Yesterday we took a look at 10 reasons why you should be excited about the Steelers 2021 season. Today we flip that coin over and dive into reasons for pessimism for the upcoming season. So here are 10 reasons why you should be worried about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Make sure to read the other story in the link below.
10. The AFC North is a stacked division
Let’s face it, the AFC North is no cake walk, it never is and seemingly this will be the toughest year to take the divisional crown since it was formed. The Ravens, Browns, and Steelers are all playoff hopefuls, and the Bengals look like a team ready to claw their way back up. Being mediocre isn't winning anyone this division, the team on top will be the one that is consistently good from beginning to the end.
9. Drops and missed tackles
The Steelers still have to prove drops and missed tackles won't be a theme for this year’s team. The Steelers can attribute a couple of their 2020 losses directly to dropped passes, and if it isn't cleaned up 2021 could be a long year. As good as the Steelers defense is, they have struggled getting guys to the ground for a couple years now. Both of these fundamentals need to be taken care of for the Steelers to find any success this year.
8. Massive free agent losses
The Steelers lost three starters on defense and two on offense to free agency, and they lost one player on defense and three on offense to retirement. This is a lot of turnover for an NFL team, and will require a lot of guys stepping up in replacement. The likelihood of all these replacement players being good is very low, and the Steelers will be reliant on them to be good in 2021.
7. The receivers are still immature
Whether or not you enjoy the receivers dances on social media, at the end of the day it is a distraction because the guys in the locker room will be asked about it ad nauseam. If the Steelers are losing games you can rest assured the group will be asked if dancing online will be the reason for it. It’s annoying and will unfortunately be a distraction for the team.
6. Toughest schedule in the league
The Steelers have a murders row of opponents in 2021. Not only are the up against the AFC North but they will face the likes of the Chiefs, Bills, Packers, Titans, Seahawks, and Chargers. If the Steelers are going to do anything this year they will have to prove themselves against most of the top teams in the league. This is the road the Steelers will be faced with, and there's no hiding from the challenge.
5. Holes in the secondary
The Steelers defense is still one of the best in the league. The problem is they still have two glaring holes at corner and at strong safety. While Edmunds, and Sutton/Pierre have their moments, they have been burned a lot in the past. These are the two spots on the defense opposition will target all game long, and the Steelers should still feel some pressure at upgrading at least one of these spots.
4. The offensive line is still an issue
The Steelers are bringing a new offensive line into the 2021 season. They could be a really solid unit, but if each players warts show it could be a long year. Chuks Okorafor is a fine tackle that isn't great at one specific thing, Kevin Dotson looks like he can and will be really solid but needs experience, Kendrick Green is undersized and needs some marinating time, Trai Turner is injury prone and has regressed, and Zach Banner struggles in pass pro. Could they overcome the issues? sure. But it’s more likely the flaws show up on game day.
3. This team can't win in the playoffs
Let’s face it the Steelers have struggled in the playoffs dating back to 2016. Until they can win in the playoffs it will be a talking point amongst fans and media alike. Getting out of a funk like this isn't an easy one, but a necessary step for the organization. The Steelers need to get to the dance and perform for the first time in a long time.
2. Ben Roethlisberger is another year older
Ben Roethlisberger looked bad down the stretch in 2020 and turned the ball over like crazy in the playoffs. If Ben continues to struggle he may be forced to the retirement home rather than riding off gracefully under his own power. We’ve seen Peyton Manning and Drew Brees completely fall off in the final year of their careers, and the Steelers can't afford that from Ben Roethlisberger.
1. Internal pressure for winning a title for Ben
At the end of the day it looks like the Steelers organization are making all the moves necessary to make this team as strong as possible to win one more ring with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm of the ship. Trying to win a ring for a legend on their way out is something we’ve seen a lot of teams try to do for their players over the years. But it adds a lot of pressure to the plates of the other guys to get it done. Only Ben himself knows what it takes to win a ring on this team, and adding more pressure to the other guys could form some cracks to form.
But what do you think? Are you an optimist or pessimist when it comes to the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.