Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Glaring Holes the Pittsburgh Steelers Must Still Address
The Pittsburgh Steelers have done a lot of work in the offseason to get themselves prepared for another run at a Super Bowl title, but even after all of that, there are still some holes that need to be filled and roles that need to be determined.
With the team having only scant money under the salary cap, a major addition is highly unlikely. Something has to be done, however, before the team opens the regular season.
Here's a look at five spots where the team must improve.
The Steelers worked hard to re-sign Willie Colon for their offensive line. They certainly needed all the help they could get after cutting Flozell Adams, last year’s right tackle, and Max Starks, last year’s left tackle.
While Colon has resumed his old spot at right tackle, the Steelers currently have no one to take Starks’ spot on the left side. This is arguably the most important position on the offensive line and needs to be filled.
Currently, the Steelers are playing Jonathan Scott at the position, but Scott is a career backup who was only so-so last year when he had to step in for the injured Starks. There has been talk about the team resigning Adams, but only to play on the right side.
The Steelers must fill this position before the season begins or suffer the possible consequences to the health of Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers have an open competition right now at right guard and no clear end in sight. Ramon Foster started eight games there last season. Doug Legursky has seen time at all of the line positions. There is also a collection of backups who could vie for time there.
The Steelers want to be better against the rush, so a lot of that starts with the offensive line. Last year, right guard was a major problem before Foster came in and even then was mediocre at best. While the missing left tackle will garner a lot of attention, this is another big hole.
The team could elect to play rookie Keith Williams at the position. Williams has looked good so far in camp, but isn’t expected to start right away. They also could bring back Flozell Adams or start rookie tackle Marcus Gilbert on the right end of the line and move Willie Colon in to the guard spot.
One thing is for sure, the Steelers inside running game will suffer until this spot is filled by a steady player.
Yes, the Steelers have brought back Daniel Sepulveda, but there are a ton of questions about his health. Until he’s proven himself in a few games, this remains a possible glaring weakness.
The Steelers play a field position game and use it to their advantage. If the defense is given a lot of ground, they usually can prevent a touchdown. If not, the results obviously change. A good punter can do a lot for a defense.
When Sepulveda has been healthy, he’s been an excellent game-changing player who can often put an opposing offense in quite the bind. The problem is that he’s missed significant chunks of time with various injury issues.
The Steelers don’t seem to be lining up any competition, so the onus will be on Sepulveda to make sure he can be healthy and stay the same force that he’s been before.
Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden, who incidentally is having a great camp and finally looking like the player the Steelers envisioned, are going to be the starters. Beyond that, there’s a lot of open space and not a lot of clarity.
William Gay is back to serve as the nickel, but I get the feeling his roster spot could be had if someone really shows up in camp. That task could fall to the disappointing Keenan Lewis or the young Crezdon Butler.
The Steelers aren’t likely to ask rookies Curtis Brown or Cortez Allen to make a huge impact on defense, but both will be expected to show up on special teams. Allen is also having a great start to the season, so he could play his way onto the defense if he can keep it up.
The Steelers need their secondary to take a step forward after being badly exposed in the Super Bowl. Guys like Lewis and Butler will be a big part of that, but right now the exact depth situation is very much in a state of flux.
Backup Running Back Roles
While this isn’t necessarily a glaring hole, it is something that badly needs some sorting out before the season opens.
Right now, the Steelers have Isaac Redman, Mewelde Moore, Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch as the most likely runners to make the roster. One of them, maybe two, will have to go before final rosters are decided.
Once someone (likely Dwyer at this point given his conditioning issues) goes, the roles still need to be defined. Redman could play some fullback if David Johnson takes on more of a role as the tight end. Moore will likely stay the third-down back. Batch has good versatility and has flashed some impressive blocking and power skills as well, so he could be some kind of gadget player.
Like I said, the players are already on the roster, the big need here is to figure out who goes and then figure out where everyone else fits in. Without a defined role, the runners will likely not be used properly or effectively behind starter Rashard Mendenhall.