The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team dealing with a great deal of turnover on the offensive side of the ball. Gone is Ben Roethlisberger after a storied 18-year career, and with Roethlisberger’s departure ushers in a new era of Steelers football.
Regardless of who is at the quarterback position in 2022, the Steelers would be wise to build around some of the core pieces they have who are known commodities in the league. Some of those pieces would be:
- TE Pat Freiermuth
- RB Najee Harris
- WR Diontae Johnson
- OL James Daniels
Two of those aforementioned players are not just in the top tier at their position, but also at another key offensive metric — breaking tackles.
According to Football Outsiders, Pittsburgh led all offenses with 162 broken tackles last season. This simple statistic is astounding on many levels, but when you look at the individuals who broke the most tackles, the Steelers had two who were either at the top, or near it, at their respective positions.
Football Outsiders points out Najee Harris led the league with 87 broken tackles in 2022, while Diontae Johnson finished second among wide receivers with 28.
Looking at Najee Harris’ numbers, Steelers fans know exactly why his broken tackle number is so high, and it is because the Steelers’ offensive line in 2021 was less than stellar, and that’s being nice. Harris often had to elude multiple would-be tacklers just to get back to the line of scrimmage for no gain, or minimal yardage on the run.
For Johnson, the Steelers loved to get him the football in space, and he proved time and time again he is dangerous in that setting. Fans love to bring up the drops, which decreased in 2021, but often don’t bring up how elusive he is when given the chance to make a play with the football in his hands.
Either way, the Steelers have a pair of playmakers on their hands for the 2022 season, and would be wise to utilize these players, and their attributes, to their advantage. The hope for Harris is he is breaking tackles beyond the line of scrimmage, and not behind it. For Johnson, finding creative ways to scheme him open and get him in those settings where he can do dangerous things in the open field.
If Matt Canada can get the offense to this point, the Steelers might be on their way to having some serious offensive success in 2022, and likely beyond.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare to report for training camp on July 26th at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.