Last night, in an event full of pomp and circumstance, the NFL has released its 2020 schedule.
Now it’s time for speculation and way-too-early judgments on which teams will be better, or worse, than last season’s records would indicate.
Despite opening the season on the road for the sixth straight season, the Steelers will get to play the relatively weak NFC East and the AFC South.
On paper, it looks like a favorable draw for the Steelers. They will play four of their first six games in the friendly confines of Heinz Field and their opponents have the second lowest average winning-percentage based on last year.
After a stop over in New York to start things off, the Steelers will play at home against the Broncos and Texans. A road game against the Titans is sandwiched between two more home games versus the Eagles and Browns. The Steelers second half schedule features a trip to Dallas, a home date with the Ravens and a trip to Buffalo, but also a lot of cellar-dwellers in the Bengals, Jaguars, Redskins and some .500 clubs like the Browns and Colts.
Our 2020 season schedule has arrived!
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 7, 2020
Will the Steelers, with the return of a top five defense and a healthy Roethlisberger, be able to improve on last year’s 8-8 record?
How many wins can you find? Are you an optimist, a pessimist or a “wait and see” type of fan?
Cast your vote below.
Should the Steelers Keep Mike Hilton or Cam Sutton?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a number of important players that are set to become free agents this offseason. The cap-strapped team will not be able to bring every player they like back, and that means making some tough decisions of who to prioritize.
Both Mike Hilton and Cam Sutton have become key contributors to the Pittsburgh secondary as slot cornerbacks. They both are arguably underrated in their own way.
If the Steelers can only keep one, and that’s likely the case, which cornerback should the Steelers retain between Hilton or Sutton?
Poll: What Was Biggest Issue with Steelers Running Game in 2020?
The Steelers finished dead last in the NFL in rushing in 2020 and general manager Kevin Colbert has seen it as a top offseason priority to rectify that standing going into 2021.
The Steelers have already made a change in coaching, with Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm taking over as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
There will also be substantive changes to the personnel, as starting center Maurkice Pouncey has retired and starting running back James Conner, left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, left guard Matt Feiler and right tackle Zach Banner are pending free agents.
“You can’t say the runners weren’t good enough or the quarterbacks weren’t good enough or the line wasn’t good enough,” Colbert said in speaking with the media last week. “To put out the kind of running game we did, no one was good enough. And again, that is a collective effort. … We need to finish (seasons). And I think having a strong running game helps teams finish in that time of year.”
With that being said, Steelers fans, which area of the running game do you think was the biggest issue in 2020?
Will James Conner Ever Reach 1,000 Yards in a Season?
Some feel he doesn’t get the credit he deserves while others think James Conner is just simply not NFL featured back material.
Either way, it’s very possible Conner has played his final game as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He accumulated 721 yards on 169 carries for an average of 4.3 yards per carry and 6 touchdowns in 13 games during the 2020 season. Conner’s highest yardage total and best overall season came in 2018 when he compiled 973 yards off 215 carries, equaling 4.5 yards per. The Pitt product, who the Steelers kept in Pittsburgh by drafting in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, was selected to his only Pro Bowl for his surprise success in 2018.
Since 2018, it’s been a roller coaster ride of injuries and inconsistency for Conner. The 2018 season remains the only year Conner even flirted with the 1,000 yard mark. With his professional future currently in doubt, the question now becomes – will Conner ever accomplish an 1,000 yard season in the NFL, either with the Steelers or wherever he ends up?