At 2-4 the Pittsburgh Steelers did not exactly set the league on fire in their games before the Week 7 bye, but the team was far from being a dumpster fire either. I did not have high hopes when the season rolled around. Losing four-time All-Pro Antonio Brown, a mess at backup tight end with a brittle starter, a declining Mark Barron sitting alongside an unproven first-round pick in Devin Bush, and a pair of safeties far from superstars had me concerned in training camp. I thought 10-6 would be the ceiling. Just too many question marks to think a Super Bowl run was imminent.
Fast forward to now and my concerns have changed for the Steelers to succeed during the rest of the season. I am not as optimistic as other Steelers fans and media regarding the second half of the season. The team’s two wins have come against two terrible teams while we trotted out two different backup quarterbacks with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger done for the year. The defense churned out five turnovers in those two contests and has been solid for most of the season. The team did not get blown out in the other three losses losing by a grand total of nine points, so there is that to be optimistic about. But how good are those teams, really?
Can this team get to the 8-8 or even 10-6 mark and even limp into the playoffs or even roar into them? The odds are stacked against Pittsburgh but what are seven aspects that can help propel the team the second half of the season?
- Quarterback Mason Rudolph needs to be more productive and finish drives.
- Defensive coordinator Keith Butler needs to figure out how to replace Stephon Tuitt.
- Kickstart the anemic running game.
- Get JuJu Smith-Schuster more involved.
- Keep up the pressure on opposing quarterbacks with the front seven.
- Turnovers are king.
- Boswell needs to keep being the team’s MVP.
Plenty of fans and media in Steelers Nation still have very high hopes for the 2019 squad and could even cause some damage in the playoffs. I did not think they were one of the more dangerous teams before the season and with Ben Roethlisberger going down I am even more pessimistic now.
One player often gets the ire of fans for losing a game but he cannot lose it by himself. Wins and losses are a team effort, this is not golf or tennis. The pressure will be on Rudolph to produce but there are 10 other guys on offense that need to pull their own weight. There are also 11 on defense who are accountable let alone the players on special teams.
The seven above aspects are key for the Steelers to find success during the next 10 games. Injuries might have taken their toll on the team’s success but that will not damper the fan’s enthusiasm or the love they have towards their beloved Black and Gold. Putting a smackdown on the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night will go a long way to restoring faith in Steelers Nation.