The Steelers will head to training camp is a little bit over three weeks from now, but the team still has some questions to answer before then and the start of the season. What are a few of those questions that the team really has to hone in on and make sure they answer?
Can Matt Canada Keep the Offensive Momentum
This could be argued as the biggest question for the team as a whole right now. Matt Canada is a big concern to have if you are optimistic about this team’s season. The tape is not kind to him, and while the offensive struggles are far from just Canada’s fault, he has not done much to minimize the issues that the personnel brought to the table. However, the Steelers offense hit a stride after the bye week.
There is a clear formula for how this team should win. They need to run the ball efficiently and minimize turnovers. If they are not going to be elite in the air, which they should not be expected to really do with their personnel, then those need to be paramount. The question is if Canada can drive home that plan with an improved group up front and for his offense in general.
This is the best personnel that Canada will have on the offensive side of the football in his entire tenure. If things don’t click now, they probably just won’t under Canada. So, he remains the looming, biggest question, but the vision for this team seems clear. So, it’s Canada’s job to see it through.
What’s the Situation at Inside Linebacker
The Steelers have a weird inside linebacker situation right now. It has two clear starters for early downs. Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts should be a really quality run stopping duo. For a team that has struggled with consistent run defense there in recent years, they will be welcome. Mark Robinson might chip into that equation as well. However, coverage downs and obvious passing situations remain a question.
Roberts is simply not known for his coverage ability. Tanner Muse and Nick Kwiatkoski could factor into the equation here. For a dime linebacker, maybe Keanu Neal fits the bill for guys that could be there. But there is still the lack of a coverage specialist in this group in the case that Holcomb or Neal got injured.
It’s been the talk for the last month or so, but adding to this inside linebacker group again makes sense. It could be Kwon Alexander, Deion Jones, Reuben Foster, or someone completely different. But the truth remains that adding someone who you can trust in obvious coverage situations would be wise for this group.
Will Kenny Pickett Take the Leap
The one key point this entire offseason has revolved around is Steelers QB Kenny Pickett. For good reason, the team is hoping he can be the franchise quarterback of the future. Pickett cut down on his turnovers throughout the second half of last season and in turn, led Pittsburgh to a 7-2 record down the stretch. The stats are not flashy by any means, but it is not a stretch to say that Pickett’s development was linear in an encouraging fashion.
Now, the question is how the team builds upon that growth. Pickett’s work from in the pocket will need to improve. But he has clean mechanics with exciting off-script ability. There are already encouraging signs on the field and certainly off the field, as Pickett commands the locker room already.
But can the team get him to play from the pocket with greater consistency, and more with that, push the ball downfield while not compromising the offense with a spike in turnovers. Pickett is the key to this team’s future, and if he takes a modest leap, the Steelers should be a team to be reckoned with this year.