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 will the Steelers’ ‘intended’ run-pass ratio look like this season?
The past three years have presented us with extremes that make it difficult to compare. 2017 featured a different offensive coordinator. 2018 featured a first-year offensive coordinator. 2019 featured three different quarterbacks.
With this in mind, it’s hard to take any of these as reliable templates to try to predict what the Steelers’ intended run-pass ratio would look like this season, insofar as an intended ratio is a thing. Of course, even Pittsburgh gameplans based on opponent and circumstance, which will vary from week to week.
Still, most teams have a general philosophy about how they want to approach their offensive attack. The Baltimore Ravens, obviously as an extreme example from last season, heavily favored the run game, because it’s what worked for them.
Another complicating factor in trying to venture a guess here is Ben Roethlisberger. While he appears to be on-track to be fully healthy for the start of the 2020 season, it’s still difficult to envision them going back to the crazy run-pass split of 2018. The Steelers attempted nearly 700 passes last year and fewer than 400 rushes. Last season, it was still fewer than 400 rushes (though slightly more), but only because they ran far fewer plays, with just 510 pass attempts.
So, assuming the team is fully healthy and predicting standard game situations, what would you expect the Steelers’ run-pass ratio to look like in 2020?