The Pittsburgh Steelers will have plenty of time to prepare before their next game against the New York Jets. For a team that can easily be 3-0 at this point in the young season, they’re now 1-2 and funny enough, could also easily be 0-3. That’s the beauty of the NFL. It’s separated by just a few plays, and it’s truly the “game of inches.” I’m not hitting the panic button quite yet, however, as I still feel this team is closer to being exceptional than it may currently appear; even after a second consecutive loss.
Am I ready for a quarterback change? Absolutely. Do I think that’s what solely turns this team around? Not necessarily. But I do believe that that’s where it starts. Starting quarterback, Mitch Trubisky has been admirable in the first three games of the season throwing for 569 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown. He’s also thrown an interception and has just a 43.8 quarterback rating (QBR) via ESPN. That’s only 19th out of 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Simply put, that’s currently just not good enough.
Especially with the reigning 2021 AP Defensive Player of the Year, TJ Watt, still on Injured Reserve with a pectoral injury he suffered in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, the offense will need to pick up some of the slack for the defense. A change to first round pick, quarterback, Kenny Pickett could be the slight jolt this team needs. We heard from head coach, Mike Tomlin on Thursday night however, that he doesn’t plan to make an immediate quarterback change. I still believe that can change before next Sunday, but until then, there are still things this team can continue to build on with the current starting roster they possess.
Here are three positive takeaways the Steelers can continue to build on ahead of a must-win matchup in Week 4 against an underrated Jets team:
3. Special Teams
Miles Killebrew was named 2022 special teams captain for the Steelers for a reason. Although it was only partially grazed, he came up with another blocked punt Thursday night against the Browns. Plays like this can help with field position, especially when you have a struggling offense like Pittsburgh currently has.
Yinz will remember Killebrew blocking a punt in the season opener in 2021 against the Buffalo Bills, on the road in a game where the Steelers ended up winning, thanks to Killebrew’s efforts.
Not only that, but punter, Pressley Harvin III currently leads the league in punts with 17. Although he only ranks 16th amongst punters in the NFL in average yards per punt (47.4), he’s up from 42.6 in which he averaged in 2021. His net yardage was only 38 in 2021, whereas it’s up to 41.4 this season as well.
2. Offensive Line
All off-season long, even before that dating back to the 2021 season, the offensive line has been a huge struggle for this team, but in Weeks 2-3 this season, they have been beyond exceptional. They’re finally starting to gel, giving Trubisky time to throw the ball, as well as giving star running back, Najee Harris lanes to run through. Check this out:
— Brandon James Wallace (@BWall) September 23, 2022
If the offensive line can continue to improve, that will open up the running game, which will open up the play-action pass, which will hopefully open up this stagnant offense as a whole.
1. George Pickens
Good things happen when you get this kid the ball. Probably the catch of the year already, George Pickens showed just a glimpse of his superstar potential Thursday night. Offensive coordinator, Matt Canada needs to continue to find ways to get this playmaker the ball. He’s only been targeted 12 times so far this season, but it’s no coincidence that when the ball is in his hands, it’s usually during a big play; something this offense could use a lot more of.
So what do yinz think? Are these few things enough to build on and change the trajectory of the team as a whole moving forward? Sound off in the comment section below!