When a team is coming off a season that ended in a .500 record, one would naturally expect that said team has a lot of work ahead of it in the following offseason in order to field a winning team the next time around.
That is exactly the situation the Pittsburgh Steelers currently find themselves in. In fact, they are coming off consecutive 8-8 seasons after a 12-4 year, though the two were of a very different nature.
The Steelers began the 2012 season going 6-3, though they lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in that sixth victory. He went on to miss the next three games and struggled when he returned. The Steelers ended up going 2-5 down the stretch, with Roethlisberger going 1-3.
As has been well-documented, the Steelers got off to a 2-6 record in the first half of the 2013 season, meaning that they had a combined 4-11 record dating back to the 10th game of the previous season.
Bookmarking that disastrous stretch of games, the Steelers accumulated a 12-5 in the first half of 2012 and the back half of 2013. They won three straight games to start the second half of 2013 before dropping a pair, only to finish off with another trio of victories. They now must build off that year-end success.
And to do that, they must self-evaluate and determine their priorities this offseason to make a better team.
This is a primer to a series of articles looking at the areas of the team that the front office and the coaching staff will be looking to address over the course of the next few months as we approach free agency and the draft.
From coaching staff evaluations to signing players to futures contracts, watching college tape and holding end-of-season meetings with both players staff, the Steelers have plenty of things to keep themselves busy.
And they have plenty of questions that need answering. Who will coach the offensive line? Will the rest of the coaching staff remain intact, whether a coach leaves through choice or through firing?
How can they reconcile the salary cap? Who do they restructure? Do they extend anybody? Will they have to cut any players they really don’t want to part with? Which free agents do they want to sign? Who do they want to sign but will have difficulty retaining either financially or schematically?
There’s a lot to settle over the course of the next few months, and I’ll do my best trying to break down that process and how that might look when all is said and done.