The Pittsburgh Steelers have began their 2022 NFL season with a 1–2 report. Whereas being beneath .500 is rarely fascinating, even early within the season, it’s the dropping two-straight video games which is extra regarding. However is the general state of affairs actually as dangerous because it appears?
If nothing else, hopefully I can provide some perspective for Steelers followers going ahead which can really give just a little little bit of hope. With the negativity introduced on because the Steelers stack losses, hope could also be a harmful phrase to talk of at the moment. Maybe I’ll be labeled too optimistic or a “homer” by bringing these items up, but it surely’s actually how I really feel in regards to the Steelers season thus far.
First, I needed to present some normal total ideas earlier than stepping into three particular particulars which is probably not as dangerous as we expect. Bear in mind the Steelers are solely three video games into their season. There may be nonetheless a variety of soccer to be performed and issues might flip issues round at any time. Understandably, issues might additionally go fully within the unsuitable path.
Not solely has the season simply begun, the Steelers are already over-performing expectations past their very own fan base. The Steelers weren’t anticipated to win any of their first three video games. Whereas Steelers’ Nation had an expectation of being 3–0, others across the NFL totally anticipated the Steelers to be 0–3 as they had been underdogs in every recreation together with their house opener. In truth, the Steelers are solely favored to win one recreation earlier than their bye week in Week 9. That’s proper, the expectation outdoors of the fan base is 1–7.
However we’re Steelers followers and now we have larger requirements. However by having larger requirements, I additionally wish to maintain Steelers followers to the next commonplace of really basing issues off of what’s actually taking place on the sphere and never merely only a speaking level or narrative.
With all this in thoughts, listed below are three issues which are doubtless not as dangerous as what many in Steelers’ Nation consider at the moment.
The Offensive Line
For many who don’t even watch the video games as they occur, or care to take a look at each play as issues go on, the narratives behind the Steelers which get put on the market typically proceed to be believed regardless of what’s going on. Not everyone seems to be a soccer connoisseur. When most individuals watch the sport, together with myself, we generally tend to look at the soccer. And relating to the offensive line, the one time any of them contact the ball is when the middle snaps it. Many instances their play will get neglected.
I admit, even somebody who has performed and coached the offensive line and completely loves scheming up blocks to run performs, when the motion is going on I’m watching the ball. This can be a large motive why I like to look at video games on my own as many instances I’ll watch a play dwell, after which in between performs rewind it to look at the blocking as soon as once more. It’s what I love to do.
However if you happen to had been somebody watching the Steelers offensive line in 2022, you’re going to be stunned by what’s going on. Actually, they’re not that dangerous. Really, they’ve been fairly good. In truth, they’ve been the perfect factor on the offense the final two video games regardless of being losses, for my part. The cross blocking is within the high portion of the NFL and the run blocking is center of the street. Moreover, they’ve been bettering and gelling every week.
When issues aren’t going properly with the offense, some individuals who don’t know any higher simply assume the road shouldn’t be enjoying properly. Nevertheless it’s actually not the case. They’ve executed a reasonably good job and have protected the quarterback properly. Imagine it or not, Mitch Trubisky had extra time to throw than what it looks as if the quarterback and coaches had been ready for coming into the early a part of the season. Proper now, they don’t seem to be a bunch that the offense needs to be scheming round their inadequacies like in earlier seasons.
Simply how good have they been in cross safety? This good…
What number of sacks have the #Steelers offensive line surrendered in 3 video games? Zero. Of the 5 sacks surrendered, 3 are on Trubisky (not credited to a blocker) and a pair of are on Najee Harris on blitz pickup (per @PFF).
— Dave Schofield (@STLRSuperFanDad) September 23, 2022
The Run Protection
After coming in final within the NFL in speeding yards surrendered in 2021, Steelers followers are already dissatisfied with the Steelers potential to cease the run this season. Whereas I’m not saying the push protection has been good, it’s not the NFL’s worst like final 12 months.
In fact, a part of having the ability to cease the run is getting these stops in the important thing moments of a recreation. On the finish of the Steelers Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots, they couldn’t get the important thing stops within the remaining minutes in an effort to give their offense one other likelihood. Whereas it was not their fault they had been put within the state of affairs, you continue to wish to anticipate the crew to return by. So it’s not like the push protection is all sunshine and rainbows both.
With the Steelers having performed three video games this season and 30 different groups but to play in Week 3 at the moment, I’ll be utilizing per recreation numbers simply to be honest. In relation to the Steelers rush protection, they’ve surrendered 142.7 yards per recreation which has them ranked twenty fourth within the NFL. As I mentioned earlier than, this isn’t the worst speeding protection within the league, but it surely’s not as if it’s nice both.
The place issues get attention-grabbing is taking a look at why the Steelers are giving up so many speeding yards. The rationale for it’s because they’ve seen the fourth most speeding makes an attempt within the NFL (34.3 per recreation). Solely the Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, and Chicago Bears have confronted extra speeding makes an attempt per recreation in 2022. Due to the excessive quantity of speeding makes an attempt the Steelers have seen, their yards per try given up is at 4.16 in 2022. This statistic really has the Steelers ranked thirteenth within the NFL, so they’re simply above the center of the league.
Sure, the numbers look dangerous when the Steelers have surrendered no less than 124 yards every recreation. However even essentially the most yardage they’ve surrendered, which was 170 yards towards the Cleveland Browns, ought to be put into some perspective. Within the recreation, the Browns ran the ball 38 instances. Moreover, the 171 yards gained on the bottom is the fewest that they’ve rushed for thus far in 2022. In each of their earlier video games, the Browns rushed for greater than 5.0 yards per carry. In opposition to the Steelers, they averaged 4.5 yards per carry, which was lower than what the Steelers averaged operating the ball on the night time with 4.7 yards per carry.
Clearly the push protection will be higher. Nevertheless it isn’t the entire dumpster hearth that some are making it out to be.
And that is the place some individuals are going to get extremely upset. Regardless of the Steelers being 1–2 and never scoring greater than 17 offensive factors in any recreation this season, Mitch Trubisky has not been that dangerous. Clearly he might be higher. However the query I’m usually asking myself is that if Steelers’ Nation would have the identical angle about him if Kenny Pickett was not ready on the bench.
Right here’s a fair deeper thought: If Trubisky’s Thursday night time efficiency of two touchdowns within the first half, the place the Steelers by no means even reached a 3rd down play on both drive however issues simply weren’t in sync for four-straight drives, would have been Pickett enjoying within the recreation, would there be outrage over his play? If each cross and each determination and each end result of the Steelers offense for 2022 would have been executed with #8 as an alternative of #10, would the identical judgment be given?
I wish to see Kenny Pickett very similar to most Steelers followers. I wish to know what the Steelers have going ahead as properly. However as a result of he’s not on the sphere, there appears to be a perception that he would make each determination and each throw in each second with out ever taking a delay of recreation or making a nasty learn or throw. Proper now, Kenny Pickett is benefiting from not enjoying as a result of he’s not exhibiting any weaknesses and is just what he’s within the minds of the followers and never an precise product on the sphere.
I’m additionally not discounting the truth that Mitchell Trubisky is in his sixth NFL season and will have larger expectations. Maybe followers can be fully positive with Pickett enjoying at the very same stage as Trubisky as he’s studying the NFL system. However Trubisky went a whole season with out being a starter and in addition was going to want time to develop within the system. However as a result of he’s solely below contract by subsequent season and the Steelers have a first-round choose ready within the wings, there’s a giant portion of the fan base that’s not going to be glad with something lower than perfection.
There are three issues that is probably not the world-ending points that some in Steelers’ Nation are making them out to be. Whereas I’m positive a few of chances are you’ll share my optimism, I’m positive there will likely be a far-greater quantity who, with the Steelers at 1–2, are sure every part is unsuitable and nothing will be mounted.