Whaley: Steelers’ Offense ‘Leaves A Lot To Be Desired’

After watching Super Bowl LVII between two explosive offenses in the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, much of the talk the last few days surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers has settled on the offense under Matt Canada and the identity of the group overall — or lack thereof.

Former running back Jerome Bettis criticized the lack of an identity offensively earlier in the week, and on Wednesday it was former Buffalo Bills’ GM Doug Whaley who chimed in on the lack of an identity in Pittsburgh.

Appearing on 93.7 The Fan Wednesday morning, Whaley criticized the game planning and the lack of purposeful motion within the scheme overall.

“The offensive system and game planning leaves a lot to be desired,” Whaley said Wednesday, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan. “Do you ever see the Steelers offense setting up a play 50 minutes before? Do you ever see the Steelers offense putting a guy in motion to expose what the defense is doing and being able to take advantage of that weakness of the defense that they found out by motioning? No. They just use motion to say I am doing motion to give guys extra steps on their watch.”

The game planning and setting up plays for later in the game are fair criticism overall when it comes to the Steelers’ offense under Matt Canada. Too often, the offense felt very bland and basic in 2022, whether it was Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett under center during the season.

The criticism regarding the motion overall though is unfair. There’s a purpose to the motion in Canada’s system. They aren’t just using it to “give guys extra steps on their watch” like Whaley tries to state. Canada could do a much better job in the booth of seeing what the defense is doing in adjusting to the motion to try and set plays up better, but it’s not like the motion has no purpose overall. Plus, the use of motion in Pittsburgh pre-snap is a huge improvement over what the Steelers were doing in the past, which featured little to no pre-snap motion, keeping things rather static and basic for defenses to read ahead of the snap.

Compared to other teams in the NFL, the Steelers offense certainly leaves a lot to be desired, at least from an aggressiveness standpoint in pushing the ball down the field, creating explosive plays and putting up points.

That will be the key step forward for Pittsburgh in 2023 under Canada, now that Pickett has nearly a full season of starting experience in the NFL under his belt, along with an improved rushing attack with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, and standout pass catchers in Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth.

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