The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: What are the biggest questions left to be answered that will shape the 2018 season?
We are still a long way off from painting a complete portrait of what this Steelers team will look like heading into the 2018 season. We may have taken care of most of the steps along the way—free agency, the draft, OTAs, minicamp, etc.—but the steps remaining are the most crucial in shaping the on-field product.
And that means that we still have a lot to learn about what this time is going to be come September. In fact, we’ll no doubt still be learning who this team is, and can be, well into November and beyond. That’s just the way things work.
But what are the biggest, overarching questions about the team that we’re still looking for clarity on?
Will the defense be able to play more stout defense against the run than they did after Ryan Shazier was injured in December? There were issues before then, but that was more about the occasional big play. They became a sieve, routinely giving up five and six yards at a time rather than 2-4-yard carries mixed with 15- and 20-yarders.
Will the offense be more efficient in the red zone than they were during the first half of the season last year? Will they be more ready to perform at a high level out of the gates that they were at the start of the 2017 season?
Will the Steelers’ pass-rush be able to be as or more effective than they were last season? The pressure came from all over the field, but they would like to see more generated by their traditional pass-rushing position, the outside linebacker.
How will having a new play-caller on the offensive side of the ball shape the team? The Steelers made a move that they didn’t have to, so they obviously believed that this would be a positive step, but we won’t know until we actually see it.
What other large-scale questions are on your mind about the team in 2018 heading into training camp?