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Steelers 11th In ESPN’s 2019 Preseason Rankings; GM Kevin Colbert Team’s ‘Hot Seat’ Choice

With two weeks remaining in the NFL’s 2019 preseason ESPN.com has now released their latest offering of power rankings and this latest set also includes speculation as to which member of the team or organization is on the hot seat for the upcoming season. ESPN’s panel — a group allegedly made up of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — were responsible for creating this latest set of power rankings and hot seat picks for all 32 teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers check-in on the list at 11th overall.

As for which person currently with the Steelers is now on a perceived hot seat, beat writer Jeremy Fowler chose general manager Kevin Colbert and below is his reason for doing so.

Colbert basically placed himself on the hot seat when he opted to go year-to-year on his contract, citing his age (62) and the need to assess his future with his family. His deal expires in May. The fact that Mike Tomlin earned a one-year extension last month while Colbert didn’t raised questions because the two usually sign in tandem, representing a lack of security for a key figure in an organization that thrives off stability. Both parties have one year to see whether the roster Colbert built will return to the playoffs after falling short last season. 

I suppose that’s a fair enough choice by Fowler given his reasoning. That said, I currently view Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler as a better choice for the hot seat than Colbert and especially now that Teryl Austin has been hired to the coaching staff to be a senior defensive assistant/secondary coach. In case you need reminding, Austin was previously a defensive coordinator in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals.

As for the Steelers being ranked 11th overall in the ESPN power rankings, I also suppose that’s a fair spot all things considered and especially if mostly based on 2018 final records. However, I wouldn’t have ranked the Cleveland Browns, who are listed 10th overall, ahead of the Steelers. The fact that the Browns are ranked one spot ahead of the Steelers isn’t overly surprising, however, as they have been the darlings of most major media members and analysts for most of the offseason.

The other teams ranked ahead of the Steelers and Browns and in order are the New England PatriotsKansas City Chiefs, New Orleans SaintsLos Angeles Rams, Philadelphia EaglesLos Angeles ChargersChicago BearsIndianapolis Colts, and Dallas Cowboys. Of those nine teams, the Steelers will play four of them, the Patriots, Rams, Chargers and Colts, during the 2019 regular season.

In case you’re curious, the Baltimore Ravens are ranked 17th overall and the Bengals are ranked 28th overall. Oh, not that most of you care but the Oakland Raiders are ranked 26th overall with former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown being the team’s hot seat selection. That’s a solid choice.

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