The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their training camp sessions since 1966. While the vast majority of the legwork of building the 90-man roster is done, there is always some fine tinkering to do. Now it’s time to figure out who is worthy of a roster spot, and what their role will be.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they’re bound to have new starters.
How will those position groups sort themselves out? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in practice? Who is sitting out due to injury?
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 significant improvement over last season from Ryan Switzer and the return game?
The Steelers specifically cited a desire to improve their lagging return game when they made the decision to acquire wide receiver Ryan Switzer via trade a little over a year ago. However, his performance during his first season in Pittsburgh in that regard left much to be desired with respect to his productivity numbers.
While we have taken a look at some of his returns to show that it has had a lot to do with the structure of the returns relative to the blocking scheme, and simply blocks being missed, there is no doubt that Switzer could have done better last season and needs to do better this year.
The team showed its faith in him by keeping him as one of the five wide receivers being carried on the 53-man roster, opting for him over Eli Rogers, who had been with the organization for the past four years, so that is an indication that they believe he can do significantly better in that aspect of his game.
And when I say he can do significantly better, understand that I’m referring more broadly to the return units as a whole, because there’s no doubt that the entire group has to perform better. There is no excuse this time around for a lack of familiarity with one another, since he has been here for the entirety of the offseason.