By Norm Elrod
Training camps continue across the NFL, as teams shake off the offseason rust and prepare for September and beyond. A lot has happened in the first week, and nothing has happened, since it’s all still just practice. But don’t look now, the Hall of Fame game, the first game of the preseason, is tomorrow. Regular season football, when all this practice will start to matter, isn’t far behind.
We reached out to three more CBS Local TV sports anchors to get their thoughts on their local teams going into another season of football.
First we chatted with Rich Walsh at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh about what most excites him most about the Steelers going into the season. “They’re coming off a 13-3 season, and they have most guys back,” said Walsh. “They have three really talented players … Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. And when those three guys are on the same page, this will be a tough team to beat.”
Jim Berry, the main sports anchor for CBS News in Miami, is a little less sanguine about his Dolphins’ chances for success. “A lot of young faces… they’ve definitely increased the speed, and the return of #17 Ryan Tannehill” will all be factors, according to Berry. “I’m very curious and anxious to see how the Dolphins will put it all together on the field this season.”
Uncertainty at quarterback also figures into the Broncos’ chances for success. According to Michael Spencer, sports anchor for CBS4 in Denver, “Case Keenum is the guy.” But which Case Keenum will show up? “Will he be the guy the Broncos saw when he led Minnesota to the NFC title game in 2017, or will he be the jouneyman quarterback that he was prior to that?”
While quarterback play is a key component of every team’s chances, success for any of these team’s may very well hinge on who else steps up. In Pittsburgh, that’s likely one of their big three, two of whom don’t line up under center. “Any one of those guys could be the team’s MVP, maybe all three of those guys,” said Walsh.
“The Dolphins’ MVP will be running back Kenyan Drake,” Berry predicts. “We got a glimpse of what this guy can do in the last six games of last season. He is a star in the making.”
Spencer sees the Broncos’ MVP lining up on the other side of the ball. “It’s Von Miller, he has to be the most valuable player.” And expectations are high for the dominant linebacker and perennial All-Pro. “There is talk of 30 sacks in a season.”
For more of the guys’ thoughts on the Steelers, Dolphins and Broncos early in the preseason, check out the video above.