Mike Tomlin Guarantees Steelers Identity Will be Smash Mouth Football
PHOENIX — The Steelers embraced a running game that led them to a 7-2 finish down the stretch of the 2022 finish and nearly put them in the playoffs. However, that did not mean it was guaranteed to continue in 2023.
But Mike Tomlin shut down most of that speculation on Sunday. Tomlin spoke to the media at length, and one of the answers was clear. After adding three offensive linemen in free agency, the Steelers seem to be committing to the ground game as their identity.
Not only that, it can help Kenny Pickett in his development. Tomlin embraced that when asked about the team’s rushing attack, and revealed that very mentality should be expected to continue moving forward.
“I think a sound running game aids quarterbacks, particularly young quarterbacks,” Tomlin said. “I don’t think we’re bashful about our intentions there. We won’t be moving forward.”
As the running game in the NFL moves more towards normality, teams might try to counteract that. But the Steelers see that continuing with quarterback mobility skyrocketing in the NFL. Tomlin referenced that very thing when discussing where Pittsburgh will go with their draft plans.
“I think rushing was probably at a 25-year high in terms of yards and yards per. Quarterback mobility has a component,” Tomlin said. “I’m sure there’s a myriad of reasons that kind of outline that. But the one that sticks out to you is the uptick in rushing. And so, passing down and rushing up, it’s a reasonable discussion.”
So, expect Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren to be busy behind a newly built Steelers interior offensive line. It should help Kenny Pickett in his second year in the Matt Canada system. Whether it ends up being successful remains to be seen but plenty of teams like the Eagles, Lions, and 49ers have found success with the run-heavy approach.