The Steelers’ offense was hoping to improve in 2021 after a disappointing close to the 2020 season. Instead, the team has stagnated once again and finds itself among the bottom-10 offenses in football.
So, what is Pittsburgh going to change to fix that? Nothing, apparently.
“We’re gonna stick with what we’re doing,” Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada said Thursday, per the team’s official website. “Obviously, that’s not the answer and that’s not the sexy answer but we believe we’re on the right track. We’ve gotta get some cohesion up front. We’re working to get that, and that’s not an excuse. We’ve gotta produce right now, so we’re not running away from it or hiding from it. But we have to continue to do what we’re doing. We have to continue to put our guys in position to make plays which, until we win, when we win, we’re not doing that well enough.”
“That falls on me but we’re not gonna try to re-invent the wheel. It’s fundamental football. Everybody’s doing the same stuff. It’s fundamental football. We have to be better and I have to be better.”
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The Steelers have averaged just 308.3 yards (seventh-fewest in the NFL) and 16.7 points (fifth-fewest in the league) through three games. They have struggled mightily on the ground, as they have a league-worst 56 rushing yards per game. That’s despite spending their first-round pick on Najee Harris.
So, what’s the problem? Part of it is the continued regression of Ben Roethlisberger, who has posted a passer rating of 79 so far this year, good for the second-lowest mark of his career and worst since 2006. He also is dealing with an injury.
“He’s not healthy. He has a left pec strain… and he’s in a lot of pain when he throws,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport told Pat McAfee.
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The other major issue is the offensive line. The Steelers have been fine in the pass-blocking department per Pro Football Focus, but their line grades out as the fifth-worst run-blocking unit in the NFL.
Still, Canada isn’t willing to blame that unit, which has four new starters including two rookies, for the Steelers’ problems. It’s a group-wide failure.
“I’m a big believer in everything’s up front, but I don’t want to say when we’re not having success that that’s why,” he said. “When you look at us, we’re just not clicking. I’ve said it a lot of times and it’s not gonna change, it’s 11 men doing their job.
“We’re just like here and there and everywhere. That’s not running away from our lack of what we’re doing. We’re not getting it done and I take that fully on me. We just gotta find a way to all be on the same page and execute at the same level at the same time. The line’s part of it but the wideouts, the tight ends, the backs, the quarterback, the play-caller, we all gotta be together.”
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Maybe the Steelers will come together offensively against the Packers. However, if they don’t, Canada’s approach will surely be questioned.
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