The Pittsburgh Steelers won their second game in a row Sunday night. After a two game winning streak, and a first place standing, you would expect to have a pretty good feeling about this team. That is not the case however. Most of our Steelers concerns did not just disappear after the win on Sunday night. The offense in particular continues to underwhelm as a unit. Scoring 23 points may seem like a good thing to Steelers fans, but it is fairly pedestrian to the rest of the league.
The defense is not without its flaws either. While the pass rush continues to play at an elite level with All Pro caliber players like TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith, the secondary continues to struggle in coverage. Let’s air out our laundry list of concerns with this team after three game:
Kenny Pickett needs to be better:
Probably not great timing to critique Kenny Pickett after his best performance of the season, but here we are. Pickett has yet to eclipse 250 yards passing in a game, and his 4/3 touchdown to interception ratio does not impress either. The real concern is the accuracy has not been there at all this season. Accuracy is something that has been a strength throughout his career at Pitt, and his rookie season with the Steelers.
Some of his accuracy problems may be due to the pressure from the pass rush he has been facing. We will get into the offensive line struggles in a bit. There is very little room for error when it comes to Kenny Pickett, He has no elite traits to hang his hat on. He does not have a cannon arm, above average athleticism, or elite processing. Conditions need to be near perfect for Pickett to succeed, and they have been anything but that so far this season.
We know Matt Canada is not the guy:
If you are looking for an offensive coordinator to help Pickett by creating those perfect conditions we spoke of above, Matt Canada is clearly not that guy. How much more do we need to see after over two seasons of anemic offense? The Steelers have averaged just over 18 points a game in his reign as offensive coordinator. They have not improved in any single area during his time with the team. The offensive is unimaginative, and impotent. On a list of Steelers concerns, the offensive coordinator once again number one.
The offensive line is regressing:
Perhaps the worst unit on the team after three games is the offensive line. They seem to have taken a rather large step backwards from the end of last season. The run blocking has been a complete mess. Pittsburgh finally eclipsed the 100 yard rushing mark in a game, barely. T00 often running backs are being met in the backfield by one or more defenders. The pass blocking may actually be worse. Kenny Pickett is under constant duress, and it may be taking a toll on his overall play.
We can blame this some on personnel. It may be time to have rookie Broderick Jones replace either of the two starting tackles. It’s a step in the right direction, but when do we call into question offensive line coach Pat Myers? Isaac Seumalo was supposed to be a big boost to this line, and the running game overall. He has been anything but so far. Both Mason Cole, and James Daniels seem to be regressing in year two. Perhaps as the season goes along the line will begin to gel once again. For now, Pat Myers coaching is something to keep an eye on.
If you have listened at all to our Steelers Sanctuary Podcast, you would know we are not fans of the Patrick Peterson/Levi Wallace duo at corner. We had this pegged as one of the biggest Steelers concerns heading into the season. https://www.buzzsprout.com/1981237/13669849-episode-33-steelers-win-problems-persist,
This is at best a very average corner group. They will struggle all season to cover some of the better receivers in the league. Look no further than the stats put up by Devante Adams, or Brandon Ayuk. This despite having one of the best pass rush units in the entire league. The bright spot is the Steelers may really have something in rookie Joey Porter Jr. Whenever Mike Tomlin is done being stubborn and makes Porter a starter, the team will be better off for it.
Admittedly it is very early to get overly concerned about any perceived weakness on the team. All the offensive woes may be due in some part to the tough defenses this team has faced so far. Some of these Steelers concerns are holdovers from last season however. Pittsburgh is a flawed team without question. The same can be said about every other team in the AFC North as well. How quickly they address their concerns will go a long way in determining how this season goes. The division is there for the taking if Mike Tomlin can work through these issues, and continue to win as he has done so far.