Analyzing the impact Bryant’s return will have on the Steelers OffensePhoto: Sportingnews.com
The Pittsburgh Steelers boasted one of the NFL’s best offenses in 2016, led by future Hall of Fame QB Ben Roethlisberger. The unit was loaded with studs at every position, including the league’s best RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown. Not to mention the young stars in the making that played behind each of those players.
It is believed that if the Steelers were slightly better this past season they could have beaten the Patriots and toppled their run of dominance. (Re)Enter WR Martavis Bryant. Bryant was suspended after the 2015 season for PEDs and held out of the entire 2016 season, which was clearly a huge hit. Bryant was responsible for 765 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2015 and those came primarily on deep pass plays. The Steelers tried to replace the deep threat of Bryant with Darius Heyward-Bey, the former Maryland speedster who was famously drafted by the Raiders for his fast 40 yard dash. Yet, he was not a sufficient replacement and the position became a rotating door to the roster’s younger receivers.
The reinstatement of Martavis Bryant will be a major boost for an already potent offense. He will return as the major deep threat in Pittsburgh and open up the middle of the field for improving TE Jesse James and rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. Bryant’s field stretching presence will also weigh heavy on the minds of safeties who will be forced to play further off of the ball, which will allow Le’Veon Bell to run wild at the second level of defenses. This unit is a home run waiting to happen in the 2017 season and the emergence of more young talent could make this an all-time great offense.
Don’t be surprised to see the Steelers contending for a Super Bowl appearance in the later part of the post season.