The Pittsburgh Steelers finished the 2022 season on a high note, but let’s not pretend everything was perfect. While the offense protected the football in the second half of the season, won more games, showed the ability for the dramatic play, and ran the ball better, they still failed to put touchdowns on the scoreboard.
Many fans thought this would spell the end for Matt Canada, but those fans were disappointed when the team announced they were retaining the play caller. After the season team president Art Rooney II told the organization’s reasoning behind retaining the coordinator.
“I think we’d like to see the improvement and you know, with a rookie quarterback, they seem to work well together.” Rooney told local media. “They built a good working relationship. And so to kind of sort of start over again with a new offensive coordinator, could wind up back in the same situation again, where the first half of the season you’re breaking into new coordinator, so, we just felt like there’s enough there to build on that, we want to continue to keep that group together.”
When this was made public over a week ago, Steelers social media landscapes were ignited with fans bemoaning the comments and decision made by Rooney. However, when asked what the offense needs to do better in 2023, Rooney didn’t mince words.
“Score more points,” Rooney said. “We talked about the areas of improvement and I think there are some good ones but you know, we didn’t score enough points. That’s the bottom line. And then in particular we were not great red zone efficiency. So I think you know, those are a couple things that I would identify that we clearly have to get better at.”
In 2022 the Steelers finished averaging 18.1 points per game, and that put them near the bottom of the list in the team rankings. A far cry from the NFL leading Kansas City Chiefs averaging 29.2 points per game.
To be more specific, even in the Steelers’ second half success they didn’t light up the scoreboard. Here is the breakdown of points scored after their Week 9 bye:
Week 10 vs. Saints: 20
Week 11 vs. Bengals: 30
Week 12 at Colts: 24
Week 13 at Falcons: 19
Week 14 vs. Ravens: 14
Week 15 at Panthers: 24
Week 16 vs. Raiders: 13
Week 17 at Ravens: 16
Week 18 vs. Browns: 28
During this stretch the Steelers offense averaged 20.8 points per game, an improvement on their regular season total, but is that good enough?
When Todd Haley was the offensive coordinator during the Killer B’s era, the goal was to score 30 points per game. I think most would agree that would be an unrealistic goal for the 2023 offense. If they hit that goal, there wouldn’t be complaints, and Canada would have far less detractors in a contract year.
But a 10 point per game bump in average is far from expected. So, what would be considered a realistic bar for the offense to reach? When you look at the teams who made the NFL Playoffs this past year, the low number was 23, in terms of points per game. Every team who made the playoffs averaged at least 23 points per game, or better. So, while many fans will demand 28 points per game, which would likely be setting up everyone on the offensive side of the ball for failure, maybe 23-24 points is a good starting point. And when you think of that jump in production, from 18 to 23, it would be a welcome sight to the Steelers faithful.
What say you? Let us know what you think in the comments section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the offseason.