The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? How might they tackle the NFL Draft? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: What is the Steelers’ least improved position this offseason?
The flipside of yesterday’s article, naturally, and the same principles apply. Feel free to think outside the box as long as it makes sense and you actually believe it. What position on the roster is least likely to have shown improvement in 2023 compared to last season?
I think one can make an argument that every position has gotten better in some way, shape, or form, barring perhaps the specialists, though we should safely predict that Chris Boswell will have a better year than last year. And Pressley Harvin III has genuine competition this time.
As for the offense and defense, I’m hoping the answer isn’t at quarterback, of course, considering the Steelers have a starter who threw seven touchdown passes last season. That obviously needs to be quadrupled or more — quintupled would certainly be welcome.
The injury to T.J. Watt last year complicates the matter of outside linebacker, since we obviously didn’t see that unit at its full strength after the season opener. Better health will naturally lead to improvement.
If we want to isolate one position, I think we can say safety. Minkah Fitzpatrick had arguably the best season of his career last year. Now his long-term partner at strong safety is gone, not replaced by anybody who is necessarily better. I’m not sure that we get better safety play in 2023 than we got last year, which was already at a very fine level.
And curiously enough, one could make the case that the position that changed the most might see the least amount of improvement. After all, the Steelers may have turned Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Myles Jack, and Marcus Allen out of the inside linebacker room, but they were not replaced by anybody particularly notable: Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Tanner Muse, and perhaps rookie Nick Herbig, who would be on a learning curve to play inside.