The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: We still know very little about the 2019 Steelers after seven games.
Explanation: Pittsburgh has weathered a lot already this year, even before the season started. They lost key players, signed significant new contributors, have even had a death in the ‘family’. They’ve suffered through major injuries to crucial players, have come back from an 0-3 hole to start the year. They’re winning, but against losers. So what do we know?
A fact that I mentioned yesterday is that the Steelers have zero wins against opponents with more than
two victories (correction: the Chargers now have three wins); but they also have zero losses against opponents with more than two losses. Two of the teams they’ve beaten haven’t even won a game; but two of the team’s they’ve lost to haven’t lost a game. So they’re beating bad teams and losing to above average ones.
Combine that with the fact that we’re still learning a lot about who Mason Rudolph is as a player—and who this offense is at the helm—and it’s fair to say that we don’t know a whole lot about the Steelers right now. We’re also figuring out what this defense, particularly the pass rush, looks like without Stephon Tuitt.
We may be starting to find those answers, but we’re really just getting started. The next month or so on the schedule should answer a lot of the questions we have about who the Steelers are in 2019, but we can only wait and see how it plays out.
Everything is always subject to change, but we have seen and digested quite a lot so far. We know that the defense has improved in key areas, particularly the ability to take the ball away. They have been a positive performer in the red zone, which will, and has, keep them in games.
Offensively, they are finding their voice, but we can hear what it sounds like. A team that can run or pass when necessary. A team that will be aggressive and attack deep. Monday’s game was the most accurate portrait of Rudolph we’ve seen yet by far, and that’s enough to go on for now.
It’s enough to be competitive every week, too. They’ve been close in every game since after the opener. This team is made up of fighters.