The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.
They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom look to be in a starting role (or complementary role in Freiermuth’s case) for the season opener.
There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. They have a 53-man roster, though it will always change to some degree. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.
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. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Which of the Steelers’ multitude of issues are fixable for this season?
You most likely saw the game if you’re reading this. And if you saw the game, you saw a team with a lot of concerns, which they somehow managed to circumvent long enough to beat the Buffalo Bills on the road two weeks ago.
The home cooking for the past two weeks has been bitter, however, but some of it is more correctable than others. The multitude of penalties, particularly pre-snap penalties, is one obviously readily-correctable issue. The drops? Well, it’s hard to say, because Najee Harris had a bunch of them, and we don’t really have enough information about him yet.
Rookies will get better as they play more. But by how much, and how soon? Neither of the rookie offensive linemen have played particularly well on a play-to-play basis. Not even our beloved Kevin Dotson is playing at an All-Pro level.
The lack of pass rush was utterly baffling, but add in T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and Stephon Tuitt, and that’ll do a little something for you. And it has to, because this coverage isn’t going to hold up, otherwise.
And how much does Ben Roethlisberger have left? If you only judge by yesterday…not much. But does he have it in him to be better than this, with better blocking, and a better run game? If the elements around him improve, can he get the job done in a dink-and-dunk offense? It did work for most of last season, and they theoretically have better weapons this year, including their top two draft picks.