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David Carr: Mike Tomlin Will Lead Steelers to Playoffs Again in 2022

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Steelers HC Mike Tomlin

With Ben Roethlisberger not under center for the first time in 18 years, many are down on the trajectory of the Steelers’ 2022 season. The oddsmakers have the Steelers’ win total projected at over/under 7.5 wins and some even believe they’ll finish last in the division for the first time since 1988.

Former Texans quarterback and current analyst on the NFL Network, David Carr, doesn’t envision the Steelers falling off a cliff, however. Not under Mike Tomlin’s watch.

“Honestly, Mike Tomlin’s going to put together a playoff team,” Carr said during a recent segment on the NFL Network. “The quarterbacks, it’s been a revolving door even when Ben was there. Sometimes he was in and out of the lineup, and they still found a way to win games. So, I’m not nervous about his defense and what they’re going to put together.”

While there’s some angst with life after Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin even said as much on an appearance on The Pivot Podcast this week, Carr thinks the Steelers are actually better off at the quarterback position this year.

“These quarterbacks (are) where it’s at really because if you can get just a little more consistency, just keep the guys on the field,” Carr said. “Like, Mitchell Trubisky is interesting to me because he didn’t have really what he wanted as far as the start of his career in Chicago. Then he goes to Buffalo and he plays pretty good with a good quarterback coach, a good play-caller and a good team. So, now it’s kind of like let’s bet on yourself a little bit.

“He’s getting the first-team reps in camp. He’s played pretty well so far in the spring, I get it. But I like his chances, and then with Kenny Pickett behind him learning. Kenny’s great, he doesn’t have necessarily the big arm. Like, he doesn’t have the Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen just kind of wow you with the shorts on. But what he does, he throws with great anticipation. When I watch him play, it’s never too big of a moment for him. Even the fake slide for me, like that, shows me a lot. He’s not ever in a moment where the game is out of control. And that’s going to be perfect for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think their fans are going to love him when he gets his turn. Hopefully, Mitchell is the starting quarterback and they don’t have to worry about it for a while. But I think they are in a better situation honestly right now than they were last year with an aging Ben Roethlisberger.”

Despite signing center Mason Cole and guard James Daniels in free agency, Cynthia Frelund thinks the Steelers didn’t do enough to address the offensive line and that could hinder them this season.

“Last season this O-line ranked 28th, that’s not good,” Frelund said during the segment. “And they didn’t really address too much of it in that redistribution of the money that Coach Tomlin talked about. “But, I will say that Ben Roethlisberger did get the ball out very, very quickly. They now have some more tape on Najee Harris. So, there will be an opportunity to create a different look. And perhaps, I’m being positive here, some of the offensive linemen can work better maybe with a little bit different scheme. But it’s still a big problem.”

With a non-mobile Roethlisberger last season, Matt Canada really didn’t get an opportunity to run his offense. Canada has complete control now and has the proper personnel to work with in Trubisky and Pickett, especially in regards to play-action and bootlegs. Carr thinks a stout defense coupled with a robust rushing attack will propel the Steelers to the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

“Mike Tomlin has historically always put together a great defense,” Carr said. “And, I think kind of to both of your points, the run game that you’re talking about with Matt Canada and Mitchell Trubisky and with that offensive line. What helps an offensive line that is shaky is a good run game. And maybe a run game that puts a little bit pressure and takes one of those defensive ends away and puts him in kind of a read-option scenario where you got to think a little bit. I think that could definitely help their offense go. Run the clock a little bit more, play great defense, get some turnovers (and) their back in the playoffs.”

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