Pennsylvania Links: Steelers, Polamalu, Kelly

As Wild Card weekend comes to a close, a number of writers for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review have written their thoughts on the end of the 2014 NFL season, and begin looking forward to all the hope that 2015 will bring. also published a few pieces regarding the Eagles’ new organizational structure.

  • Among the offseason priorities for the Steelers, the back eight on defense has to be the first thing fixed, according to Joe Starkey. The cornerback situation has been a mess, and Cortez Allen has been a tremendous disappointment. The linebackers haven’t been much better, as James Harrison approaching the end of his career and Jason Worilds performed terribly in the playoff game against the Ravens, writes Starkey. He also doubts longtime Steeler Troy Polamalu, and questions whether young players Shamarko Thomas, Jarvis Jones, and Ryan Shazier will be able to make the leap and improve the defense.
  • Of the biggest stories the Steelers will face this offseason, the futures of Allen and Worlids loom large, according to Mark Kaboly. Other big stories would be Ben Roethlisberger‘s contract situation, which could eclipse $20MM per year, and whether or not defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will return for 2015. LeBeau is 77 years old.
  • The most important change could be the Steelers moving on from Polamalu, writes Ralph N. Paulk. The former All-Pro safety is 34 years old and has two years left on his contract. Polamalu could consider retirement, but the team could also force his hand by releasing him this offseason.
  • Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is putting all of his eggs in the Chip Kelly basket, writes Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. He notes that Patriots coach Bill Belichick took decades before acquiring that kind of organizational control. Many other examples of these situations have gone sour before, and although Bowen believes in Kelly, the new power structure is risky.
  • The NFL draft reveals a lot about what teams are trying to do as they build towards a championship, and with Eagles head coach Kelly now in charge of personnel, we are about to find out exactly what Kelly believes in, writes Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
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