The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.
As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion
Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
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: If you could give the Steelers in 2020 one thing for Christmas, what would it be—provided that it’s realistic?
2020 has been a year like none other that we have ever experienced before, but Christmas is still Christmas, and at least for many people, it is celebrated—even at a distance—in the spirit of caring and giving and good will.
Coming off of a three-game losing streak, the Steelers could certainly use some of those things right now. In fact, it is becoming a laundry list to keep track of all of the areas on offense, defense, and special teams in which they have had meaningful struggles.
Not that they don’t have the talent to perform better than they have been. There are a lot of things that simply come down to executing better. While not the entirety of our discussion here, I believe that should be the focus as the basis for the answers to our question.
For example, one area we would certainly like to improve is success in short-yardage possession downs, which Pittsburgh has somehow been worse at than basically everybody. More frequent and more persuasive use of play action would be another welcome gift, just as some examples.
Obviously we can’t give them a healthy Bud Dupree. We can’t give them Patrick Mahomes or Derrick Henry or DeAndre Hopkins. They’re not getting a new head coach or offensive coordinator. But we can, perhaps, give them a Ben Roethlisberger making better reads on intermediate throws—and better throws when the ball does come out. Or perhaps a Roethlisberger who is more willing to extend a play.