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After Further Review: Thoughts of the Steelers’ future abound

The Pittsburgh Steelers go into their bye week with a 2-6 record, and it’s natural for fans to start looking ahead to the future.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were embarrassed on Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles beat them down 35-13 in Week 8. Following the game there were plenty of knee jerk reactions to appease the team’s global fan base. But what I thought I’d do this week, and maybe again moving forward, was to take a more level-headed approach after the dust settled on the game.

No emotions, just thoughts as the Steelers turn their attention to a much needed week off in Week 9. Here is my “after further review” from the Steelers Week 8 loss:

Thoughts of the future abound, and it’s okay

If you are talking to certain Steelers fans, they don’t want to hear anything about potential talk of the future. No, they only want to focus on the 2022 season. I get it, I really do, but I also understand this team is not a championship team this season. Therefore, it is possible to look at the Chase Claypool and Chicago Bears trade and get excited. The 2023 2nd Round pick will be extremely valuable to the organization’s future. Thinking this way isn’t wrong, it’s just logical.

It’s possible to look to the future, while still rooting for wins in 2022

Many fans want the higher draft pick in 2023, and I can see how many draftniks want nothing more than to see the Steelers get a Top 5 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The other side of the fence are fans who are going to root for wins this season, no matter what. What if you can have it both ways? What if you want the Steelers to win every week, but if they lose you have the solace, or silver lining, of the higher draft choice. It’s difficult, but this fine line can be walked on a weekly basis.

Plenty to play for in the final 9 games

For anyone who believes there is nothing to play for in the final nine games of the regular season, I have to disagree with you. The Steelers, especially the young offense, needs to see success. Success in the form of scoring more than 20 points. Getting Kenny Pickett a game where he starts and walks off the field at the end of the game a winner. On top of that, the defense rounding into form and becoming a force for the remainder of the regular season. I could go on, but I think you get it...there’s still a lot to play for no matter their record heading into the bye.

The bye week came at a good time

Someone once said, there is no such thing as a bad bye week, and I believe in that sentiment. But for the Steelers, as it pertains to their current injury situation, this bye week came at a great time. When you consider getting players like Larry Ogunjobi, T.J. Watt, Damontae Kazee and Levi Wallace back, potentially, after the break is a welcome sight for the Steelers. On top of that, it should give the offense, and the offensive staff, to figure out a plan which best suits their personnel. The hope is the Steelers look vastly different coming out of the bye week compared to going into the week off.

Steelers team meetings before the bye could be helpful

There were reports of the Steelers offense and defense having some “airing of grievances” meetings before players left to go on their way for the 4-day break. This can only help as the team moves forward. When you are talking about a 2-6 record, being beaten down by the Eagles the last time they took the field, and reports of in-fighting going on throughout the season can start to boil over. There are times when you need to sit down and hash it out. That is reportedly what happened before the players left, and it should be considered a good thing. After all, it couldn’t get any worse, right?

Can’t help but wondering if this entire season has been mismanaged

Heading into the bye week it makes you wonder if the team, mainly the quarterback position, has been mismanaged from Day 1. The Steelers put Mitch Trubisky as the QB1 from Day 1, and then to turn the keys over to Kenny Pickett at halftime of Week 4 just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Pickett was relegated to mainly QB3 duties throughout training camp and preseason, and then being thrust into the starting lineup to try and learn on the fly, gain chemistry with his teammates and understand the NFL game speed seems to be odd. With the extra time off this week, the hope is Pickett returns to the lineup after the bye better equipped than when he entered the lineup midway through the Jets game.

No tanking, seeing success is important

For those who are out there praying for the Steelers to lose, or tank, understand that’s just a fan thing. The players and coaches who are playing/coaching for their professional lives can’t fathom losing intentionally. Like I said earlier, it could be viewed as a silver lining to things, but it ultimately the team will be looking to win as much as possible in the last nine games. On top of the fact, the Steelers should hope to end this season, assuming it doesn’t result in a playoff berth, on a high note to hopefully springboard them into the 2023 offseason.

Philadelphia and Buffalo games are examples of talent gap

The other day I was driving to work and was thinking about the Steelers’ worst performances of the season. It just so happens they were against the NFL’s two top teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills. When you saw the Steelers play these games, the talent gap between the two teams was beyond noticeable. This is one of the reasons why the Steelers were willing to ship Chase Claypool away for the 2nd Round pick. At some point you have to start realizing who you really are, and what will be necessary to narrow that talent gap in seasons to come.

Enjoy the bye week!

It’s been a stressful start to the season for the Steelers and their fan base. Enjoy the weekend without that stress and frustration. I know I will.

So, after further review, the Steelers are in a really bad place right now. Will they bounce back vs. the New Orleans Saints at Acrisure Stadium in Week 10? Let’s hope for this’s also under review.