An offseason of significant change has cast a large shadow of doubt over the historically consistent Pittsburgh Steelers, at least for the national media.
After watching longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retire and longtime GM Kevin Colbert call it a career, along with the additions of Mitch Trubisky, Levi Wallace, Mason Cole, James Daniels, and Myles Jack in free agency, and the selection of Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers will look much, much different in 2022 compared to what they’ve been known for over the last two decades.
With change comes uncertainty, and that’s exactly where the Steelers find themselves in Pro Football Focus’s power rankings ahead of the 2022 NFL season Wednesday morning.
According to Pro Football Focus’s Sam Monson, the Steelers are outside his top 20 in the power rankings, finding themselves at No. 21 overall and in the “Stuck In Limbo” tier with the likes of Minnesota, Washington, Detroit, the New York Jets, and the New York Giants.
“The Steelers have been perennial contenders for the duration of Ben Roethlisberger’s career. Their quarterback since 2004, Big Ben retired this offseason after never finishing a season with a losing record,” Monson writes. “Now, Pittsburgh needs to sustain that success with a combination of Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett at quarterback. Either player will massively change the offense that had the fastest average time to throw in 2021.”
Though it’s a bit frustrating to see the outlook of a clearly improved team come down squarely on the shoulders of the quarterbacks, that’s how it is in today’s game. That said, the additions of Trubisky and Pickett should improve the Steelers’ offense, which was very clearly handicapped in 2021 with Roethlisberger under center and then-first-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada attempting to install his concepts.
With improved mobility and overall athleticism under center, the Steelers’ offense should be able to open things up in Year 2 under Canada, which should, in turn, take some heat off of a defense that looks to remain relatively healthy this season after dealing with a number of significant injuries last season at all three levels.
Pittsburgh might be a major question mark on paper, largely due to the number of changes that occurred to such a stable organization this offseason, but there’s no denying that the outlook is much more promising heading into the 2022 NFL season compared to last summer.