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Steelers Players Advocate for Key Offensive Change



Steelers Offense Kenny Pickett
The Steelers offense against the 49ers, Sept. 10, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — With only seven points against the 49ers, Pittsburgh is back to the drawing board on the offensive side of the football. Throughout the game, there is only one time that Kenny Pickett and the offense found a rhythm and drove down the football field. That was before the half when the team started to go up-tempo and call one-word plays to get after it. Many players liked seeing that, and Pittsburgh got a few big rips.

Najee Harris’s lone big run on the day came during that drive. For him, he notices that the up-tempo nature of the offense, when they do it, keeps the defense off guard. The Steelers’ offense traveled over 90 yards in just over a minute during that drive, showcasing how fast they can rip a drive like that off.

“Tempo works out, for the most part,” Harris said. “For us, just having one-word plays, lining up fast, and getting to it, and playing with pace, it works, and it shows off our conditioning, too. I feel like it puts the defense on edge because they might be out of plays. You know, or they might be out there for a certain amount of plays. We go simple and start to move the ball; it works out in our favor.”

Usually, when the Steelers use it, like they did in a two-minute drill against the 49ers, they run right down the field. Teams can run a lot of up-tempo action throughout the game, although it requires excellent communication and conditioning, otherwise, the offense can become worn down fast. Kenny Pickett is unsure if they could run more tempo, but he likes it when they do. Still, it comes down to the success of the game.

For Pickett, it’s not so much about the situational component of the up-tempo offense. It comes down to the Steelers having success and moving the chains, something they could not do on Sunday. As a result, they never got into a rhythm to even try to mess with their playing tempo due to being behind the sticks.

“Yeah, that kind of goes into the flow of the game,” Pickett said. “You know, you get the chains moving, then you can go tempo. So, that’s kind of you know, we’ll see how the game is going and we’ll feel it out and how we want to attack them.”

Pittsburgh may have wanted to use more tempo, but that lack of success caused them to abandon it. It is similar to what happened with Joey Porter Jr. on defense, where the 49ers played so 21 personnel and stayed ahead of the sticks that the sub-packages Porter plays in never really came up.

RELATED: Why Joey Porter Jr. Only Played 7 Snaps vs. 49ers

Take it for what it is; this song and dance has happened in past years. i would doubt the Steelers go more up-tempo this week outside of that situational ball, but you never know what a team could come out with after a clunker like they had in Week 1.

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