Happy Hump Day Steeler Nation! Found a few things for our daily round up of Steelers news that you may find interesting.
Big Ben Meets Big Ben
Various media outlets tweeted out the picture of the Steelers Big Ben in front of London’s Big Ben. ICYMI:
— ESPN Monday Night (@ESPNMondayNight) July 2, 2013
Following his media photo shoot, Roethlisberger gave an interview in front of UK NFL fans, many wearing Steelers jerseys. Will Gavin’s article on the website Tuesday Morning Football includes audio of some of the interview as well as a transcript. Ben said his ultimate goal, his motivation, is to have more Super Bowl rings than Terry Bradshaw. This article is only part of the interview. According to the article, there will be more posted later in the week.
You can also check out the Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s summary of the visit, which may include other pictures you haven’t seen yet.
Will Le’Veon Bell Have an Impact as a Rookie?
All the articles really seem to be favorable about Le’Veon Bell. In the same vein, Dustin Hockensmith on the Pennlive.com site, calls Bell a “much-needed shot of youth and versatility.” Similar to the article I posted yesterday about the offensive line, Hockensmith briefly looks at all the running backs on the Steelers’ roster heading into camp, potential starters, new faces to watch, and the key losses. He finishes with a predicted depth chart. His list ranks all six players available right now. He sees very specific roles for Dwyer and Redman behind Bell as the starter and Stephens-Howling as a special teams player only. I’m not sure about that. The Steelers need to reinvigorate the running game and I think we will see some changes over the scheme from last year. However, Hockensmith suggests a very compartmentalized role for most of the running backs and I have to wonder if that is a good thing. Injuries are going to happen – is specialization a good thing? Can adjustments from be made easier among running backs that a lineman who is used to being on one side or the other? I am a fan of versatility and plays that you can adapt to suit different defensive strategies. Specialization suggests, at least to me, a lack of flexibility. I will be really watching this during the preseason games to see how the Steelers use the running backs; however, it may not reflect the main game plan they will use in regular season.
David DeCastro – Living up to 2012 Draft Expectations
Bucky Brooks, writing for NFL.com, expects David DeCastro to be the most improved lineman for 2013. He notes DeCastro’s place as the Steeler’s first round pick in 2012 and his subsequent knee injury during the preseason. Brooks discusses DeCastro’s toughness and drive to get back into the game before the season was over. He also compliments DeCastro’s skill and assesses:
Impact on the team: DeCastro’s emergence as a dominant force on the interior gives the Steelersone of the most athletic offensive lines in the NFL. With C Maurkice Pouncey, LT Mike Adams, RTMarcus Gilbert LG Ramon Foster and DeCastro starting to form a cohesive unit, the Steelers‘ once-maligned front line could help Pittsburgh reach the 10-win mark in 2013.”
Now, I was pleased when the Steelers drafted DeCastro because I thought they were finally looking to shore up the perpetually sagging front line. However, that excitement was muted with his injury and I wondered if we were going to have yet another lineman prone to injury. I was glad to see him make it back in time for some regular season games because I felt it was important for his learning curve going into 2013. Unlike Brooks, I’m not ready to predict “most improved” for DeCastro. However, I am cautiously optimistic that DeCastro will be a big contributor. Oh, and I would like to see 12-win mark in 2013, not 10.
Players to Watch
Dan Snyder (not of the Washington NFL team), who contributes to Yahoo! Sports, posted an article naming “5 Hidden Gems” on the Steelers offense. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think. He gives reasons and seems to have put more than a few seconds of thought into each selection. However, I’m not sure that I would put Plaxico Burress and Matt Spaeth on this list. He brings up Matt Spaeth’s blocking ability, which is close to what Nice Pick Cowher reader Adam said when commenting on my piece about tight ends last week. It’s a fair point because tight ends don’t have to be spectacular receivers to contribute to the team. Snyder sees Spaeth as a key to getting the running game going. I hope that comes true. As far as Plaxico Burress goes, he isn’t predicting a rebirth or a 1000-yard season. Snyder sees that Burress might have an impact in the red zone, particularly early in the season and his value is as a tall target for Roethlisberger. Take a look at his article and see if you think his reasoning is sound.
What Did I Miss? What Did I Get Wrong?
That’s it for today. Let us know what you think!