Fresh off of a much-needed bye week after six up-and-down weeks, Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin believes that his improving Steelers’ offense is “trending in the right direction” heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
Speaking to Bob Pompeani Saturday morning during his weekly Mike Tomlin Show presented by 84 Lumber, Tomlin addressed the outlook of his offense through six games.
“I think we’re trending in the right direction,” Tomlin said during his weekly show, according to the Steelers’ YouTube channel. “Based on the conversations that we’ve had in recent weeks, we’re eliminating some negativity in our run game in terms of unblocked people. We’re minimizing some penalties and that displays better individual and collective technique and awareness. You know, I think we’re finding a fluidity in our division of labor. I think our running back [Najee Harris] is getting his legs under him in terms of professional football. I think it’s trending in the right direction, but obviously as we come off the bye and we step into this AFC North stadium it’s going to be a significant component, in terms of writing that story.”
What Tomlin said to Pompeani regarding his team through six weeks and coming off the bye is matched by what the team has shown on tape in recent weeks.
The run game is certainly trending in the right direction as rookie running back Najee Harris gets his legs underneath him at the NFL level, while the offensive line is starting to gel and minimize the mistakes as blockers in the run game, along with the decrease in pre-snap penalties that were putting the Steelers in disadvantageous situations early in drives, killing any sort of momentum.
As the offense figures things out and is trending in the right direction, questions remain about the Steelers’ defense, which has struggled to stop the run in recent weeks and isn’t forcing many turnovers to help the offense with some shorter fields.
The defense will face a significant test on Sunday in Cleveland with the Browns’ borderline elite rushing attack behind one of the best offensive line’s in football, but the offense will have an even tougher test against a great Browns’ defensive line that could take advantage of a rebuilt Steelers’ offensive line that still trying to figure out how to play together.