By Michael K. Reynolds
Who will rise from the ashes this preseason? The answer to this question will greatly impact the Pittsburgh Steelers chances of returning to postseason play this year.
New Kid in Town is a classic song by the Eagles which tells a story familiar to every NFL camp this time of the year.
You’re walking away and they’re talking behind you
They will never forget you ’til somebody new comes along
Where you been lately? There’s a new kid in town
Everybody loves him, don’t they?
With all of attention on the rookies and newcomers for the Steelers many of last year’s up-and-comers can easily be forgotten.
At this time last year, many Steelers fans (and perhaps a few coaches) had long buried both Jason Worilds and Cameron Heyward in the “bust” graveyard only to see them rise from the dead with triumphant glory.
After finally getting the opportunity to prove themselves on the field of play both of these players are now considered not only among the Steelers finest players, but peers to the top players in the league at their position.
So with all of the attention on the Ryan Shaziers, the Dri Archers and the Stephon Tuitts this summer, the biggest story of the preseason might just be the Return of the Dead.
Who will be the surprise players that take their game to a whole, new surprising level?
Will it be the much maligned Mike Adams who finally reaches the promise of his high round pick? Or perhaps it will be Landry Jones who proves he is worth being on the 53-man roster with some outstanding play. Will it be Brice McCain, who until last year’s disappointing season with the Houston Texans was considered a promising young corner?
Maybe it’s one of the old timers, like Ike Taylor, who suddenly discovers his hands and ends up with a league-high eight picks. And speaking of hands, could this be the year that Darrius Heyward-Bey puts on his Velcro gloves and flashes some brilliance?
For the Steelers to be a true contender this season they are going to need some forgotten players to surprise everyone and take things to a whole new level.
What are your thoughts? Who do you think will be the players who really shock the naysayers this season and radically prove their worth?