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A Letter From the Editor: The biggest factor for the Steelers 2023 success

Before getting started on this article, you might be reading this thinking, “Wait a second, doesn’t Jeff just write this in the offseason or when the Steelers don’t play?”

In the past, you’d be right. However, this has turned into one of my favorite articles to write every week. I usually write this article on Sundays, but during the season I’ll write it the day before the games most weeks. The next logical thought is, “Really? Out of all the articles you could write, you like writing this one?”

Yes, I do. It’s an opportunity for me to get my thoughts out about the Steelers, and sometimes life. In this case, on the eve of the Steelers season opener, this is about the black-and-gold. But, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, my Letter From the Editor article isn’t going anywhere this season, much to the chagrin of many I’m sure.

When people find out what I do for a living, help navigate a new sports media company and podcasting/writing about the Steelers, they often ask how I think the Steelers will do. I then go into my typical dialogue about how it all depends. I talk about the potential which resides with the team, their “ceiling” if everything goes right, and their “floor” if things go south.

If people haven’t fallen asleep by the time I pause to take a breathe, I’m often encountered with a follow-up question.

“What do you think will happen?”

My answer always includes the following words “if they stay healthy” at some point in it. And I add that because it is 100% truth.

Think about all the factors of an NFL season, or an NFL organization, and how injuries can derail even the best made plans. Look at the 2022 Steelers and their struggles without T.J. Watt in the lineup. Now look at the 2023 team and think what might happen if the injury bug runs rampant through the roster.

Sure, no one wants to talk about this out of superstition. And, yes, I just knocked on wood for those who follow that path in your lives. But when you consider an injury to some of the key cogs along the offensive line or playmakers on offense and defense you can truly see just how fragile an NFL season can be for all 32 teams.

The one factor the Steelers have going for them this season is depth, depth which didn’t exist last season, or the year before. Omar Khan and Andy Weidl, and the rest of the newly formed front office, have done a masterful job adding quality depth at almost every position. No roster is full of quality depth, but the Steelers certainly left no stone unturned throughout the offseason, training camp, and preseason as they attempted to improve the depth just in case.

“Just in case” might be the best way to discuss the Steelers adding quality depth, but let’s also hope the depth looks more like the dusty old fire extinguisher in the corner of the gymnasium with the little mallet and glass reading “break in case of emergency”. It’s dusty because it’s never been used…which is the same hope for the depth the Steelers have built on the 2023 roster.

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