The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others—some already decided, some not.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor was re-signed, but Trai Turner was not. James Daniels and Mason Cole were added in free agency.
These are the sorts of topics 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: At which positions have the Steelers improved the most since last season, including health?
No team is ever the same from one season to the next. Even if a team by some great fortune manages to return all 25 starters in consecutive seasons, they will in some ways be different players due to aging or development.
Of course, sometimes things change radically. The Steelers, for example, added two starters in free agency along the offensive line, and switched things up at inside linebacker, as well. The wide receiver depth chart looks much different, as well. Oh, and so does quarterback.
So the question for today is this: at which positions did the Steelers most improve from last season, based on your expectations of how those units will perform? Obviously, changes in personnel are a major driver of improvement or decline, but so is internal development, health, depth, coaching changes, etc. There’s no end to the list of factors.
We are talking specifically about the 2021 and 2022 seasons here, note, so, for example, this is about Ben Roethlisberger last season versus Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky this season. This is also Najee Harris last season versus Najee Harris this season, or Devin Bush and Joe Schobert last season versus Devin Bush and Myles Jack this season.
In theory, the offensive line should be up there on this list, adding James Daniels and Mason Cole in free agency, but I think a lot of people are going to be cautious in putting it out there before we see the proof. New coach Pat Meyer is also an unknown factor to everybody but Trent Scott.