The Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled throughout the first three games of the regular season, but no unit has struggled worse than the team’s offense. Stacked with offensive superstars, the offense has underperformed in every sense of the word.
Horrible on 3rd downs, lackluster in the red-zone, and an overall sense of disconnect has been the dominant variable as they enter the Week 4 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
While some fans have almost thrown in the towel on the offense, and Todd Haley, there is a reason the team shouldn’t give up hope just yet. After all, the team DOES have a boat load of talent on offense, and if they can find a recipe for success, they could be one of the most dominant units in the league.
They are miles away from this expectation currently, but there could be hope in the future. How can they get back on track? I give you 4 keys to get the offense back on track, sooner than later.
The Steelers are at their best when they are balanced between run and pass. Throughout the first three games, they have come out with either pass-happy concepts, or run-heavy looks. It is time for Haley and Ben Roethlisberger to start entering the games with more run/pass options to maximize their success, but also to make sure the defense can’t overload one or the other.
Spread the Love
Antonio Brown has 36 targets through three games. The next on the list? Martavis Bryant with 18. Roethlisberger needs to really utilize all of his receivers, and not zone-in on Brown as much as he has been, something he admitted to doing this week. If he hits Jesse James, Eli Rogers, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Bryant early, it will force the defense to relax their coverage on Brown, and Le’Veon Bell out of the backfield.
Keep it Simple
Maybe it is just me, but it seems as if the Steelers offense is almost out-thinking themselves sometimes. Roethlisberger is a 14-year veteran, and is capable of reading the defense and taking what they give him. If they load the box, throw it, if they are playing soft in the secondary, run the ball with the “lighter” look. Keeping it simple is what Tom Brady does to give him tremendous success. Read the defense, get the matchup you want and exploit it. The Steelers have a unit to do this, yet they haven’t accomplished it yet.
Todd Haley is a scapegoat for many fans, and although I never think coaches deserve all of the blame, his play calling has been sketchy recently. With that said, the Steelers should lean more on their no huddle offense for multiple reasons. First, the team can then put more of the play calling in Roethlisberger’s hands, and also take advantage of a defense who cannot substitute. Brady and Peyton Manning make a living off of this, and again, the Steelers could do the same.
For an offense as talented as Pittsburgh’s there is no reason why they shouldn’t be moving the ball better, and also putting up more points. If you noticed, the above keys are not rocket science. It is just playing smarter football.
I spend more time going in-depth on these in the latest Steelers Connection podcast above. It is about 20 minutes long, and this episode is one you will certainly enjoy. Please give it a listen!