On the most recent episode of The Scho Bro Show podcast, Big Bro Scho and I each gave our top five biggest unknowns for the Steelers headed into the 2023 season. With the most obvious answer being potential injuries and game time missed, the idea of future injuries was taken off the table as a possibility. Otherwise, any unknown question we had which could be answered in training camp, Week 1, later in the season, or possibly not ever truly known were on the table.
To give an example of what we were looking at, one idea that didn’t make either list but is an interesting question is if there has been enough significant improvement in Kendrick Green for him to be a viable option as the backup center. With the Steelers having no players missing a game on the offensive line last year, Kendrick Green was never in uniform to see if there was any improvement. Now making the move back to being primarily a center, is there still potential for him to be a viable backup? Since we haven’t seen it, we won’t have the possibility to get this answer until training camp.
Coming up with our list independent of each other, here’s how it went for both Big Bro and myself. Although we overlapped on certain topics, the specifics for each one were slightly different.
Big Bro Scho:
5. Does Omar Khan have one more ace up his sleeve?
4. What will be the starting offensive line combo?
3. Will T.J. Watt get back to being T.J. Watt?
2. Who is the coverage inside linebacker?
1. Can Kenny Pickett make a significant second-year jump?
To summarize Big Bro’s list, his first item was in regards to the Steelers making another addition to the roster this offseason or throughout the preseason. While we both had questions about the offensive line, Big Bro went very general in asking about the starting lineup. the question for T.J. Watt was not off-limits because it was dealing with a past injury and if the T.J. Watt that is on the field in 2023 will be more in line with what fans saw in 2021. While we both had questions about inside linebacker, Big Bro topped his list with looking for a significant improvement from Kenny Pickett in his second year. Not only is it if there is improvement with Pickett, but also at what point of the season it could be seen.
Now for my list...
5. Can Calvin Austin III be the Steelers kick returner?
4. Is Broderick Jones ready?
3. What version of Patrick Peterson are the Steelers getting?
2. Who is dictating the Steelers offensive philosophy?
1. What’s the plan at inside linebacker?
From my list, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about Calvin Austin as a potential kick returner but yet I don’t know if that’s even something the Steelers are looking to have him do. He’s just such an unknown at this time. Broderick Jones has all the physical attributes and athleticism of a left tackle, but is he ready to step in right away? When it comes to the Patrick Peterson question, he is about to turn 33 years old and is with a new team and he is looking to fill in at multiple positions. Will a change in scenery and other players on the defense help his play over the other factors that could bring it down?
The number two item on my list is based on a recent episode of Jeff Hartman‘s Let’s Ride podcast. Is the Steelers offensive philosophy dictated by Matt Canada or is it simply what either Mike Tomlin or Art Rooney wants to do and Canada has to fit his system into their philosophies? This is one of those questions that may never be answered precisely. And to top off my list, I simply wish I had a better idea of the Steelers plan at inside linebacker. Are they going to be using more safeties in coverage or do they have one of their linebackers in mind? Is the completely revamped room going to be doing things similar to last season or will it be a totally different look? I’m really excited for training camp to try to get a better answer to this question.
So what do you see as the biggest unknown headed into the Steelers 2023 season? Did either of our lists get them fairly close? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below.
To hear the complete discussion, check out The Scho Bro Show podcast below: