arguably one change we have already seen made has been L.J. Fort seeing more playing time than Jon Bostic. Has he technically become the starter?
The Steelers have also been trying to figure out who their number three receiver is between James Washington and Ryan Switzer, now that Justin Hunter is on injured reserve. Perhaps Eli Rogers will be activated this week and state his case.
The team has already made a switch at right outside cornerback with Artie Burns being benched. I don’t really see Coty Sensabaugh as the reason for the Steelers losing these past three weeks, so I doubt he gets swapped out, but Cameron Sutton would be the candidate in that case. Perhaps he takes over the dime role.
On offense, there are really no moves to even consider. The top two wide receivers are fixed, as are the top two tight ends, and James Conner is the running back when healthy. The only possible change to the offensive line would be the reintegration of a healthy Marcus Gilbert.
For the most part, this is a team stuck with who they have. Offensively, that’s not a bad thing, but there are certainly some spots that would benefit from having a replacement in waiting on the defensive side of the ball.