MMQB’s Peter King joined the Steelers’ Live duo of Missi Matthews and Bob Labriola during OTAs to give his impression of the state of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was quick to point out the team’s ability to win in every way imaginable, even after losing core players.
“I think one of the things that really surprised me when we got to the end of the year…as a team, missing [Le’Veon Bell] for so long during the season, that they averaged 4.4 per carry as a team. To me, it ays so much about their mindset and ability to basically say, look, we got a quarterback we’d rather have than any quarterback in this league. Yet, we’re not living and dying with Ben Roethlisberger. We’re not putting everything on his shoulders.”
That 4.4 mark ranked 8th in the league last season, the highest its been since 2007 when they came in 7th (and actually only averaged 4.2 yards per carry).
That is, as King points out, pretty remarkable for a team who only had their star running back for a fraction of the time. DeAngelo Williams more than picked up the slack, averaging 4.5 per tote and finding the end zone a league-leading 11 times.
Of course, the offense still ran through Roethliberger, the Steelers boasting one of the most potent offenses in the league.
“When you play the Steelers, you have to know, whether it’s going to be Williams or Bell, or one of the three or four receiving deep threats, that’s one of the great things about the Pittsburgh offense right now. That if you take away something from it, you know they’re still going to be able to do something else.”
King also astutely pointed out Pittsburgh’s willingness to open games in different personnel groupings. Sometimes they’d be in empty, sometimes in 22 personnel. Mixing up the look posed a problem for defense’s each week, a scripted offense that could – and would – attack in several different layers.
“They’ve built really good depth on the offensive side of the ball. Nothing really kills them.”