Expectations were tempered for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022. The retirement of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger brought about a rebuild on offense and venturing into the unknown. The defense dealt with some injuries but rallied late to almost get the Steelers into the playoffs. Here are our big takeaways from the season.
The future is bright with Kenny Pickett
The numbers might not have been gaudy but in his rookie season, Kenny Pickett gave a very strong impression that he can be the quarterback to lead this team back to the playoffs. Pickett went 7-5 as a start but it was the 5-1 stretch in the final six games of the season and two game-winning drives in those games that really makes you wonder just how
The two-headed monster at running back works
Aside from Kenny Pickett, there was nothing more refreshing about the Steelers offense in 2022 than seeing head coach Mike Tomlin finally decide that using two running backs makes the rushing offense better. The two-headed monster of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren are a perfect combo of thunder and lightning, explosion and power and is the best thing a young up-and-coming quarterback could want.
Is the offensive line good enough?
At the start of the season, it looked like Pittsburgh was going to have to completely gut the offensive line at the end of the season. But by the time the season wrapped up, this group had gelled and was playing some really good football. But it wasn’t good enough. This is why the Steelers still need to upgrade left tackle and possibly left guard as well.
T.J. Watt doesn't need to get sacks to make the defense better
The Steelers defense took a huge hit when linebacker T.J. Watt went down for seven games with a torn pectoral. But more than his lack of individual production, it was his ability to influence the production of his teammates that became evident. Watt had his worst season as a pro statistically but was still the most valuable player on the defense.
Wasted talent at cornerback
The Steelers hit when they signed Levi Wallace as a free agent but had two huge misses with Ahkello Witherspoon and William Jackson III. Witherspoon got a new contract from Pittsburgh and proceeded to miss almost the entire year with a hamstring injury. Then the Steelers traded for Jackson only to have him never play a snap.
The Matt Canada situation
Now that we know Matt Canada is returning as offensive coordinator it is time to sort out just what this offense can do with him in charge. Last season for the first half the offense looked lost. Clearly, there was a problem with the gameplan and playcalling and that falls on Canada. But if you are going to blame Canada for the bad, don’t you have to give him credit for the turnaround?