After an offseason that saw some significant roster additions on the offensive side of the football, will the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense under second-year coordinator Matt Canada be improved in 2022?
Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox certainly believes that the Steelers’ offense will be improved in 2022, but it will still be towards the bottom of the league, according to his offensive rankings for all 32 teams in the NFL.
Knox has the Steelers slotted in at No. 19 overall, just ahead of the New England Patriots at No. 20, and just behind the Baltimore Ravens at No. 18.
Pittsburgh added the likes of Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, George Pickens, Calvin Austin III, James Daniels, and Mason Cole this offseason, and retained Chukwuma Okorafor in free agency, seemingly rebuilding on the fly after losing Ben Roethlisberger to retirement, and seeing JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ray-Ray McCloud, James Washington, Eric Ebron, and Trai Turner leave in free agency on the offensive side of the football.
“There is a load of potential with this unit, but a couple of big questions remain,” Knox writes. “For one, the Steelers need to find a replacement for longtime starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In 2022, that could be Mason Rudolph, Mitch Trubisky or rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett—presumably, Pickett is the long-term answer. Whether any one of them is better than the aging Roethlisberger we saw last season remains to be seen.
“The offensive line remains a question mark too. The Steelers allowed 38 sacks and ranked just 29th in yards per rush despite having a phenomenal back in Harris. Pittsburgh did add interior linemen James Daniels and Mason Cole in free agency, but that might not be enough to turn around the unit.
“Regardless, a lot is going to hinge on Pittsburgh’s quarterback play. Roethlisberger was serviceable last season, but Pittsburgh ranked 29th in yards per pass attempt,” Knox added. “If Pickett or one of the other quarterbacks can add some punch to the passing game, this offense could be deadly. If the results are similar to last year’s, Pittsburgh will once again have a middling offense. The uncertainty at quarterback prevents the Steelers from being ranked higher than their talent suggests.
While it’s fair to question the offensive line as a whole, Pittsburgh added some mobility at quarterback in Trubisky and Pickett, which could theoretically help cut down on the number of sacks allowed. Add in the additions of Daniels and Cole, and the offensive line should be better overall, assuming health of Kevin Dotson and continued growth of Dan Moore Jr., as well.
The Steelers also added some speed and physicality at the receiver position with Pickens and Austin III, which should provide some downfield explosiveness, especially over the middle of the field, which has been missing in recent years.
With a pair of quarterbacks that fit his scheme and plenty of high-end talent across the board on offense, Canada’s system and play-calling has to produce at a higher level in 2022 if the Steelers want to get back to the playoffs. Execution from the players is key as well, but there’s really no excuses at this point.