Everybody has an opinion about the Pittsburgh Steelers and where they are and where they have to go and what they have to do. This also includes a lot of former members of the team, a number of whom are now in the media.
And it’s not surprising to see many of them coming out now following the team’s truly embarrassing 48-37 postseason loss to the Cleveland Browns following a 12-4 season, in which the offense turned the ball over five times, including a franchise-record four interceptions from Ben Roethlisberger for a postseason game.
The Steelers, who hold the record for the most Super Bowl titles, have now gone over a decade without even appearing in the championship game. They have only sniffed the conference finals one time since 2010, and they last claimed a title in 2008.
Ryan Clark was a member of that last Steelers Super Bowl team in 2008, and he had some opinions on ESPN about what his former team needs to do to get right, focusing on improvements needed on the offensive side of the ball, particularly in the trenches.
“Look at this offense. They’re old up front. What used to be a positive, what used to be a strength of this team, which is the offensive line, is no longer, so you have to retool and revamp that’, he said, with two starters hitting free agency and their other veterans on the wrong side of 30.
“You have JuJu Smith-Schuster and other athletes on the outside that will be coming up for contracts. Can you pay those guys with Ben Roethlisberger looming $51 million over the cap?”, he added, badly butchering the actual cap details (his cap hit is $41M, but his 2021 compensation is only $19M).
“And you have to get a runner”, he continued. “When the Pittsburgh Steelers are good on offense, they get runners. They have runners. They can dominate you physically. This offense can’t do that anymore. I think it’s time for a total rebuild and revamp of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense”.
Of course, Clark’s 2008 championship team had an awful offensive line and an anemic running game, with Willie Parker not even being his past self before his injury, and ultimately taking Mewelde Moore into the postseason as their lead back.
The Steelers ranked 23rd in rushing yards that year despite having the ninth-most rushing attempts, and ranked 29th in yards per attempt at 3.7. This is the only championship team that Clark has ever been a part of, so his own history doesn’t exactly support the argument he’s making about what the team needs to prioritize—especially given the fact that the game as it’s played today has drifted even further from the run game.