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Mason Cole: ‘Nothing Has To Change’ With The Players We Have For Offense To Succeed In 2023

How far can this Pittsburgh Steelers team go in 2023? And perhaps we can ask that question fairly literally—this Steelers team. It’s probably not going to change much from last year, particularly on offense. What they built is what they built.

It was primarily due to offensive improvements, particularly per-drive efficiency, that led to better play in the second half of the season and allowed them to go 7-2, narrowly missing the playoffs (yes, a weaker schedule helped).

Center Mason Cole believes that improvement and the subsequent failure to make the postseason will only fuel this group even more. That’s the question he was asked by Dale Lolley in an interview for the team’s website. In fact, he said that he believes this offense as it was in 2022 is good enough to win.

I think just how good we were at least offensively late in the year, just that momentum, just knowing how good we can be”, he said, will be fuel for next year. “With the guys in our room, nothing has to change. We were really good in the second half of the year. Just having that confidence going into next year knowing how efficient we can be as an offense”.

Now, that line in the middle is obviously going to catch a few people’s ears, and not in a positive way. Nothing has to change about this offseason with the players they have now? Really? I’m sure a lot of people are going to take issue with that.

But I wouldn’t want anybody in that unit to say otherwise, really. That’s how they should feel. They need to have that confidence. And besides, at the end of the day it’s not the players who control who is around them and what happens, so it doesn’t matter whether or not they think anything has to change.

Every time the discussion about why and how the Steelers improved over the second half of the season comes up, it’s quickly shouted down by the argument that it was all based on the schedule. That’s overly simplistic for a number of reasons, even if the difficulty of opponent was obviously a factor as I’ve already acknowledged.

But the quality of opponent doesn’t make Najee Harris run harder or cause the offensive line to have fewer missed assignments. It doesn’t improve Kenny Pickett’s ability to read the field or to make more decisive throws in tighter windows.

The individual and collective performances of those on the field and their groups, as evidenced on the film, was quite simply superior to that which we saw in the first half of the season. That’s an opponent-independent observation. Whether you’re facing Myles Garrett or a random backup, your execution is still your execution.

In other words, this was more of a collective as the year progressed. They were a greater whole than they were before. That doesn’t mean things don’t still need to get better. But, Cole feels, they already have what they need to be where they want to be.

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