Through the first eight games of the 2022 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers were an abysmal 2-6. Easily playing some of the worst football in the league and staring down a losing season.
But Pittsburgh found a way to turn things around during the bye week and went 7-2 down the stretch, nearly making the playoffs. How did they turn it around? We will dig into that later but for now let’s ponder why things went so wrong.
Being unsettled at quarterback
The old saying goes if you have two starting quarterbacks you don’t have one. This is what happened with the Steelers. The coaches got too caught up in the idea of needing to play veteran Mitch Trubisky at the start of the season and didn’t have confidence in Kenny Pickett. This cost the Steelers valuable opportunities to win games.
Failing to prepare at left tackle
The Steelers coaches seriously mishandled the left tackle position by not upgrading over Dan Moore and not planning for Zach Banner not being on the team. It was Moore or nothing and this really hurt the Steelers while the rest of the unit continued to improve.
Lack of depth on defense
This was particularly true at outside linebacker and along the defensive line. The line finally started to come together later in the season but the lack of depth behind Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt stood out like a sore thumb when Watt went on IR.
Mike Tomlin trusting Matt Canada
This is a big one. Year two of Matt Canada as the offensive coordinator netted no growth at all. During the first half of the season, Canada was grasping at straws to try and manufacture yards and points when the pieces were all in place.
Failing to recognize Jaylen Warren's talent
This one falls squarely on the shoulders of head coach Mike Tomlin. Tomlin has always been stubborn in his belief that a running game needs a single workhorse back. This kept budding young star Jaylen Warren on the sidelines for far too long. Once Tomlin let go of that notion, the run game flourished with Warren and Najee Harris.