The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the most dynamic offenses in the National Football League. Just look at the players they have at their skill positions:
QB — Ben Roethlisberger
WR1 — Antonio Brown
WR2 — Martavis Bryant
WR3 — Eli Rogers / JuJu Smith-Schuster
RB — Le’Veon Bell
OL — One of the best in the NFL
Those players alone, not to mention the weapons they could have behind Bell at running back, and at tight end, should be enough for the offense to reach all their goals, but they haven’t.
The past two seasons, Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley have set a very lofty goal for the offense, and that is averaging 30 points per game at season’s end.
In 2015, they ranked third in the league with 26.4 points per game. Only the Arizona Cardinals averaged over 30 a game that year. In 2016, the Steelers tied for 10th with 24.9 points per game, with only the Atlanta Falcons putting up over 30 points per game.
It isn’t easy. It takes a lot to go right for such a lofty goal to be achieved, and I have narrowed it down to 4 things.
1. The Offensive Line
Nothing happens in the pass or run game without the hogs in the trenches. If this unit, which is considered one of the absolute best in the league, can keep Roethlisberger clean, and give Bell just a sliver of daylight, this is Step No. 1 for the success of the offense.
2. Big Ben
Yes Le’Veon Bell is arguably the most dynamic offensive player, but Roethlisberger is still the straw which stirs the Steelers’ offensive drink. In 2016, Roethlisberger was good, but he certainly wasn’t great. There were a lot of things which could be improved upon, and protecting the ball certainly is one of them. Roethlisberger can make this offense second-to-none, but he will have to be better in 2017.
The Steelers ranked 16th in offensive red-zone efficiency in 2016, and that number simply isn’t good enough if the offense wants to not just reach their goal, but also be considered one of the best units in the league. With everyone finally back, talking to you Martavis, this offense should certainly improve in the red-zone, and the less you see Chris Boswell attempting field goals, the better.
This could be all four reasons to some, but the health of the team is absolutely paramount. Think about the offensive line if there are a couple key injuries there. Look at the fact Le’Veon Bell hasn’t played a full season since he was drafted, and Roethlisberger has only played in three complete seasons since being drafted in 2004. If this team can stay healthy, they can beat anyone, but if they can’t, they are as beatable as anyone.
I talk about this more in-depth on the latest Steelers Connection podcast. You can hear the podcast HERE. You can also listen to the show by accessing it through the player below: