The slow crawl to training camps continues. The first preseason game, against the NY Giants, is a month away. Many Steelers fans feel let down about how last year went because the team didn’t seem to live up to the potential seen at the beginning of the 2012 season. So, most of us can’t wait to get the season started so we can see if this year will be something to cheer about. However, until the teams get back to active football business and training, the drought in football news continues. I’ve scrounged a few articles that may interest you.
LaMarr Woodley Visits Classrooms
The local CBS affiliate, KDKA, posted an article about LaMarr Woodley’s latest community work: talking to kids about committing to their school work and how important it is. Woodley is speaking from experience:
I wasn’t always a nice kid growing up. That’s why I wanted to tell them a little something about my background, about me being a class clown about me being in detention because some of these same students raised their hands when I said who is the class clown? I was pretty much saying you can change your way and become something in life,” Woodley said.
I know Woodley has taken a lot of criticism about his play since he signed his big contract, but I admire his work in the community both in Pittsburgh and in his hometown area in Michigan. I hope he has another breakout year. I love see the kick after a sack.
Sports Illustrated Division Rankings
SI’s Chris Burke thinks an argument can be made that the AFC North may be the best division in the NFL. For each team, he lists Key Moves, Where they got better, Where they got worse, Breakout Player, and Where they stand. The Steelers break out player is Antonio Brown who he thinks will get more receptions with the departure of Mike Wallace: ”Brown is on the verge of stardom.” Ok, well, I think AB is an awesome receiver and his personality and charisma really make him stand out along with his talent. However, I thought he was a big contributor before and I’m not sure what “stardom” Burke is predicting. Burke sees AB filling the workhorse role now that Wallace is gone. I’m wondering if he really looked at Wallace’s season last year, though maybe I am biased against him. I already thought AB deserved more credit than he was getting.
NBC’s Mike Wilkening has started a series on how they would rank the teams before the season starts. They begin at number 32 and slide the Oakland Raiders into that spot. Not surprisingly, number 31 is in the AFC North: The Cleveland Browns. The articles contain strengths, weaknesses, prospects and a few other categories. The rankings are based on votes from a “six-man crew.” I will be curious to see where the Steelers land this year and if these media outlets/sports pundits continue to expect this to be a rebuilding year for the Steelers. I’m not saying it is a rebuilding year one way or the other right now. I think there have been significant changes but I don’t see the departure of Mendenhall, Wallace, and Harrison (among others) as something to spark the term “rebuilding.” Their contributions just weren’t high enough last year to make me think rebuilding. Anyway, the series appears to have quite a bit of thought put into them versus someone just throwing darts at a board. Whether you agree with all the rankings and reasonings, the series seems like it is going to be worth the read.
What do you think?
That’s it for today? What do you think about the rankings? Will the AFC North be the best division in the NFL?