The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2022 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp back at St. Vincent College in order to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.
It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.
Let’s get to the scenario...
Scenario: The Steelers will continue their streak of 50+ sacks in a season
Why it will happen: When looking at the numbers, a team needs to average three sacks a game in order to get to 50 on the season now that there are 17 contests each year. With the added game, it gives the Steelers a better chance. Plus, the streak began in 2017 and is currently at five years. What else began in 2017? That would be the career of 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt. With the Steelers having a knack of getting to the quarterback from all kinds of places, the question isn’t if they will reach 50 sacks for a sixth-straight season, it’s will they reach 60 sacks for the first time in franchise history.
Why it won’t happen: While 2017 did see the arrival of T.J. Watt to the Steelers defense, it also came with the addition of cornerback and Joe Haden. With better defense in the secondary, the Steelers have been able to have more confidence in their pass rush as they have been better equipped to defend the pass. With Joe Haden not currently on the Steelers roster, and the fact that father time was catching up with him anyway, there are some question marks with the Steelers cornerbacks going into 2022. Will the Steelers secondary hold up enough to give the players on the defensive front the time to get to the quarterback this season?
Additionally, the Steelers also have a new defensive coordinator in 2022. The retirement of Keith Butler should not be taken for granted as he could dial up blitz packages and pressure schemes as good as anyone. Will the Steelers still be able to get the same pressure without their former coordinator?
Prediction: Being the eternal optimist, I will once again agree with this scenario. I am in the camp that one would think the Steelers are closer to the 60-sack threshold than they are falling under 50. The additional game helps, and looking at the Steelers defensive front it seems to be improved from 2021.
While some people may dismiss the Keith Butler factor, it is a concern. It’s not that things will be worse, especially with Brian Flores stepping up to coach the linebackers, but things will be different. Will the emphasis still be on pressuring the quarterback? I believe it will. Why would the Steelers not look to utilize their strength of not only having their best defensive player, but the best defensive player in the league last season who is an expert pass rusher.
As much as I would like to see the Steelers hit 60 this year, I’m going to set my number at 57. This would be a franchise record for the Steelers as they reached 56 sacks in both 2020 and 2017.
Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2022 regular season.