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: How do you assess the Steelers’ 2021 season now that it’s over?
The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t exactly surprise anybody this year. While there were a lot of people who thought that they would post a losing season and/or miss the playoffs, they didn’t do a whole lot more than that, going 9-7-1 and losing in blowout fashion in the Wild Card Round to the Kansas City Chiefs.
So what does it all mean, now that it’s history? First and foremost, it is a failed season, by the team’s own standards. Whether justified or not, they expect to compete for and win a championship every year, and every year they fail to do that is not good enough. We might as well get that part out of the way.
But what about beyond the most obvious? Realistically, how do you assess this season, both in terms of what it was on its own merits, and what it means for the future? In terms of the latter, the conversation is naturally veiled in uncertainty because of the quarterback position, but beyond that, what about their roster?
This is a team that has got its work cut out for itself, but there was some promise. They had a few rookies play well, even if third-round center Kendrick Green proved that he wasn’t ready to start. Najee Harris is the real deal, but they obviously need to build an offensive line around him.
Personally, speaking, I think they did about how I thought they would this year, with 9-10 wins and a first-round exit. We will have to see how the free agency period goes before I start thinking about what 2022 will look like.