Here we are, the day of the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason finale and many fans are concerned about the 2022 product.
I get it, but what happened between this offseason and now?
That stupid Seattle Seahawks game happened in Week 1, that’s what happened.
Leading into the preseason, the most level-headed Steelers fans knew this team was far from a finished product. The new faces, whether they be free agent acquisitions or 2022 NFL Draft picks, could take time to develop — if they did at all. When you are talking about free agents, you have to remember the team who had employed them prior typically is okay with them leaving, unless you outbid everyone else, hello Jacksonville Jaguars and Christian Kirk. And as every NFL team knows with the draft, not every pick is guaranteed to pan out, hello Jarvis Jones and Senquez Golson.
There was so much turnaround this offseason, most fans expected not just bumps in the road, but potential pot holes.
Then that Week 1 preseason game happened, and things changed. 32 points scored, every quarterback putting together a scoring drive and running the ball better than fans have seen since Le’Veon Bell was in the backfield. Sure, that same game saw the rush defense surrender over 150 yards on the ground, but there were so many players missing it was brushed under the rug.
That game alone changed expectations for this team, and I wasn’t shocked it happened in this way. But if you think about it, this team so far has been as advertised. There are going to be ups and downs throughout the season, and some of those ups will look fantastic (Week 1 preseason game scoring 32 points) while others will look downright dreadful (Week 2 preseason game barely being able to move the ball).
If there is any hope for this season, it is somehow finding a way to limit these peaks and valleys. To play more even keel. To find some semblance of consistency. Then, and only then, will this team be as competitive as many believed they could be when they watched Mitch Trubisky orchestrate an opening drive touchdown in Acrisure Stadium, Mason Rudolph hit George Pickens with a beautiful pitch and catch and Kenny Pickett look like the next “guy” for the offense.
Will this team be able to achieve this goal? The game vs. the Detroit Lions today at 4:30pm ET will be a big step for the team. They have game planned for the Lions as if it were a regular season game. When this amount of focus on the details and overall plan has been put in place, you hope to see results.
Until kickoff today, this team has been as advertised, in my opinion. No preseason game, good or bad, will ultimately sway my opinion of the team until the real games start to count. But in the meantime, a good performance vs. Detroit will certainly help their public relations cause heading into the Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.