3 Reasons Why Steelers ‘Not Going 6-11’ Deserves More Hype

TJ Watt and Cam Heyward

Photo of Timothy T Ludwig / Getty

Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen is pursued by Cameron Heyward and TJ Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 12, 2021.

Odds analysts at DraftKings have 12 teams leading the Pittsburgh Steelers 50-1 in odds to represent the AFC at Super Bowl LVII, with only the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and Houston Texans in Pittsburgh’s rearview mirror. But are the Steelers really 13th in the AFC – in a five- or six-win season, of course?

Kyle Brandt, for one person, do not think so. In a segment on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on July 1, he said:

“They won’t go 6-11. They never did, they never will. Here’s what will happen. At the end of October, we’ll say, ‘Well, look at the Steel Men, they’re 6-3….’ As long as the coach is there and the defense is there, “Steel Man will win,” he concluded.

Nor is it blind optimism. One could make the argument that each and every group of positions is as good – or better – than what the Steelers achieved in 2021.

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Run defense has been fixed

In 2021, the Steelers finished with the worst defense in the NFL, having played an entire season without Stephon Tuitt and almost an entire season without starting with a Tyson Alualu tackle. Tuitt has retired and the Steelers will miss out on his talent again, but Alualu is back from a broken ankle injury in Week 2 last season, as has defensive captain Cam Heyward.

More importantly, the Steelers have added Larry Ogunjobi to the free agency, who is about to have a season that will see him score 49 tackles and a career-high of seven. Montravius ​​Adams – the former third-round player who was dropped from the Saints’ training squad last November – looks like a goalkeeper, having signed a two-year contract extension into the season.

Then there’s 2021 fifth-round pick Isaiahh Loudermilk and third-round rookie pick DeMarvin Leal, one or both of whom look set to catch Chris Wormley in defence, largely due to Wormley’s “runs” defensively (leaving) a bit to be desired,” notes Athletic’s Mark Kaboly.

One of the twin brothers, Carlos Davis and Khalil Davis, could still emerge as a significant contributor, with Henry Mondeaux, Daniel Archibong and Donovan Jeter rounding out the remaining selections.

Pass Rush numbers are still among the best in the League

Meanwhile, the Steelers should continue to be among the NFL’s best teams in terms of the urgent quarterback quartet, having produced the league’s highest 55 bags last season, four better than the team that ranked. the second is the Minnesota Vikings. Leading again will be defending DPOY TJ Watt (22.5 bags) and All-Pro teammate Cam Heyward (10).

But the Steelers also returned five other players who produced multiple sacks in 2021: Chris Wormley (7), Alex Highsmith (6), Devin Bush Jr. (2), Derrek Tuszka (2) and Henry Mondeaux (2), although one of the many characters in this group will be boosted playtime with new and improved options.

Pittsburgh’s QB(s) Will Have A Reliable Weapon

In the end, considerable attention has been paid to whether Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett (or maybe even Mason Rudolph) will open the season as the team’s starting quarterback. Whoever it is will have an array of quality young players to pitch, notably former third-rounder Diontae Johnson, former second-round pick Chase Claypool and late sophomore Pat Freiermuth, all of whom have created at least 59 fruits. Last year, Johnson led with 107 receptions.

Claypool thinks it would be most beneficial to let a young midfielder throw him the ball, as in 2021 the Notre Dame production has been limited by Ben Roethlisberger being unable to get the ball down the pitch at anything else. out of the way.

The Steelers also had a pair of promising rookie draft picks in the fold, with George Pickens runner-up and fourth-round runner Calvin Austin III, who was later called the “day stealer.” 3 largest” of the draft.

Meanwhile, Najee Harris’s new and improving fitness will allow him to build on a rookie season that saw him dash for the 1,200 meters and contribute the extra 467 meters received.

The question mark enters the year 2022

The big unknowns coming up for the season revolve around the quality of midfield play, whether Matt Canada is a quality NFL offensive coordinator, and whether the offensive line is significantly better than the rest of the team. with 2021 or not, when the Steelers start rookies on both left and center.

Pittsburgh’s addition of free agents on the attack (including Mason Cole and James Daniels) shows that this route can and will be better. Likewise for the second installment, added a free agent of his own in former Bills cornerback Levi Wallace, who says he opted to sign with the Steelers after receiving a sign from God.

It won’t be long before Steelers fans get a look at the latest version of the team. Training camp returns to Latrobe on July 26, 2022, with the team’s first game scheduled for August 13 against Seattle.

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