It was a little over a year ago that, according to my completely normal and rational thinking, the Steelers’ offense was dead. Martavis Bryant was given a one-year suspension for violating the league’s non-opioid-related substance abuse policy. And I thought they were dead.
I didn’t have a whole lot of faith in a receiving corps that consisted of Antonio Brown and…Sammie Coates? Markus Wheaton? Eli Rogers? Be honest, you didn’t feel very good either.
But, great news! They survived! They became a pretty solid group! And, turns out, no one can cover Antonio Brown even when there’s a carousel across the field. And now, even better news, Martavis is back! He’s clean! He’s a dad! We’re all good.
But Steelers Nation is not the group of people that should be excited. There are members of the organization that should be more excited than others that Marty B is making his return. So here’s a list of guys that should be excited and how excited they should probably be, respectively.
- Antonio Brown – I alluded to this earlier, but AB should be pretty pumped to have a consistent threat opposite him. There were some admirable efforts from the misfit toy squad, but nothing in the neighborhood of what Bryant brings on the table. AB is who he is because of his ability to wreck shop in the middle of the field with intermediate routes. That gets a whole lot easier with Bryant lining up across the field, ready to make every free safety dread Monday morning film with one Go route. Excitement Level: High School Kid Whose Dad Coincidentally Bought a New Car for Himself Even Though the One He Has Now is Only Three Years Old
- Jesse James – Ask me who on the Steelers’ offense is low-key feeling the most pressure to perform at a high level this season, and he’s my pick. The Steelers cut Ladarius Green loose after failing his physical, and chose not to sign another tight end. First of all, that’s quite the vote of confidence in James. But, whew! Jesse better be ready to be that red zone threat that Ben loves. And the return of Bryant gives the Steelers a third legitimate threat inside the 20. This could make James’s ceiling “super cheap daily fantasy option that will probably win you beer money for next weekend,” which, I mean, what more could you ask from him? Excitement Level: Golden Retriever That Enjoys Seeing Other Golden Retrievers on Television and Air Bud Comes on ABC Family**
- Danny Smith – I just think he will enjoy having another guy to yell at, even though Bryant will be featured on exactly zero special teams. Excitement Level: Danny Smith When His Amazon Prime Order of Bubbalicious Gum Arrives on His Doorstep
- Joshua Dobbs/Landry Jones – Someone’s going to have to play quarterback when Ben Roethlisberger inevitably escapes the pocket in Week 13 against the Bengals in Cincinnati, throws a missile across his body into the wind, over a safety and an outside linebacker, and then Vontaze Burfict decapitates him and we all have to hold our collective breath as he trots to the locker room for his yearly concussion check. When that happens, one of these two guys will have to step in for at least a series. It will be in the substitute quarterback of choice’s best interest to convince Todd Haley to call at least one play that has a variation of the “let #10 run the deepest post route known to man and I’ll let it rip” verbiage. Excitement Level: Thiry-Five Year Old Guy in Friday Night Lights That Wants to Party With Don Billingsley at Taylor’s House
It’s going to be quite a year for the Steelers’ offense, barring any significant injuries (my bad if I ending up jinxing them with that statement). Bryant’s return will make an already incredibly fun offense even more explosive this season, so we should all sit back and not forget to enjoy what may be the most fun team the franchise has ever put on the field.
**I’ll never stop calling it ABC Family.