As a football team, your goal is to impose your will on your opposition to secure victory.
Football is a physical contact sport where the biggest, strongest, and fastest players ultimately succeed. The Pittsburgh Steelers are embracing that mindset heading into the 2023 season, looking to play bully ball and pummel their opponents in a physical AFC North division as well as across the league into submission in old-fashioned slugfests.
Pittsburgh has laid out its blueprint to play a more physical brand of football this coming season, acquiring the right players to do the job via free agency and in the draft. They double-dipped in the draft at the University of Georgia for teammates OT Broderick Jones and TE Darnell Washington, bringing in two physical, big-bodied blockers who fit what the team is looking for to a tee.
Former Bulldog and now Steelers teammate WR George Pickens was asked about Washington and Jones after OTA practice on Wednesday and specifically if the University of Georgia recruits and “breeds” big, tall, and strong football players in Athens.
“I’d probably say at our university, yeah,” Pickens said to reporters Wednesday via video from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Chris Adamski’s Twitter page. “Our strength and conditioning program are kind of different.”
As a former college strength and conditioning coach who has SEC experience from coaching for Florida football back in 2018, the University of Georgia has been widely known as one of the top programs in college football both on the field and in the weight room. Landing plenty of the top recruits doesn’t hurt, but the Bulldogs’ strength and conditioning program has done quite a good job developing the talent they’ve been given over the last several years. When you look at just the last two seasons, you see physical freaks of nature at their respective positions like Pickens, Washington, Jones, Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, Lewis Cine, Nolan Smith, Kelee Ringo, Quay Walker, and many more.
The Steelers have prided themselves on pedigree and HC Mike Tomlin has said that the team isn’t bashful on its intentions to play physical, smash mouth football in 2023. If the Steelers want to be a bully in the AFC, it’s best to get the bullies from the college level. They did just that nabbing both Jones and Washington in the draft and also signing OGs Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig. Both also fit the mold of big, physical human beings who can impose their will on opponents.
The Steelers have assembled a physical football team at nearly level on both sides of the football this offseason, adding size and nastiness to be a more aggressive team than they were a season before. Whether it is S Keanu Neal being the enforcer in the secondary or Washington and Jones leading the way on an outside toss, expect this Steelers team to be the aggressor in plenty of contests this season.