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 return to being a Top 10 team in takeaways
Why it will happen: As most NFL fans know, takeaways, or turnovers, come in bunches. The 2021 Steelers experienced this in a big way. For the vast majority of the season, mainly without Joe Haden available, the team couldn’t buy a turnover. Not a fumble recovery or interception. However, the defense started to find their way towards the end of the season with the emergence of Ahkello Witherspoon.
It is ridiculously difficult to predict turnovers/takeaways, but last season the team finished T-14 in takeaways with 22 (13 INTs / 9 FR) and it seemed they may have found something with their defensive secondary. Throw in the fact the 2022 Steelers defense shouldn’t have to rely on Minkah Fitzpatrick as a primary run-stopper and the Steelers defense should be able to do some new, and beneficial, things in the secondary to put their defenders in position to take the football away at a higher clip than in 2021.
Why it won’t happen: The 2021 Steelers were anchored by Joe Haden, and with Haden not likely to return in 2022 you have to wonder if the Steelers’ secondary will be able to find a combination of defensive backs who are capable of getting the job done.
- Will Ahkello Witherspoon pick up where he left off?
- How will Cam Sutton impact the secondary?
- Levi Wallace being added to the defense will improve the group, but will it increase their takeaway production?
All of these questions, and more, make it very possible the 2022 defense stays where they are, middle of the pack, or even takes a step backwards due to the fact you can’t predict these types of plays.
Prediction: The Steelers’ defense should be improved in 2022, mainly in the rush defense category. When you add how it is likely the pass rush will have another 50+ sacks and the pressure will be put on the opposition to make plays in less-than-ideal situations. It then comes down to whether or not the Steelers have the playmakers to take the ball away. Witherspoon has proven he can, Fitzpatrick has more than proven he can and Sutton also can take the ball away when it is presented to him. For all of this, and more, I think the Steelers will not only improve their takeaway statistics in 2022, but will find themselves in the Top 10 in the defensive category this year.
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.