Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes at practice during NFL football training camp at the team training facility in Latrobe, Pa. on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
It’s here. The 2013 season is upon us and it opens up on Sunday afternoon when the Steelers host the Titans. The black and gold is a team in transition and their true potential is unknown. They have the luxury of opening up against an weaker opponent at home and ideally getting the season off on the right foot.
Here are the keys to a Steeler Victory:
1. They must stop Chris Johnson and the Titan ground attack. They need to put the ball in Jake Locker’s hands and force him to beat them.
2. The Steelers will need to avoid the costly mistakes that cost them games in 2012. They can’t’ have stupid penalties, a plethora of turnovers or any missed routes or assignments.
3. The black and gold must establish an offensive rhythm. They can’t have multiple 3 and out situations. They will need to find a happy balance between running the football and throwing it as well as a happy balance between short, medium and long passes. They need to avoid the pitfall of relying on one particular set of plays.
4. The team will not want to allow the Titans to hang around and keep confidence. When you’re better than a team, the last thing you need to do is allow them to stay in the game. The Steelers must step on the Titans throat early and eliminate any confidence they have. The black and gold need to be the bully.
Here are a few things to watch for this week:
1. Jarvis Jones-The Steelers first round pick looked good all summer long. How will he look when the real games start? I expect greatness out of this kid.
2. Markus Wheaton-Here’s another rookie who could make a big impact. He’s not a starter, yet, but he can be a game changer and it could show this week.
3. Isaac Redman-He once again is the starting running back. Will he seize the opportunity or let it slip away?
4. Big Ben-He’s been doing this for 10 years now and most of the guys on this team are younger than him by several years. Will he continue to grow as a leader and help bring this team together?