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For Kenny Pickett and the Steelers offense, 2023 is all about management

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense in 2022 struggled to score points. Yes, they developed a formula which they feel can be successful. Controlling the pace of the game, dominating time of possession and limiting turnovers. It was successful as the Steelers went 7-2 down the stretch of last season; however, the one area the Steelers struggled was scoring points.

Last season the Steelers averaged just 18.1 points per game, near the bottom of the league, and heading into 2023 the talk isn’t about cutting it loose, but managing situations.

“You can ‘manage’ on third down,” Mike Sullivan, the Steelers QB coach, maintained. “You can ‘manage’ in the red zone. You certainly can’t ‘manage’ in two-minute.”

This likely isn’t what the Steelers global fan base wants to hear. They don’t want to hear about Kenny Pickett potentially being handcuffed to conservative standards. However, a part of it is simply part of the process, at least with the Steelers.

“There are always going to be guidelines or parameters, if you will, in terms of a game where, ‘You know what? This is a really great (opposing) offense, we’re gonna have to keep pace,’ so to speak,” Sullivan explained. “Or maybe, ‘This is an offense which we know our defense is matching up well against, and maybe our emphasis is maybe more ball-control oriented.’

“All these things are discussions that start with Coach (Mike) Tomlin and the directions that he gives us offensively through (offensive coordinator) Matt (Canada) moving forward.”

As for Pickett, he sees the ability to do both control the tempo of the game, and being able to exchange blows with other high-powered offenses is key.

“Absolutely,” he insisted. “We have that ability. We have the guys on the outside. We have the guys in the backfield and up front. We have everything in place. If we go execute we’ll be able to go shot for shot with those guys, and that’s the goal.

“Those teams that are playing into February, they have that and that’s what we need to get to.”

Regardless of how it happens, the Steelers will have to do better in 2023, as it pertains to scoring points. 18.1 isn’t going to cut it, just like it didn’t last season as the Steelers missed the playoffs. What is a good average, in terms of points per game? That’s debatable, but I believe all Steelers fans can agree last season wasn’t good enough.