The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t do much of anything this offseason. Except get worse offensively and defensively. With the news of Ben Roethlisberger and Stephon Tuitt retiring, the team lost two tremendous leaders. At the same time, they did get a big-time replacement for Tuitt in Texas A&M defensive end Demarvin Leal. Leal was compared to Tuitt coming out of the college, and the Steelers stole him in the third round. However, the offseason passed, and the team failed to surround Kenny Pickett with veteran playmakers.
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Demarvin Leal Makes an Immediate Impact
With T.J. Watt in charge of rushing the edge and Cameron Heyward manning the middle, Leal will be a force alongside all of them. However, he will have a few games where he hits the rookie wall. Even with that being the case, expect Leal to be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. If Leal plays as well as he can, being somewhere in the conversation isn’t an impossible task. Leal has what it takes to be a leader and a critical component of the franchise.
Mike Tomlin’s Winning Streak Ends
Tomlin has 15 straight winning seasons, that streak will end this year. However, with Tomlin sitting third with the most wins by an active coach, he is only two games in front of Pete Caroll. At the same time, the Seahawks will be the worst team in the league. While the Seahawks pose no threat to Tomlins’s third-place status, it is on the hot seat. Furthermore, with a 154-85-2 record, Tomlin will finally have a losing record for the first time in his career.
Najee Harris Leads the NFL in Rushing Yards
With Pickett being the starting quarterback for the team, Harris will have to be the focal point of the offense. While Pickett will be a middle-of-the-road quarterback this year, he needs Harris to take the pressure off of him. With Harris being the team’s focal point, he needs to back it up. However, with Pickett relying on play-action behind Harris, it falls on his shoulder.
The Steelers Don’t Finish in Last Place
The division that features the Baltimore Ravens, Cleaved Browns, and the Cincinnati Bengals isn’t an easy one to win. However, with Deshaun Watson facing 23 civil suits and potentially more coming, no one knows how much he will play this year. At the same time, he could play an entire season or be suspended for a whole year. The Browns will last place if Watson doesn’t play an entire season. While Watson will likely get suspended for seven or more games this season, it most likely means that the Browns will finish last in the division, opening the door for the Steelers not to finish last.
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