The Pittsburgh Steelers offense looked lousy in the season opener. The offensive side of the ball during the offseason was surrounded by various questions and concerns. Those questions and concerns have now followed the team into the regular season. The Steelers were surprised at home by the Tennessee Titans; the Steelers lost 16-9.
Is the Steelers offense doomed to have a terrible season?
The Steelers lost their speedy deep threat Mike Wallace during the offseason as he took his talents to Miami. There was some concern when it came to Wallace departing the steel city. However, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders seemed poised to have a great season for the Steelers, leaving the concerns of an absent Wallace in the past. The team also lost a huge weapon in their offense when tight end Heath Miller went down with an ACL tear last season. Good news: Miller is due back this season but it’s still going to be a few weeks before we see him.
The Steelers running game is complete madness. Rookie Le’Veon Bell suffering a foot injury during the preseason really put a damper on the expectations for the Steelers’ rushing attack. The Steelers cut ties with last year’s leading rusher, Jonathan Dwyer, only to bring him back after fellow running back LaRod Stephens-Howling suffered a torn ACL in the season opener.
Isaac Redman entered Sunday’s game as the staring back and showed he isn’t reliable at all. He fumbled the ball in the red zone, ending the Steelers’ chances of putting more points on the board early in the game. Recently acquired running back Felix Jones was just there on Sunday; he provided nothing special during the game and this was due to his lack of knowledge when it comes to the offense. There’s a lot to ponder about when looking at the Steelers ground game.
The offensive line is another major issue that the team should be concerned about, but then again when isn’t the offensive line a concern in Pittsburgh? The offensive line during the opener looked like the line we’ve become accustomed to. Roethisberger was sacked five times during the game and the line’s best player, Maurkice Pouncey suffered a season-ending ACL tear. The Steelers recently signed former Titans center Fernando Velasco to a 1-year deal in the wake of the injury to Pouncey. Kelvin Beachum is listed as the starting center for now. The Steelers haven’t seen a solid offensive line in forever, and it’s looking like it’s going to be another subpar season for the big men up front.
So what is it exactly that’s making this offense look so bad? Is it the lack of chemistry between Roethlisberger and his receivers? Is offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Roethlisberger still not seeing eye-to-eye? Another season of horrible blocking? What gives?
Pinpointing the exact reason the Steelers’ offense struggled in game one is a tough thing to do considering there’s so much to analyze. However, it is just one game. As miserable as the Steelers looked in the opener it’s still too early to write this team off. There’s plenty of work to be done for the lackluster offense, but to say they’re doomed for the entire year is a bit drastic.
Roethlisberger and his young receivers will develop better chemistry as the season continues. The faster the better, but it will happen at some point and the Steelers will see improvement in the passing game.
I don’t believe the lack of production during the season opener was due to Haley and Roethlisberger bumping heads again. Do I question Haley’s play calling at times? Sure. I think that their relationship is nowhere near what it was a season ago and everything’s fine on that matter.
The offensive line is always frustrating, but that’s been the case for so many seasons now. The team’s definitely been able to go far with a mediocre offensive line, this season could be no different. Heath Miller is due back soon and if he’s 100 percent, he’ll add a boost to the receiving game because Miller is a fantastic player and can only make the pass attack better.
Surely we’re not ready to give up just yet on the Steelers. Before we make any harsh conclusions to the season ahead, let’s let the team learn from a disastrous start and see just how well they can rebound. Week 2 the Steelers are presented with a pivotal matchup against AFC North rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are a perfect team for the Steelers to bounce back against.