The offseason has been a long one -- at least a couple of weeks shorter than anyone envisioned when the Steelers opened the 2017 NFL campaign. But we're finally ready to open the 2018 season next week. We'll have a real game with real issues to discuss.
This will be my first full NFL season here at DKPittsburghSports.com and I'm really looking forward to that, as well. We've got some big plans on how we'll continue to bring you the best coverage around of your favorite football team.
That will technically start today with roster cutdowns. Those have to be made by 4 p.m. and could include some surprises. We'll also have Chris Carter's final War Room breakdown of the preseason, a feature that will continue throughout the real season.
Sunday, I'll be breaking down the team's 53-man roster, assessing its strengths and weaknesses as constructed, while Chris Bradford will have a piece taking a look at the tight end postion.
Monday figures to be all about Le'Veon Bell and whether he shows up or not as the Steelers hold their first official practice in preparation to play in Cleveland. We'll see how that goes. DK will have a Grind column, the first of a few on the week that will focus on football. Bradford also will have a piece on Joe Haden a year removed from being released by the Browns and joining the Steelers.
Tuesday will mark the first Mike Tomlin press conference of the regular season and, obviously, the first time Tomlin has to officially speak at length regarding some of the injuries with which his team has been dealing.
Wednesday, things will start to get really serious, as we'll get a better sense who might be playing and who might not. Bradford will have a piece on Todd Haley, who after five tumultuous seasons in Pittsburgh, faces his former team as the new offensive coordinator in Cleveland.
Thursday is the coordinators' day to talk. I'll have a piece on Randy Fichtner that will deal with how no teams have any idea what the Steelers' offense will look like in his first season. Carter's Classroom will take a look at how Ben Roethlisberger has fared over the years in meetings with Cleveland defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
That will take us to Friday and my one-of-a-kind, all-inclusive preview before the DKPS coverage team heads off to Cleveland.
And after that, we'll fan out across the country -- DK, Bradford, Carter, Matt Sunday and I, depending on the game -- covering the Steelers wherever they go.
It should be fun. And we hope you'll enjoy it.
PRIDE IN FOOTBALL
Only thing I'll add, as the guy who's been here all along, is that I've always taken pride in covering the Steelers, which is why I've always set as our No. 1 goal for growth the expansion of our football readership.
That isn't easy. The Steelers' fans, for the most part, don't live here. They're scattered all over the planet. So the brand we've been able to build as a business in Western Pennsylvania hasn't yet made it as far as we'd like in Steelers Nation, as we've found out at times. That's going to continue to be work for us.
But we're up to it. With Dale leading that in every way, plus the exhaustive analysis Carter does, plus Bradford's tremendous football knowledge, plus Sunday, plus me basically yelling about the coaching ... we'll bring it. -- Dejan Kovacevic
NEW GAME STORY FORMAT
After all kinds of angst over this for weeks, we'll be going with a more structured, uniform format for our main game stories. It won't apply to baseball until next season, but it'll otherwise take effect this afternoon with Matt Grubba's Pitt-Albany coverage.
The goal is to give readers a quick, convenient way to find vital information they need from that game -- as well as one-tap access to boxscores, standings, highlights, etc. -- in a place that's consistently easy to find. At the same time, it still offers a broad avenue for analysis, creative writing and all else.
Let us know what you think! -- Dejan
On the tech front:
• The ongoing project to address logins/alerts -- one that's supposed to also cure most of the Android crashes -- is moving along. It's complicated. We'll get there. A lot of testing is still needed because this isn't something we can mess up. -- Dejan Kovacevic
• We're working on crafting more ways to offer you more stuff, including merchandise related to your favorite team or college. That's why you might have noticed a couple sales promoted here in the past week, in conjunction with our partners at Fanatics.com. Those went quite well. We're working on a way to make that consistent. -- Dejan
• If you haven't tried it yet, our Live Feed can be found on both our Apple and Android apps -- those respective links are right here -- by tapping the lightning bolt at the bottom right corner. If you're on a desktop, laptop or mobile browser, it's now got its own space up in the blue menu bar under the heading LIVE. Or bookmark it right here. -- Dejan
ADVERTISE WITH US!
We have amazing partners in this venture, and I hope you check out our current list on the new Advertise with us page I just made. We are very grateful to all of them!
What our partners like most about us is that we are in the unique position to customize each campaign to their needs and try new marketing strategies, while at the same time offering traditional advertising. If you or your company are looking to connect with our large, passionate following, send me an email directly at Dali@DKPittsburghSports.com. We can help you grow your brand, increase awareness, sales and more.
Here is our updated media kit. -- Dali Kovacevic
GIVING BACK TO MILITARY
Our Veterans Gift Subscriptions pool is at a plus-1 after four were purchased yesterday to get us out of our biggest hole in a while. (Thank you!) If you'd like to contribute, that can happen right here. Overall, we've connected 152 military veterans with free subscriptions since restructuring the program in May. Anyone who's served in our Armed Forces can request a subscription by filling out this form.
BACK TO BUSINESS
• Subscriptions are at 37,770. That's minus-23 over the past week.
• We had 381,129 page views over the past week. Our most-hit article was Cody Tucker's feature from Boston on Brian Dumoulin at 8,902. Our most visited team pages were, in order: Steelers (33.6 percent) Penguins (29.9), Pirates (20.9), Pitt (6.2), Penn State (3.0), and all the rest below 1.0.
• We're at 29,201 (-2) page likes on Facebook, we're at 28,570 (+25) followers on Twitter, and we're at 8,953 (+6) followers on Instagram. These figures are just for our official company account on each platform, not for us as individuals.
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