It’s been a few years since Pittsburgh Steelers fans have had a reason to be this optimistic about the season.
The Steelers reached the playoffs for the first time in three years in 2014, falling to the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC wild-card game at Heinz Field.
The two previous times Ben Roethlisberger lost a home playoff game, the Steelers won the Super Bowl the following year.
More concrete evidence that the Steelers can return to the playoffs and advance further than they did last year is their offense, which has the potential to be the best in the league. The defense is another story, but if it can at least be serviceable it will be an improvement over last season.
It also will help if the Steelers can win a game for the first time without Le’Veon Bell, who is suspended for the first three games. If they can’t, they’ll start the season 0-3 and will be booking tee times in January.
Bell, by the way, will not take up a spot on the 53-man roster while he’s suspended.
Here’s how the Steelers’ 53-man roster figures to look based on organized team activities and minicamp, The picture will clarify at training camp, which begins July 25 at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.