The Weekly Reed: Don’t count out the Pittsburgh Steelers 


It’s been a while since the NFL season ended and with the draft coming up, it’s just getting me even more excited for this fall. With all that being said, I think this is going to be the most biased article I have ever written during my short tenure with the paper. I grew up a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and I’m fascinated by this roster they’re building right now. 

Let’s start off with a little review of the past couple seasons. Steelers long-time quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retired, which led to the team grabbing Kenny Pickett from Pitt as his replacement in the draft. They’ve drafted talented options in Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, Pat Freiermuth and George Pickens on the offense. Defensively, they have players such as T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick, who are constantly causing disruptions for their opponents. Watt is a force to be reckoned with, consistently in the top three for defensive player of the year recognition and even winning the award in 2021. From 2017 to 2021, the Steelers led the league every season in sacks and tied for first in 2022 for most interceptions with 20. The team is led by coach Mike Tomlin, who, with a 9-8 record in 2022, extended his streak to 15 straight seasons with a record of .500 or better. That stretch included a 2019 season in which most of the games were played by quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and Delvin “Duck” Hodges.  

The team has such a rich history, but lately they’ve had some disappointing results. Last season, Pittsburgh finished third in their division and didn’t even qualify for the playoffs. The season beforehand they got blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs 42-21, a year after they lost a gut-wrenching game to their division rival Cleveland by 11 points. Pittsburgh has six Super Bowl championships, two since 2005, with their last in 2008. They made it back to the big game in 2010 but lost to Green Bay in the title game. 

So why am I excited about this coming season? Bear with me. 

Najee Harris just had back-to-back 1,000 rushing yard seasons. Kenny Pickett had one interception in the last eight games and just looked a lot more comfortable running the offense. George Pickens is a human highlight reel that brings energy to the team. Pittsburgh won six of their last seven games to climb back into the playoff picture and made it at least interesting before sadly getting knocked out.  

Their offensive line, while better than 2021, still wasn’t great so they added Nate Herbig and Isaac Seumalo as reinforcements. The secondary lost Cam Sutton, who signed with the Detroit Lions, so the team then signed veteran Patrick Peterson. They cut ties with former first round pick Devin Bush who hasn’t been the same since tearing his ACL in the 2020 season. Robert Spillane had played a key part in the Steelers defense left and signed with Las Vegas leaving a hole at the linebacker position. Pittsburgh brought in linebackers Elandon Roberts (Dolphins) and Cole Holcomb (Commanders) as their replacements. When safety Terrell Edmunds left for in-state rival Philadelphia, Pittsburgh went out and signed Keanu Neal while re-signing Damontae Kazee. Every loss they’ve taken, the team has gone out and gotten better. 

It may be pretty cliché, but we have to wait to see who they draft. The cornerback position seems weak to me with the aforementioned Peterson signing being their only move to solidify that area. While they grabbed two offensive linemen, that is always a position where you can never have too much talent. This is one of the first times in a while that I feel confident they will make the right decisions. After a few years where the first-round draft choices didn’t pan out, it’s great to see how well Najee Harris has played and seeing potential in Kenny Pickett. Grabbing a lineman and a cornerback in the draft could make this team even more dangerous. 

This team was finding their stride towards the end of the season, and now their young stars have some experience under their belts. Coach Tomlin always seems to find a way to rally his team together, and now that they had their first year without Ben Roethlisberger to work out the kinks, it’s time for them to kick it into the next gear. 

This is the first year since they had the Killer B’s that I’m thrilled to get to watch Steelers football. Depth appears to be solid; the team is spending money on quality players and has young stars all over the field. The pieces are there for them to be successful, especially with Lamar Jackson requesting to leave Baltimore. I don’t think they will win the Super Bowl; I don’t even think they will make the Super Bowl this year, but at this moment I feel that the team has taken a solid stride forward and can compete come playoff time next season. 


  1. Until they are able to get a nose ta kle who can cause serious disruption up the middle, the ILBs and safeties have to do too much in coverage to be successful against a good/smart QB.

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