Welcome back Yinzers! I hope everyone had a better-than-depressing off season, and made good use of the heat by frying up a few Cap N’ Eggs on the sidewalk. I’m glad to say there was nothing too controversial happening with the Pittsburgh Steelers to write about this off season so I hope you were not dismayed by the lack of my musings. Hennessy has been a busy guy, but I’m eager to kick off another year of cheering, bitching and offering up my biased and often unwarranted opinions for you all to enjoy.
I wanted to start off on a positive note, since this time of year often revolves around maybe, would if and drunk bachelors laying down C-Notes on Super Bowl long-shots in Vegas. Ever-optimistic as I am, I want to skip past all the potential furniture mover’s turned Sunday Superstars, and get right down to two powerful assets Pittsburgh is not looking for in training camp.
It’s a Pittsburgh attribute that has been beaten like a dead Bungal, but once again we walk into another season with one of the best head coaches in the NFL. Mike Tomlin recently locked up a 3-Year extension to his contract, securing his office at Heinz Field through the 2016 season.
Since being handed the keys to the Jaw’s shiny race car, Tomlin has been one of the winningest coaches in the NFL. 2012 offers him a chance to finally forge his own identity. Tomlin gave the team a personality of its own, won over the respect and admiration of long-time veterans, and now has a chance to build his own legacy with the departure of several key players from the Cowher Era.
Dick LeBeau stayed away from the retirement home for yet another season, and is unlikely to miss a step in fooling offenses and quarterbacks all season long. Paired with newly-hired counterpart and OC Todd Haley, Tomlin has the resources he needs to truly craft this team into one of his own.
Thursday’s camp also welcomed home Running Backs coach Kirby Wilson. After a long recovery from the January 6th grease-fire that claimed his Cranberry, PA home and over 45% of his body, Wilson was grateful to be back on the field, under his own power. He was able to coach at the OTAs via use of a golf cart, but with the help of extra sunscreen to ward off the sun he was back in normal fashion Thursday. A big congrats to him and his recovery from a long stretch, and best wishes to his efforts with sculpting a young running game into “Stillers football”. Speaking of the running game…
The Passing Game
Pittsburgh’s passing game has become the Flying Circus and carried the offensive efforts for several years now. Shuffling through the likes of Plaxico Burress, Antwaan Randle El, and the great Hines Ward, Ben and Bruce have been able to craft an effective passing threat year-after-year.
Just as Mike Tomlin refuses to acknowledge a player he can’t coach, I refuse to blog a player that is sitting on his couch acting like the golden goose girl from Willy Wonka. The player that shalt not be named deserves a big-time contract for his play on the field, and a permanent position in the CFL for his attitude. On a brighter note, I’m looking forward to the #17 jersey clearance at Hometowne sports. So let’s talk about the Steelers shall we?
This year will be the first without smiling #86, at least on the playing field, but it is not without its share of talent, playmakers and optimism. Big Ben will try to get in the end zone utilizing Manny Sanders and Antonio Brown, but will also have a great supporting cast with the return of veteran Jerricho “Cotchrocket” Cotchery, and a number of young prospects provided they make it out of the St. Vincent showdown. Alabama’s furious ball-catcher Marquis Maze, 6’-2” Toney Clemons out of Colorado and previous St. Vincent college opponent Tyler Beiler out of Bridgewater are all legitimate contenders for a helmet come September. If I get to hear Cris Collinsworth say “Tyler Beiler” I will be a happy man, so best of luck to him on his tryout.
Despite a presumed change of course under Tee Haley’s direction, Steeler fans can rest comfortably knowing there’s a good chance Pittsburgh will put together another solid pass and catch performance this season.If Haley and Wilson are able to mold the running game into a more dominant presence, we can only expect Ben and his shiny new O-line to build on an already impressive passing effort.