By building a solid foundation at Training Camp and taking the field with a positive mind, the Pittsburgh Steelers buckle down to improve their record this season
By Rachel Jones
As the 2014 regular season kicks off against the Cleveland Browns this month, a lot of people have 9/7 on the brain. But, the numbers scarring our hearts are 8-8. This season invites the Steelers to fight back, breaking free from the frustration of the last two seasons and giving the team a fresh start. “Coach Tomlin always says, ‘We’re sharpening our swords for the battle,’” says Pittsburgh Steelers safety Will Allen. “I think that, in Training Camp, we’re working to endure that and build trust with each other to build continuity. So, when we’re in the battle, we can prevail and come out with wins.”
Check out what local sports analysts predict for this season:
Andrew Fillipponi, 93.7 The Fan: “I don’t foresee a franchise quarterback of Ben Roethlisberger’s ilk missing the playoffs for three straight seasons. The defense won’t be a liability. The schedule seems more than manageable. It’s the Steelers turn to win the AFC North. I predict 11 or 12 wins.”
Bob Pompeani, KDKA-TV: “Ben Roethlisberger looks to be as comfortable in the no-huddle than at any time in his career. Last year, they used it 23 percent of the time, which is a large increase over the 5 percent in the previous year. That up-tempo offense will also keep the opposing defenses honest, in that, they won’t be able to freely substitute, which gives the offense a chance to exploit mismatches.”
Josh Miller, 93.7 The Fan: “I think the four people that will dictate this season are Jason Worilds, Ryan Shazier, Jarvis Jones, and Lawrence Timmons. We will either win 10 games or win seven. It depends on their play. I also think Mike Munchak and Joey Porter are the two most important pick-ups this year.”
Rich Walsh, KDKA-TV: “Ben Roethlisberger has never looked better and more determined, and that’s one main reason I think the Steelers will finish 10-6 and win their division.”
Bob Pompeani, KDKA-TV: “For the Steelers to avoid a third 8-8 season or worse, they have got to get better in the Red Zone on offense and more opportunistic on defense. This team has faded quickly in defensive sacks and turnovers. They have made quite a bit of roster turnover in the past two years and will likely rely on younger talent, especially on defense, more quickly than ever before under head Coach Mike Tomlin.”
Josh Miller, 93.7 The Fan: “I’m excited about the O-line; that will be a strong point this year. The wide receivers, the running game — the offense will be able to hold its own. It’s the defense that will be the question mark. But, Coach Dick LeBeau is one of the greatest, so I’m not worried. The game is still won in the trenches.”
Rich Walsh, KDKA-TV: “I’m really optimistic about this upcoming Steelers season. There are lot of new faces at camp, but I really believe some of the new guys can make an impact early, especially their first three draft picks.”
Gregg Giannotti, 93.7 The Fan: “To me, this team is counting on far too many unknown factors to go 10-6 or better, especially on defense. One good thing for the Steelers is the division is less than stellar, and they still have Ben. Making the playoffs is not crazy. Super Bowl? That’s crazy.”
Rich Walsh, KDKA-TV: “I anticipate Le’Veon Bell to have a break out ‘MVP’-type season. Draft him high in your fantasy leagues!”
Bob Pompeani, KDKA-TV: “Antonio Brown has a terrific work ethic, and while he will be hard-pressed to duplicate what he did last year with 1,499 receiving yards, the attention he demands will also open things up, especially for tight end Heath Miller.”
Pittsburgh Steelers, steelers.com.
93.7 The Fan, pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/station/93-7-the-fan.