REPORT DATE: July 25
SITE: Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA
CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: The Steelers, who own a record six Super Bowl titles, aren't used to mediocrity but that's exactly what they have been over the past two seasons, posting a 16-16 mark over that span.
The expiration date on Ben Roethlisberger's shelf life as a top-tier NFL quarterback is rapidly approaching, so the Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin must pull out all the stops in order to take advantage of the 32-year-old's remaining prime.
Two of Big Ben's main targets -- Emmanuel Sanders (Denver) and Jerricho Cotchery (Carolina) -- moved on, putting more pressure on talented second-year man Markus Wheaton as well as former Drew Brees-favorite Lance Moore.
Defensively, Pittsburgh went all in on the front seven during the draft, snaring Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier at No. 15 overall, and following that up with Notre Dame five-technique Stephon Tuitt, a potential value in the second round.
KEY OFFENSIVE ACQUISITION: We all know how important the running game can be in western Pennsylvania late in the season and Pittsburgh was able to land another big back in LeGarrette Blount to team with the ascending Le'Veon Bell. Blount is a physical, downhill runner with good vision and running instincts.
KEY DEFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Shazier is lightning fast and projects as an all- around linebacker who could really excel as long as you protect him well with a nose tackle who can occupy multiple blockers.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):
Aug 9 - at NY Giants, 7:30 PM Aug 16 - vs. Buffalo, 7:30 PM Aug 21 - at Philadelphia, 7:30 PM Aug 28 - vs. Carolina, 7:30 PM