A running theme of comments from Steelers players this offseason was that the team had eradicated the drama that enveloped it last season.
Trading Antonio Brown to the Raiders and watching Le'Veon Bell leave as a free agent certainly changed the mix in Pittsburgh, but head coach Mike Tomlin sounded less sure about how lasting the change will turn out to be. He pointed out that it’s a bit easier to be on the same page this time of year than it is in the months to come.
“You can’t judge chemistry or culture until you’re faced with adversity,” Tomlin said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “At this time of the year all 32 teams are undefeated and unscored upon. There was some good teaching and learning. The journey itself is the indicator of that, some of the adversity the journey provides. Obviously, when you’re in a training camp-like setting, and it’s highly competitive and physically and mentally challenging, that will be the first real adversity this team sees.”
In addition to finding out if the newfound harmony survives rough patches, the Steelers still have to find out whether their new makeup will lead to better results on the field. If it doesn’t, it’s hard to imagine too many people will be crowing about the team’s culture come December.