This offseason, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan was revered as one of the NFL’s best decision-makers, with both his free-agent additions and draft-pick selections. Then, the Steelers blitzed through the preseason nearly flawlessly, with the first-team offense scoring a touchdown every time it took the field and the first-team defense never being scored against.
Did the combination of a well-regarded offseason and nearly flawless preseason cause many to think that the Steelers are farther along then they actually are entering the 2023 season?
Or was the season-opening blowout loss on Sunday more about the San Francisco 49ers just being that good, with Nick Bosa playing and looking like himself, the injury not slowing down George Kittle, and most importantly, Brock Purdy looking even better than he did before his 2022-ending UCL injury. While the Steelers struggled, the 49ers cemented themselves as Super Bowl contenders.
Or was it a third thing? Did we properly rate the Steelers, and they just played that much below their abilities in the season opener?
The WPXI Final Word panel of Jenna Harner, Alan Saunders, former NFL GM Doug Whaley and Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and 93.7 The Fan discussed the Steelers’ disastrous outing and what it means going forward. The panel also discussed Pitt’s loss to Cincinnati and quarterback Phil Jurkovec’s controversial comments about the fans, and looked ahead to the Backyard Brawl and the Steelers facing the Browns on Monday Night Football.
Lastly, Alan’s final word was about the lasting repercussions of Kenny Pickett’s struggles, and how they make any one loss pale in comparison to what a regression by the 2022 first-round pick might mean for the team going forward.