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Steelers Analysis

Steelers Offense Still Has One Huge Problem to Solve



Steelers Kenny Pickett Preseason
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett and offensive line, Aug. 19, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

LAS VEGAS — The Steelers’ offense did not have a perfect day against the Las Vegas Raiders. A near pick-six highlighted the low point of the day for the offense, but even still, there were too many three-and-outs, and the group appeared disjointed at times. But there were improvements from around most of the offense. But that is except one place, and it’s a place that matters a lot — the offensive line.

Kenny Pickett looked better tonight. Matt Canada dialed up some nice shots. But the run game, against a unit that seemed ripe for the taking up front, did not get going. Now, you can blame that on several factors, and the Steelers rushing offense did eclipse 100 yards for the first time this season, but Pittsburgh still averaged just 3.4 yards per carry. Neither Najee Harris nor Jaylen Warren on a per-carry basis were too efficient.

Moreover, Pickett got rocked too many times. The offensive line is the anchor of this offense I keep talking about. I have no idea what the team has to do to get the moving. But a quarterback who is not fully there yet and a playcaller who is questionable at best can be masked by an offensive line playing well. That showcased itself at the end of last year when Pittsburgh went on a run to end the season.

But right now, that unit is helping no one. Maxx Crosby destroyed the game, and others chipped in to help. It’s not just one player, it’s everyone. Broderick Jones may help, but he won’t be the entire solution. He’s a rookie. Until this unit improves, the Steelers will not take some massive leap offensively. The Raiders are not good on defense, so naturally, some positive regression was due. Mike Tomlin remained relatively mum on what he saw from his offense and his thoughts about their performances. While he saw improvement, it was not some ringing endorsement.

“We won. Yes,” Tomlin said.

Some of the shortness in answers is likely because Tomin has yet to watch the tape and fully evaluate his players. But on the other side of the coin, there is one clear issue: the offensive line has stagnated. If Pittsburgh wants to get some level of consistency on offense, they need better from the guys up front. This unit has that in them; it’s just about what it takes and how long it could take to get there.

It comes down to individual technique. That’s no magical fix. At this point, the group has gelled enough, even with Isaac Seumalo’s introduction. This was the first game I thought Seumalo looked the part like he did in Philadelphia. But outside of that, the ups and downs of everyone else created an uneven game where Pickett seemed to get struck more often than you would ever like your quarterback to get hit.