It is often stated that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
To be quite honest with you, this matches the state of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense to a tee.
Many (myself included) thought the offense could improve this season from the sluggish unit that took the field last year with more youth at the QB position that could scramble and move outside of the pocket. OC Matt Canada would be able to run “his offense” with Ben Roethlisberger out of the picture, not having to tailor his offense to an immobile QB that is has developed a certain way he likes to do things. The offense added two free agent offensive linemen in James Daniels and Mason Cole, giving the offense promise in terms of improved pass protection and run blocking.
Fast forward seven games into the 2022 season and nothing has changed. The offense still is operating in a dink-and-dunk style, attempting hardly any vertical shots down the field as the run game remains nonexistent. Canada’s offense has been exposed as a joke, trying to make a basic college/high school style offensive system work with NFL players against NFL-caliber defenses.
The Steelers have been out schemed, outplayed, and outgunned when it comes to their offense, but no real adjustments have been made in recent weeks despite glaring deficiencies in the game plan in terms of effectively moving the football down the field in attempt to score points.
WR Chase Claypool was asked after the game if he thinks that the offense is close to putting it together to turn this thing around. Claypool responded with a blunt yet honest assessment of the current state of Pittsburgh’s offense and the weekly question regarding if the team is close to a breakthrough offensively.
“I mean, I feel like I’ve heard that every week, you know?” Claypool said to the media Sunday night following the game according to a tweet by ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “How close are we? I think it’s too late in the season to be close to anything. I think if we’re close, we have to get there next week.”
Claypool couldn’t be more right with his response here. The offense has been asked every week following a poor offensive showing if they are close to putting it all together, to which the players or the coaching staff would respond with optimism and say that they think they are close, only to fall flat on their faces the next week. HC Mike Tomlin responded to the same question last night in his post-game press conference stating that he thinks that the offense is close to finding their identity, but just didn’t make the splash plays necessary to win the game. This is the same Tomlin who said a week ago that he didn’t believe that they can go down the field consistently and score points.
No one in the organization may want to admit it, but Chase Claypool admitted what is exactly what is on the mind of every Steelers fan as we sit here Monday morning. It’s too late in the season at this point to think that the Steelers are “close” on offense when there has never been any semblance of an offensive identity to this point. Sure, the offense has had success when they go up-tempo and allow Kenny Pickett to get into a rhythm, but they have consistently failed to establish any sustainably in terms of ball movement and outs that can keep them moving the chains.
Part of it is on the players not executing in moments when they must to secure victory (IE Pickett’s two fourth quarter INTs), but this also falls on Canada’s inability and unwillingness to make even minor adjustments to his anemic offense to try and stress opposing defenses and open up the rest of the field past ten yards of the LOS.
Until changes are made, even if they are minuscule ones, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense will remain as ineffective as it has been to start the season. Season-altering changes are likely out of the question at this point, but unless Pittsburgh tries to do something different on the offensive side of the football, the definition of insanity will continue to show its ugly head and the results will remain the same.