The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.
As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion
Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
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: Can the Steelers continue to keep all of their skill position players happy if they start losing?
The theme of the past couple of weeks when talking about the offense has been the fact that the Steelers have so many players who have talent and are capable of contributing that the ‘hot hand’ could go to any one of them in any given game.
‘The strength of the pack is the pack’ is the Tomlinism that was birthed out of this group of four pedigreed wide receivers and tight end Eric Ebron, all of whom have alternated having big games through the first five games.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is the Pro Bowler in the group with a 100-catch, 1400-yard season under his belt, a former rising star in the league who is putting up somewhat pedestrian numbers so far this season in comparison to what the is capable of producing.
Every week in which he hasn’t made big statistical contributions, he’s been asked about whether or not he’s happy, and it happened again this week. He said that he was happy with his output because they’ve been winning.
But what about if the Steelers hit the skids and start losing games? Who will remain content with the status quo when all of these talented players feel as though they can do more to contribute to winning? Players at this level think that they can be the one to make the difference, which is a source of frustration when they contribute little to losing efforts.