The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: Which players outside the bubble have the best chance of getting inside and making the roster with tonight’s game?
The fact that we can’t possibly know for sure who is inside and outside of the bubble obviously makes this question a speculative one, but everything is speculation before the 53-man roster comes out anyway, and we should have a generally good sense of where everybody stands.
And so the question is, basically, who stands the best chance of winning a job tonight? One of the most obvious answers is the specialist positions. I think both the punter and long snapper jobs are up for grabs, and only one of each is going to make it.
With Antoine Brooks Jr. waived, there is also a job opening in the secondary that otherwise wouldn’t have been there. Guys like Shakur Brown and Donovan Stiner and Lafayette Pitts will be looking to step into that void and convince the coaching staff they don’t need to add from the outside.
Who is on, inside, or outside the bubble at running back? I don’t even know. While my latest 53-man roster prediction only has three halfbacks, I somehow still feel both Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage are going to make the team.
Then there’s Zach Gentry vs. Kevin Rader, B.J. Finney vs. Rashaad Coward, Isaiah Buggs vs. Isaiahh Loudermilk vs. Carlos Davis, Cassius Marsh vs. Quincy Roche vs. Jamir Jones, etc. There is still a lot to play for, and a lot to watch for.