The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: What was the Steelers’ biggest issue last season that can’t be fixed by Ben Roethlisberger returning?
In large part, the narrative over the 2019 season for the Steelers was that they had a championship-caliber team, if only they had had a quarterback. as least for last year, neither Mason Rudolph nor Devlin Hodges proved up to the challenge at this point in their careers, and other issues on offense of course exacerbated those problems.
The defense, I think it would be fair to say, did play well enough in 2019 to win a championship with. They finished in the top five in a lot of the most important statistic categories, and literally nobody produced more splash plays. They had more takeaways and more sacks than anybody in the league, and even scored a couple of touchdowns to boot.
Many believe this could have been one of the top teams in the NFL if only Roethlisberger had not gotten hurt. Whether or not that is the case, I do think it’s fair to say having him under center would have solved a lot of the team’s problems.
That said, what is the biggest issue they faced, in your estimation, that having him back in the fold and contributing in his usual fashion won’t fix? I would prefer a personnel-based answer, especially because I know most of the comments are about to be about Randy Fichtner, but I’m leaving it open-ended anyway. If you do go that route, at least consider giving multiple answers.