The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: There will be more roster cuts than usual that seem ‘surprising’ due to the lack of information we have about the players and about practice.
Explanation: With the changes necessitated by the pandemic came a lack of fan access to training camps this year. A lot of teams heavily cracked down on the information they would broadcast to the public, meaning we have less knowledge about the team in August than we’ve had in many years.
The less you know, of course, the less predictable things will be. We don’t know how certain position battles have gone. We don’t know what players are rising or falling, for the most part. For example, who is going to start at right tackle? Do we really have any idea at all? Do we have any sense of who’s winning?
The same can be applied not just to position battles but to roster battles. Keith Butler, for example, talked about there being a few young linemen he didn’t want to mention because he didn’t want other people to know about them. Can one surprise and make it onto the roster? It’s certainly possible. Do we really know that Deon Cain is making the team? What about Amara Darboh? He was on the team last year too. What about Ray-Ray McCloud? Wendell Smallwood versus Jaylen Samuels? Tuzar Skipper versus Jayrone Elliott?
It is true that we have less information about this roster than we have since at least I have been here. But it is also true that the team has less information about the roster as well. And the less you know, the safer your selections have to be.
The Steelers have already played their hand in indicating that they are going to fall back on experience. Stefen Wisniewski suggested that he’s not competing for a starting job because there wasn’t enough time. Guys like Antoine Brooks and Carlos Davis won’t have had enough opportunities to showcase themselves to make the team. If they were really making noise, we would have at least read something about it.