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Pressing Issues The Steelers Have to Address This Off-Season

Photo courtesy of BleacherReport.com

By Steeler Nation Staff
SteelerNation.com

 

After finishing the year 8-8, the Pittsburgh Steelers missed out on the chance to progress into the playoffs, leaving their fans with a lengthy and interesting off-season in which to ponder on a few key questions.

The future of defensive lineman, Javon Hargrave will be high up on the list of issues to address. We’ve already mentioned how they may have to choose between him and linebacker, Bud Dupree for 2020, which could see the 26-year-old leave Pittsburgh.

That won’t be the only problem fans will be pondering ahead of a crucial 2020. After seeing the Baltimore Ravens go 14-2, they’ve since watched on as their AFC North rivals capitulated against the Tennessee Titans which will spark hope of a better year ahead. bwin predicted a blowout victory for the AFC North qualifiers, but instead, they were beaten, 28-12. With Baltimore being all that stood between the Steelers and a playoff birth (with some help from the Houston Texans in Week 17), they’ll take great heart from that score and look positively to the future.

With that said, what other elements of the Steelers squad need adjusting and consideration? We look at a few key situations facing Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin here:

 

Quarterback

The issue of who plays quarterback has got to be right at the top of this list. Ben Roethlisberger left Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks due to his season-ending elbow injury, but is on track to make a full recovery by the beginning of next season.

In his absence, Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges were able to deputize, but if there are hopes of a better year ahead them, they may not be able to fill the role of quarterback.

Marcus Mariota is on the free agent list and might not be a bad backup for Roethlisberger whilst a young up and coming QB is brought through the ranks via the 2020 NFL Draft.

 

James Conner’s Contract

Conner has one year remaining on his rookie contract but has been hit by injuries and arguably, the Steelers haven’t seen the best of him so far. They could look to offer him an extension this off-season, but is that the wisest approach?

The injuries are not the only issues here either, his stats have taken a huge tumble too. The 24-year-old’s yards per carry fell by 0.5 over the last year, and his receptions went down from 4.2 per game to just 3.4. There was also a drop in his yards from scrimmage per game, dropping from 2018’s figure of 113.1 to just 71.5 in 2019.

 

Tight End

Sep 15, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald (89) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Vance McDonald totaled just 38 catches for 273 yards and three touchdowns in 2019 after joining the team via trade from the San Francisco 49ers back in 2017. He came with high expectations, but has failed to live up to that promise. The situation with Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t helped of course, but that’s a part of the problem, not the whole picture.

USA Today notes how Tyler Eifert is on the free agent list, having had a healthy 2019. He appeared in all 16 games for the Cincinnati Bengals last year and made the Pro Bowl back in 2015, so he could be an alternative option.

 

Who else would you like to see suit up in black and gold in 2020 as possible replacements on offense? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

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One Comment

  1. Eric offray

    January 22, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    We need a new coach and better defense players look around for the best Steelers must get back to winning long as the same coaches there will not get any better watch this year same shit and promise Steeler strong 🏈☄

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