The 2020 season may represent the last best chance for the Pittsburgh Steelers to win a Super Bowl for some time. A lot of that has to do with the defense that they have built, slowly but surely, over the course of what feels like nearly a decade. But it’s also tied to the ticking clock on the offensive side of the ball.
A lot of key players, particularly Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and a number of the offensive linemen, may only have a couple of years of playing time left, while others, namely a pair of young Pro Bowl skill position players, are likely playing their final downs in Pittsburgh this year.
In other words, it is imperative that they don’t squander the opportunity that they have in front of them, wide a receiving corps consisting of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, and Chase Claypool, a pair of tight ends in Vance McDonald and Eric Ebron, and a backfield built with James Conner, Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, and others.
There is more talent and pedigree assembled around Roethlisberger than there has been through most of his tenure in Pittsburgh right now, especially in terms of depth. He’s never had two pass-catching tight ends before, for example. And he now has four Day Two wide receivers, for example.
Even the players are seeing the potential from within, with Washington telling reporters of the offense, “it’s very high. I mean, especially with Seven back there throwing the ball to us”. He added, “we have guys at every position, from every position that touches the ball and even our line. I mean, we have a great group of guys and I feel like if everything’s clicking and everyone’s on the same page, we can do something special”.
Most of these pieces were in place last year, but were either dealing with injuries or were still developing, the latter especially being the case at wide receiver. It’s also very important that the offensive line show the ability to hold up.
And of course, they need to get a full and quality, productive season out of the quarterback position with Roethlisberger, something that they did not get last season with a pair of novices launching the ball down the field.
The defense will also be a hidden factor. Thanks to their ability to take the ball away, the Steelers had among the best starting field positions in the NFL last season, in spite of the fact that they had one of the worst return games, especially in kick returns.
But the offense didn’t have the firepower to take advantage of that. Now, give Roethlisberger league-leading field position, and with the weapons around him, assuming that he is healthy and his usual self, and you know he’s going to do some damage.