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: How much will the absence of a preseason affect the course of the regular season?
Multiple sources last night reported that the NFL has agreed to relent to the NFLPA’s recommendation that the league cancel the preseason entirely. The NFL wanted to play two preseason games, and was reportedly open to a compromise of playing just one game, but now it sounds as though it’s heading toward the scrap heap entirely for 2020.
The question is, how does this affect the regular season? Obviously, it’s going to have an impact on the roster battles at the end of the roster, but how much of an impact will these minor battles actually have on the 2020 season?
Even under the best of circumstances, veteran starters don’t play much in the preseason. Some do more than others, however. Offensive linemen in particular usually play longer, and for the Steelers, for example, they’re trying to solidify two spots. Now they only have a practice setting in which to do that.
Surely every team in the league has at least one or two positions to settle, and now they will have to be settled entirely outside of stadiums—or over the course of the regular season. In general, one can expect play at the early portions of the season to be sloppy—but that’s been the case for a long time now, anyway. Overall, how much does the 2020 season lose without a preseason?