The 2011/12 season is fading in rearview and the Steelers are moving forward with the business of being the Steelers. Well known faces from both sides of the line of scrimmage have ridden off into the sunset. The coaching staff has seen one lightning rod replaced by another, slightly scruffier, lightning rod. The Steelers draft choices could potentially range from solid to pants soilingly amazing and free agency has held true to its past by being less than splashy.
This is the off season. But with the NFL being more popular than ever, is there really an off season anymore? Thousands of blogs and bloggers, 24 hour sports networks, and local media, keep fans close to the game of professional tackle football year round. As consumers of the game, we are inundated with real news stories like the untimely death of Junior Seau and snoozers like Shady McCoy getting a Mother’s Day Tweet or the (zzzzzzz….) drama over the Vikings stadium/relocation woes. It is up to us to pick and choose what is real news and what is fluff.
The Home Team has some developing and soon to be developing nuggets on the old nugget horizon. Thankfully for Steeler Nation, most of these nuggets will play themselves out on the field. Nugget ratings are in no particular order and your results may vary.
N1: Who will step into the role of defensive leader? James Farrior has been cut and that leaves a real void in talent and leadership. Larry Foote has the opportunity to step up and become the on field mentor to this talented Steelers D. In the past he has shown the ability to keep his head on straight while under pressure. He should have no trouble doing that for the next year or two.
N2: How will Ben’s new relationship work out? The arranged coupling of Ben and Todd will be fun to watch no matter how it turns out. The networks with NFL contracts are shopping for new sideline cameras just to capture every moment of excitement between these two strong personalities. VH1 has already blocked out a timeslot for the reality show, ‘Coordinators of the North Shore’. Someone quick get the Twitter handle of @haleyscomment to track all of the subtle and not so subtle verbal sparring between these guys!
N3: How will ‘Steelers Disgruntled Employee of the Year’, Mike Wallace perform? There should be a HUGE payday in Wallace’s future and it’s up to him to make sure there is the right amount of zeros on the check. Whether that payday comes from the Steelers or another team will ultimately be up to Speedy Mike, his agent, and the Steelers. The attitude and level of commitment fall solely to Wallace himself.
N4: The offensive line is young! I mean bring out the mats it’s nap time young. Will they grow together as a cohesive, five fingered fist, beating defenses in to submission for the next decade or will they flop around, killing the grass at Heinz Field, and bawling for their mommy’s to come take them home early.
N5: Who gonna pound that rock? Your choices are: Tweets Mendinghall, (not for a while) Chubs Dwyer, The other Batch, John Hands of Clay, MelMoore, Ike Redman Walking, or the Late Night Texter Chris Rainey. Household names one and all, for sure.
This was only the five piece nugget sampler. What storyline are you watching as we head towards kick off?
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