Long, time consuming drives that result in field goals.
That pretty much sums up the Pittsburgh Steelers offense the past two seasons under Todd Haley's tutelage. However, not all of the burden of red zone efficiency can be tossed onto Haley's shoulders, much of it has to do with players simply making plays, but any way you look at it, the Steelers need to improve that area of their offense in 2014.
In 2013, the Steelers were 16th in red zone scoring (touchdowns only) amongst all NFL teams, scoring touchdowns on 52.8 percent of trips into the red zone. During those trips, the Steelers scored 1.8 touchdowns per game in 2014, that ranking also leaves them 16th in the league.
It wasn't pathetic, but it wasn't phenomenal either. A lot needs improved if the Steelers offense wants to get to the upper echelon of offenses in the league in 2014.
From a personnel standpoint, the Steelers are better equipped to improve in the red zone this year for a multitude of reasons. Heath Miller has returned to full health, and if the offensive line can improve enough to allow him to run his routes and not have to remain in to block, then Ben Roethlisberger will certainly be looking for No. 83 in the red zone as Miller has always been a favorite target of Roethlisberger in that area.
Although the departure of Jerricho Cotchery has left the Steelers without their leading receiver in terms of touchdowns scored in 2013, they gained another savvy veteran in Lance Moore that did the majority of his damage in New Orleans in the red zone catching touchdowns from Drew Brees.
Martavis Bryant has the size and skill set to be a factor in the red zone, something Roethlisberger hasn't had as a viable option since Plaxico Burress first left the team, and fellow rookie Dri Archer's quick burst and agility will certainly make things interesting for opposing defenses.
Throw in the addition of LeGarrette Blount to complement the dual threat back that is Le'Veon Bell, the team seems pretty set from a personnel stand point in the red zone. If there is one position that shouldn't be a concern, it is quarterback. Roethlisberger ranked 8th in the NFL in red zone quarterback rating with a 98.6 and has proven time and time again that he can make plays when it counts the most.
The variables are there in the equation, but whether the team will be able to solve the problem that is the red zone offense in 2014 has yet to be seen.