Pittsburgh Steelers fans aren’t used to not having an offense that ranks near the top both in individual statistics as well as team stats. But, in 2019 without Ben Roethlisberger under center, the Steelers have struggled offensively and stumbled out of the gate to a 2-4 record.
While 2-4 isn’t a good start for a team with the history of the Steelers, the fact is how not everything about the 2019 Steelers is bad. In fact, there are some extremely bright spots on the other side of the football.
Yes, on Keith Butler’s defense.
When you look at the defense as a whole they are certainly an up-and-coming unit. In fact, some might say they are as close to dominant as any defense the Steelers have put on the field since their last Super Bowl appearance in 2010.
This isn’t to suggest there aren’t issues still surrounding the defense moving forward, but the folks at Pro Football Focus (PFF) put together some statistics for both the defense and individuals throughout the first six weeks of the regular season.
Check them out:
When it comes to EDGE defenders, T.J. Watt is among the top 5 in the league, per PFF’s grading system.
The highest-graded edge defenders this season! pic.twitter.com/ifwOt9tdaQ— PFF (@PFF) October 20, 2019
The Steelers’ defense has improved immensely throughout the early portions of the season. Sure the loss of Stephon Tuitt were killers, but the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick has helped solidify the back end of the defense.
Here is how they rank among the rest of the league in terms of overall defense:
While the offense has been disappointing for the most part, there are areas, mainly with James Conner, who have stood out. So far, Conner ranks among the Top 5 when it comes to broken tackles.
No surprise to see Kamara and McCaffrey leading the way in broken tackles as receivers out of the backfield! pic.twitter.com/q9OsLtbPXn— PFF (@PFF) October 20, 2019
On top of Conner’s ability to break tackles, he has turned into a top receiving option as a running back in the entire league. In fact, he ranks behind only Austin Ekeler and Christian McCaffrey in this regard.
The highest receiving grades among RBs thus far this season! pic.twitter.com/iikxF2Co9b— PFF (@PFF) October 18, 2019
With the Steelers on the bye week, fans will have the opportunity to sit back and watch the rest of the league as they get healthy and prepare for the Miami Dolphins in Week 8 on Monday Night Football at Heinz Field.