The 2014 Steelers defense left a lot to be desired. A combination of youth, inexperience mixed with aging veterans and father time took its toll.
Heading into 2015 the Steelers defense has more than a few question marks.
The secondary may be one of the biggest question marks.Will Safety Troy Polamalu retire? Will he be cut? Is there even a chance he may return?
The Steelers have been waiting for third year safety Shamarko Thomas to step up and take on a bigger role. Is this the year? So far, he has been injured or only playing a minimal role ,mostly on special teams.
The cornerback situation is also among the question marks. Long time veteran Ike Taylor is now gone after a disastrous 2014 season and his better days well behind him.
Brice McCain, one of 2014’s surprise bright spots has left to join the Miami Dolphins via free agency .
The Steelers signed cornerback Cortez Allen to a big contract to begin 2014 and then benched him and placed him on injured reserve before the end of it. Can Allen bounce back in 2015 and become a starter?
At the outside linebacker spot , the Steelers have re-signed veteran James Harrison . He will be 37 in May and plays on the right side. However the Steelers also have third year 2013 first round pick Jarvis Jones who also plays that position . Will Jones play up to his first round billing in 2015? The Steelers surely hope so.
The Steelers also re-signed Arthur Moats. Will Moats be the answer on the left side after the retirement of Jason Worilds ?
The Steelers have plenty of potential candidates at inside linebacker with last years 1st round pick Ryan Shazier heading the list,going into his second year. Will Shazier take that next step and earn a starting spot? Or will up and coming players such as Vince Williams and Sean Spence take that next step?
GM Kevin Colbet is at the 2015 owner meetings in Arizona and recently took questions from Steelers.com’s Mike Prisuta. Colbert shed some light on his thoughts on how these positions stand in his eyes…
GM Kevin Colbert: “In my eyes, it is (an open competition at right outside linebacker), yeah, I would imagine, sure. I mean, offensively you could look and say, ‘OK, that’s the starters.’ Defensively, I think there are certain positions where, ‘OK, they’re the starters.’ But right outside linebacker, left outside linebacker, the weakside inside linebacker, both cornerbacks, they’re all up for grabs in my eyes. My job is to provide the competition and then the coaches will sort it out once they get everybody together.”
Colbert also spoke on the Steelers depth at cornerback or lack there of…
GM Kevin Colbert: “I think that’s a position we’d like to make some additions to, I see it being more (in the) draft. We knew we weren’t going to be big players (in free agency) so we’re not surprised where we are at this point. If there was a deal that made sense, we would have made it. We looked, we kicked some tires, some players kicked some tires with us; didn’t match up, that’s OK. We’re fine going into the draft. We’re halfway through our Pro Day season. We’re getting a real good feel for what’s out there and it’s encouraging.”
The Steelers will be looking for answers to these many question marks real soon and hoping some of the answers are already on their roster. The success of the 2015 season depends on it.
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