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Steelers Week 4 mailbag: Why don’t the Steelers play their rookies?

Answering all your questions ahead of the Steelers’ matchup with the Houston Texans.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Las Vegas Raiders Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Steelers try to get to 3-1 on the year, let’s dive into your questions going into Week 4.

Q: Why do the Steelers have a problem playing/starting rookies? And if they don’t play them much because they aren’t ready, why aren’t they ready? Look at the Lions for example. Gibbs, LaPorta, Campbell, and Branch all are either starting or contributing in big ways.

Fantastic point on the Lions’ draft class this season. I wish I had the answer for why the Steelers are the way they are when it comes to their rookies. Keeanu Benton looks ready, he shouldn’t be a rotational guy anymore, he should start. We all seem to agree that Joey Porter Jr. should start, and it also feels like Broderick Jones should take over for Dan Moore. I wish I had they answers for the Steelers being so hesitant on rookies.

Q: Will Najee Harris eclipse 100 yards against the Texans?- Seth D.

He’ll have his easiest test thus far when it comes to run defenses. The Texans are 28th in Rush EPA defensively. For comparison, the Raiders are 21st and the Browns are second. If the Steelers get out to an early lead and are have some success running, this could be Najee’s first 100 yard game of the year?

Q: The Steelers always have that one game that they blow during the season. Could this be that game? Ethan L.

It wouldn’t surprise me. They are on the road after an elongated flight back home, and they are playing a Texans team that has a solid roster with a balance of veteran prowess and young rising talents. C.J. Stroud has looked fantastic and has protected the ball very well, especially for a rookie.

Q: Is last Sunday going to be an outlier for the offense, or do we see them continue to get better?- Dillon S.

I’d like to be optimistic and think this is a sign of things to come, but I have to continue to see it to believe it. We all thought the preseason was a tell-tale sign that the offense would be better and it wasn’t. If this continues for another two weeks, then I’ll start to believe.

Q: Is there really a world where the Steelers trade for Jonathan Taylor?- Seth D.

I think so. I don’t think they are the team that ultimately does it, but I could see them being interested and making the call. They have a quarterback on a rookie contract. Building around that with as much talent as possible is a smart move. Taylor is one of the five best running backs in the league when healthy. It makes sense.