The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is broken. From dropped passes, to poor play calling, to the absolute absence of a run game, this unit is in trouble. There is no easy fix that solves all the problems this late into the season. Mike Tomlin does have some options to help restart his struggling offense however……
Shuffle the line:
The Steelers offensive line is literally the worst run blocking group in the entire league. Even their stellar record as pass blockers is probably skewed by the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is getting the ball out at a ridiculous pace. We warned before the season started that this unit could be a problem in 2020….Steelers offensive line could be a weakness in 2020
There is at least a partial solution that could help the running game. The Steelers need to insert Kevin Dotson at guard, and move Matt Feiler back to right tackle. This is not an indictment on Chuks Okorafor necessarily. He has played fairly well this season. What it does is give the team its best run blocking unit possible. The Matt Feiler at guard experiment has failed miserably. It’s clear now that his best position is at right tackle. Kevin Dotson is massive guard who is built specifically for run blocking. This minor move will pay big dividends to the run game as we head to the stretch run of the season. Craig Wolfley explains how this works in greater detail here:https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/Article/Former-Steelers-guard-sees-a-move-on-the-offensive-line-that-could-mean-just-as-much-as-the-return-of-Maurkice-Pouncey-and-James-Conner-156467398/
Stop the drops:
Mike Tomlin addressed this problem rather bluntly in the post game press conference Monday. His quote “Catch the ball or get replaced by those who will” tells you all you need to know on his thoughts on the issue. The problem is it’s not just one or two players, its the entire unit. Tomlin should start by making an example of tight end Eric Ebron. While he has made some clutch catches this season, his dropped passes are on a sharp increase. Add that to the fact that Ebron gives the Steelers next to nothing in the run game, and he becomes the perfect candidate to sit for an extended period of time.
Replacing Ebron with Kevin Rader can only help the struggling running game. We are not implying this should be a permanent change. Instead, we are suggesting a reduced role for Ebron until he can prove the drops are gone from his game. Tomlin kills two birds with one stone making this move. He can set a strong example for receivers being held accountable for dropped passes. At the same time he can help his beleaguered running game by playing a tight end who might actually block.
Change the play caller:
This is the least likely, but possibly the most affective way to fix the offense. It’s no secret that Randy Fichtner was not, and still isn’t qualified to be an offensive coordinator. Fichtner was the classic right guy at the right time. The Steelers hired him to placate Ben Roethlisberger after his tumultuous run with Todd Haley. Basically, Pittsburgh gave Fichtner the job because Ben forced them to. Roethlisberger’s hints at retirement forced the Steelers hand in this situation. Mike Tomlin chose the wrong coordinator
Fast forward to this season, and the Steelers made a move that showed they weren’t overly happy with Fichtner’s play calling. The team basically forced Fitchner to add pre-snap motion to the offense when they hired Matt Canada this off-season. Now it’s time to take it one step further, and make Canada the offensive coordinator. Fichtner’s inconsistent, and sometimes downright bizarre play calling are keeping this offense from getting into rhythm during games. The Steelers offense has also become very predictable. Several Redskins players boasted they knew exactly what Pittsburgh was running. A change at coordinator is needed here, and the Steelers are lucky enough to have someone in house who can do the job.
All of the above:
The Steelers offense on the whole this season has been fairly good. Ben Roethlisberger has turned himself into a Tom Brady clone, without the pinpoint accuracy of course. He has eliminated the turnovers, while getting the ball out at a incredibly quick rate. This unit has been slowly regressing as the weeks go by however. The lack of any sort of running game is starting to take it’s toll. So much reliance on the passing game has led to predictability, and that’s something defenses are taking advantage of. Mike Tomlin faces some tough decisions to fix this struggling offense. Ignoring it will lead to disastrous consequences.