Mid-Cycle Shift in Steel Town

In a very pivotal Season 3 of Premier Madden League football, Coach Drama changed the direction of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise by trading away two of the teams top performers on the Defensive side of the ball. A trade with the Las Vegas Raiders sent Minkah Fitzpatrick (92 ovr), Anthony McFarland RB (93 spd), and Justin Layne CB (78 ovr) in exchange for Josh Jacobs RB (93 ovr X-factor), Trent Brown RT (92 ovr), and CB DJ Daniel (93 spd). Another trade, this time with the Chicago Bears sent X-factor OLB TJ Watt, Javaris Davis CB (93 spd) plus next years 2nd round pick in exchange for CB Jaylon Johnson (82 ovr), RG Cody Whitehair (83 ovr), and the Bears 1st round pick in this upcoming draft.

When reached for comment coach Drama cited the excessive demands of his two superstars, both who are playing on expiring contracts, for pushing the organization towards pulling the trigger. “Look we would have loved to keep this core we have defensively intact. However the reality is that given our cap situation and the relative lack of success we’ve achieved, tough decisions needed to be made. Whichever way it turns out, I’ll take full responsibility because that’s what coaches & GM’s are supposed to do.”

Many GM’s around the league were scratching their heads at this recent transaction because it seemingly weakens an already struggling Pittsburgh defense. But let’s take a look at the numbers. Through 6 weeks the Steelers have a record of 2-3, with their 3 losses coming against teams which dominated them in the passing game. Although the Steelers defense featured a daunting front 7, they still ranked 31st in PPG, and a mere 13th in Rushing Yards allowed. Simply put the defense just wasn’t able to establish itself dominantly the way they had last season. The secondary was simply too slow to cover the elite, top speed types of receivers that they’re charged with covering week in and week out. Although the loss of Watt takes away a weapon on the edge which tallied 4 of the teams 22 sacks so far this season, the addition of Daniel and Johnson adds some much needed speed and coverage ability to the Steelers secondary.

The largest impact of this recent shake up of the Steelers roster will undoubtedly be felt on the Offensive side of the ball. A team which after 6 weeks is 4th in Rushing Yards per game and 6th in Total offense, now adds two Pro-Bowl level lineman, and a very talented yet under utilized bully at HB. A backfield of Josh Jacobs and CJ Verdell now equips QB Minshew with a lightening and thunder attack which is sure to provide the young QB with the type of support which will limit the extant to which he’s responsible for moving the ball downfield. When it comes to the passing game the additions on the offensive line should buy JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and the plethora of receiving options Minshew has available, time to get open. It’s clear that Coach Drama has a way he desires to play football. Whether or not it equates to success in PML is yet to be seen. However with the moves that have been made the Pittsburgh Steelers hope to prove that they’re a team to be taken seriously, and it’s up to the play on the field to support what’s on paper.