Doug Whaley spent a decade as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ front office, working under Kevin Colbert, remaining on board until he was given the opportunity to advance his career with the Buffalo Bills, named their assistant general manager and director of pro scouting. He would be promoted to general manager a few years later, a post he held for five years before a regime change cleaned the slate.
Among the players that he had a hand in drafting were everybody from Troy Polamalu to Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley. An area native who attended Upper St. Claire and graduated from Pitt, he continues to have close ties to the Steelers, and is currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Football Operations for the XFL, now owned by Dwayne Johnson and looked to restart for a second time in 2022.
The former Steelers front office executive recently appeared on the Go Long podcast with Tyler Dunne and Jim Monos, and over the course of the extended conversation, he was asked to weigh in on the current state of the team and their prospects of winning the Super Bowl. You will find that his thinking is in-line with a lot of you:
I struggle just because of the lack of the running game. I think if you’re going to have a quick hitting passing game, you have to have that threat of the running game to open up those throwing lanes. You’ve got to have those linebackers and those second-level defenders overplaying the run to open up those short throwing lanes. And their running game is just anemic. I mean, there’s no other way to say it. And if you have an anemic running game and a short rhythm timing passing game, those two just don’t mix.
Really, it’s hard to dispute his analysis. The way the Steelers have played over the course of the past month or more would not be enough to sustain them through a long postseason run. The running game is particularly abysmal, while the passing game needs to find more success beyond five yards, and the defense needs to be more consistent, buckling down in the second half.
Despite the flaws, they are 11-2 while being on the cusp of clinching a division title. At this point, they are viewing the final three games of the regular season as an opportunity to get themselves sorted out for a postseason run.