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A Letter From The Editor: Should the Steelers focus be on offense, or defense?

With the NFL Draft on the horizon, it makes me wonder if in today’s NFL the focus should be on offense, or defense?

NFL: NFL Draft Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Since I started writing this weekly article, many fans have been very against my views. This is fine, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, as am I. With that said, I’m sure today’s article will certainly cause some discussion regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers’ approach to the 2019 NFL Draft.

Today I find myself wondering what carries more importance to the Steelers as they approach the draft. Offense? Or Defense?

For the football purists out there, this answer is almost always defense. After all, defense wins championships, right? The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles would disagree, but the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams last year showed how important having a competent defense can be to helping you succeed.

In the same breath, there are those who understand how the game of football is evolving, and it is evolving into an offensive game. The ability to post more than 20 points a game is something which almost feels like a necessity in this modern age of football. The rules are so slanted towards the offense, it makes a really good case for offense to take priority.

This truly is the chicken and the egg debate, only in football terms.

When I look at the current 2019 depth chart, I see needs on both side of the football, but one thing I can’t ignore is the dismissal of 15 touchdown receptions. Say what you want about Antonio Brown and his departure from Pittsburgh, but replacing that production won’t necessarily be easy.

As I look at the 2019 defensive depth chart, there are holes, but are they really as significant as many want you to believe? If the Steelers went into the season with Steven Nelson at cornerback, and Mark Barron at inside linebacker, I would already consider that an upgrade over the 2018 version with Coty Sensabaugh and Jon Bostic.

So, in terms of production, I feel the offense has much more ground to make up compared to the defense. Let’s also not forget the defense tied for the NFL lead in sacks last season, so if Barron can be the sideline-to-sideline tackler the team needs in run stopping and Nelson be the aggressive defensive back with an upgrade in ball skills — consider that an improvement.

Offensively the Steelers need to focus on getting their production at least equal to what it was in 2018. Not as easy task, and much of that issue will fall on Randy Fichtner and Ben Roethlisberger to make sure a plan is in place to spread the ball around and utilize one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

Coming full circle, should the focus be on offense or defense in the upcoming draft? Well, when I started the thought process for this article I was certain the answer was defense, but the more I thought, and the more I wrote, I seem to have convinced myself offense isn’t a bad call at all.