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Opinion: Making The Playoff Should Be Least Of The Steelers Concerns

Yes, mathematically, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still hanging around in the playoff picture. The question is: how much longer?

This season, by all accounts, has been a complete bust, beginning with the Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. In hindsight, seeing that they were soundly defeated was a precursor to what was to happen.

Let's say the Steelers manage to qualify for the postseason. And what could they possibly offer?

Let us begin with their quarterback situation, which is currently a mess. Kenny Pickett has been sidelined with an ankle injury, and even if he returns, who knows how effective he will be? As for Mitch Trubisky, well, the Indianpolis Colts game told us everything we need to know about him; he likely saw his last snaps in the Steelers uniform on Saturday. As for Mason Rudolph, one can only hope he is far better than what he was in 2019. Even so, it may not be enough to help this team make the playoffs.

Then you have the rest of the offense. You have two receivers, as talented as they may be, their effort level is questionable. In the case of George Pickens, that is especially true as he does a better job pouting than blocking opposing defenders. In terms of the running backs, Najee Harris means well, but it has become apparent that his field vision issues are not going to be remedied anytime soon. The offensive line has its moments, but with Dan Moore Jr. and Mason Cole, opposing defenses quickly find out how weak these links are and exploit them.

On defense, what you have is an overworked, overused unit that is breaking down. In previous seasons, the team could rely on players like T.J. Watt or Minkah Fitzpatrick to make big plays to save them in situations when the offense was lacking. Even at the peak of their powers this season, it has become clear that they do not have that type of effect anymore. The unit as a whole is poorly schemed, courtesy of Teryl Austin, and teams have exploited the middle and the flats all season long with their cushion-laden coverage schemes. As a whole, it is not the type of defense that would have success in the playoffs.

What does that leave us with then? If we are being truthful, not much. This is not a team with the kind of coaching where players are set up for success. It's unfortunate that their entire identity is in doubt because this was once a stable company that everyone admired. It is currently one that appears to have lost its way and has few places to look for answers.

Making the postseason would be nice for a brief while, but it will not camouflage the fact that this franchise is in dire need of changes, from the head office to the players on the field. They can choose how this shift appears, but if this team is to go forward as a unit, they cannot continue to disregard what is in front of them.


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