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 are starting.
There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. 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: Will Alex Highsmith record his first sack of the season today?
The Steelers had high hopes for Alex Highsmith entering his second season, enough to make them feel alright about their outside linebacker position in spite of the then-pending loss of Bud Dupree in free agency. He had a really good offseason, but while he certainly has not played poorly by any means so far during the regular season, we are waiting for him to connect on that ‘splash’.
Sacks are not the be-all, end-all, but they’re still an essential ingredient in being an edge rusher. Highsmith only had two sacks during his rookie season. So far through five games this season—or four, since he missed one—he hasn’t recorded a sack yet.
Today, he plays against a backup quarterback in Geno Smith, and he will be facing Duane Brown, who has not been exceptional this year. In fact, at least Pro Football Focus credits him with giving up three sacks already this season; no other Seahawks player has more than one sack charged against them.
Highsmith suffered a groin injury before the regular season opener, so he’s basically been bothered by injury all year. The bye week is hopefully coming up at the right time for him to give that groin a bit of a rest without worrying about football. But it would also be nice to get into the bye week with at least one sack under his belt, as well. It’s not crucial, but it’s not like you don’t know he wants it as bad as anybody else does.