The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense is in the witness protection program. They’re a ghost, nobody knows who they are, and they’ve certainly kept a low profile, staying off the field as much as possible this season. If Pittsburgh wants its season to get back on the right track, it’ll need to come out of its shell and figure out their formula to win. But even the players admit they don’t quite know what they looks like.
Speaking to reporters Monday, WR Chase Claypool believes the Steelers need to figure out their identity. That’s according to this set of quotes from ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.
“I don’t know if we have an identity. I think we’re still figuring that out,” Claypool said.
Ain’t that the truth.
Thursday night was a perfect example of that. The Cleveland Browns have their own offensive problems. Amari Cooper is the only wide receiver worth knowing. Their offensive line has played hurt, working with a backup center, while they’re rolling with Jacoby Brissett until Deshaun Watson returns late in the year. But they know why they are. They’re built around a potent and varied running game, building play action off a successful ground attack. They play ball control, stay on schedule, and hope to finish drives off with their combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
The Steelers? There’s talent. But there’s not much of a plan. Right now, the Steelers have no blueprint of winning. At least, not a good one. I couldn’t tell you what the identity of the Steelers’ offense is right now. They want to run the ball but aren’t very good at it, not over sustained periods of time. They want to push the ball vertically but haven’t done it consistently or effectively enough.
Their goal seems to be to win ultra-low scoring affairs, 13-10, 17-14, on the backs of their good-not-great defense and top-end kicker. It’s a model that’s tough to pull off over the course of a long regular season, especially in a division that features teams who know who they are. The Ravens have an established running game, the Browns a clear understanding of how they win, and though the Bengals stalled to start the year, they more effectively utilize their playmakers with their far better quarterback play.
Until Pittsburgh gets to that point, and it doesn’t seem like it’s close, it’ll flail around with the talent it has. You can have as many big names and good players as you want, but if it’s not wrapped up in a cohesive plan, at best you’ll be an inconsistent bunch that always underwhelms. Right now, that’s the Steelers’ identity. It sure isn’t a good one.