That opens a question of consistency and longevity for Bryant, Markus Wheaton and the untested Sammie Coates. The Steelers will face a decision with Wheaton soon enough as his rookie contract comes to a close. So, can the Steelers be good on offense over the course of the next, say five seasons?
To me, a dynasty is a team that can command the league for at least four seasons in 10. That is how the Steelers of the 1970s did it, and to allow this crop of players be placed in the same category seems premature and a tad overoptimistic. I love optimism, but reality always comes back to remind us what the facts are…and that is that the Steelers had two back-to-back mediocre seasons less than the past four years. Moving forward, we’ll have to wait and see if the team can take their 2014 season and dominate for a few more.
Kelly talks about the defensive leadership aging, but didn’t mention that, of the people listed, only James Harrison remains with the team. Harrison has been putting in some serious time physically preparing for play. The question Kelly proposes correctly is whether or not the young talent on defense can come together as a cohesive unit to the point that they dominate opponents. Unfortunately, we have no idea at this time if we’ve got a Joe Green, Andy Russell, L.C. Greenwood in any of the new crop of potential. Would I love to see Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier, Lawrence Timmons, Harrison, Dan McCullers, Jarvis Jones all play at the ‘Steel Curtain’ level? Hell yeah. But there is a lot of uncertainty right now and that adds to my wariness to say Pittsburgh is going to create another dynasty.
If the Steelers can get things together on both sides of the ball to the point that they are able to execute their game plan, psychologically and physically overpower opponents, score often, create defensive turnovers and field a special teams unit that truly is “special”, I’ll mark down 2014 and 2015 as dynasty-like seasons. When Pittsburgh strings wins together over the course of the next few seasons, I’ll take serious notice. Earn another Super Bowl Championship in that time, then I will put my stamp of approval on the dynasty tag.
The Steelers do need to stick with what works and if it truly is a philosophy, I hope the players buy into it 100%. It’s the only way they can achieve such a distinction as being called a dynasty.
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