The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
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 the Steelers actually use somebody in a substantial ‘moneybacker’ role this season?
The Steelers drafted a player whom they described as half a linebacker, half a safety. They were asked about whether or not a guy like Terrell Edmunds could fill that type of role, playing down in the box, and they said that he could.
At least on paper, it certainly sounds as though this is something the team would like to be able to do. Whether or not they will do it, or will be able to do it in a way that allows them to be successful, is another question entirely, and for more reasons this year than in typical offseasons.
There have been plenty of notions that the Steelers have explored during an offseason, even running extensively in the preseason, that they ended up abandoning (or largely abandoning) in the regular season, either because it didn’t work very well, they weren’t comfortable running it, or perhaps for some other reason.
This year, with a limited offseason (they should be deep into OTAs by now under ordinary circumstances), it’s fair to wonder if, even if they planned to, they would have the on-field time to properly install a moneybacker type of role into the defense and have the personnel experienced enough to run it.
Basically, you have Edmunds, Antoine Brooks, and Marcus Allen who would be the candidates to run it. One is a rookie, and another barely has any experience. In order for Edmunds to do it, one of the others would have to be playing safety. So, easier said than done, as with most things.