The regular season is finally upon us, so we need to have better knowledge about the Denver Broncos weekly opponents. That’s why I’m checking in with Craig Gottschalk, senior editor of Nice Pick Cowher.
Craig is Fansided’s resident expert on the Pittsburgh Steelers, so I decided to ask him about what we can expect from receiver Mike Wallace on Sunday as well as the Steelers’ seemingly shaky offensive line.
Now let’s go Inside the Villain’s Venue with Nice Pick Cowher.
Q: We all know what happened the last time the Broncos and Steelers met. Is their last meeting extra motivation for this Steelers team?
The bottom line for the Steelers is play to win no matter who the opponent. That said, a little extra motivation wouldn’t hurt. I believe that if there is extra motivation to defeat the Broncos it will be on a much more individual level rather than a global team effort if that makes sense.
Q: Tell me about some of the big roster moves that the Steelers made in the off season. Do these moves make them better?
A: The only big roster moves the team made aside form their great grade in the draft was the release of a bunch of veterans. I don’t think we will be able to determine the outcome of these moves until later in the season. Right now, it looks as if the team may struggle due to the lack of veteran leadership – like losing Hines Ward and James Farrior. But, I think in the end the moves were for the better. It freed up money to sign younger ‘up and comings’ like Pro Bowler Antonio Brown.
Q: What kind of performance do you expect from WR Mike Wallace on Sunday?
A: That’s tough to predict. He says that he is ‘ready’ for Sunday. There’s something to be said about innate ability and natural talents. There’s also something to be said about practice and being able to gel your route running with your teammates and learning your blocking assignments on run plays and screens. I wouldn’t be surprised if we just see deep route after deep route from Wallace with a few smattering of catches – nothing too earth shattering.
Q: The Steelers’ offensive line allowed 14 sacks in four preseason games. Is this a concern?
A: Absolutely. Most of them came from a breakdown of the line quickly and not with Ben Roethlisberger scrambling trying to make a play. That’s where the concern lies – the ease with which the line breaks down. Unless Todd Haley adjusts the offense a bit to accomodate for the offensive line’s inability to consistently block (which may improve with Starks stepping in) the Steelers will continue this struggle. But it’s something that we as Steeler Nation are used to.
Q: Finally, your prediction for the game?
A: I think the Steelers defense holds strong this game and keeps Manning in check for most of the game. I think the Steelers offense takes advantage of a weak middle of the field on the Broncos defense and does a lot of dink and dunk to keep the ball moving down the field all game.
Steelers 27 Broncos 17