Why you better believe the Steelers will be in the playoffs in 2023
I love listening to all the noise about how the Pittsburgh Steelers are 5000 to 1 odds in going to the Super Bowl. Las Vegas may not have been paying attention to the last nine games of the 2022 season. Or, maybe they think the Steelers played against weaker competition (it wasn’t), or the way the final games of their season went was just a fluke. Neither is true. And the NFL oddsmakers are going to find out the hard way about the team we all love.
The Steelers Offense
The Steelers are going to have a dominating offense in both the run and pass game in 2023. Simply put, Kenny Pickett grew up in those final nine games last season and the offensive line is vastly improved via free agency and the draft. Even Matt Canada can’t screw this up, can he?
It’s time for Canada to use play-action, pound the turf with heavy rushing, and set up the deep pass. And, look at the wild card players he has in Darnell Washington and Connor Heyward. Or, Canada can pull the trigger on a play that has someone rip out of the backfield and catch swing passes. The possibilities are endless.
Let’s hope Canada can pull his head out (of wherever he had it last year) and give a highly talented roster of skilled players the opportunity to shine this upcoming season. Opening the playbook up will give the Steelers offense the ability to truly challenge opponents this upcoming season.
The Steelers Defense
Having said that about the offense, Pittsburgh’s defense may be the weaker part of the equation, in my opinion. The Steelers defensive line is better, but there will be a lot of changes made in the way of personnel. No, Cameron Heyward is not going anywhere (yet) and Larry Ogunjobi will be solid. But, in today’s NFL, you need six solid, above-average players to man the defensive line. Time will tell if that is what the Steelers have. Training camp will be entertaining.
Add to that, this question: Do the Steelers have “starters” at inside linebacker, or are fans watching the team dress guys, keeping the position warm, and hoping for the best?
There are some possibilities here as far as personnel Pittsburgh has added, and, again you just want someone to stand out. What I have been reading from around the internet is that second-year man Mark Robinson has looked very good in mini-camp. That’s great news for the player and that position.
But, as I stated above, the defense will be heavily watched in training camp, especially for individuals to step into the spotlight in good ways. There are only so many tidbits you can pick up on from mini-camp, but it’s not relevant news or insight until the pads go on in late July.
And, maybe I am the only one, but I like the Steelers’ defensive secondary.
The Steelers have a good mix in that group of younger with older, experienced players, and I am intrigued; I really want to see the three-safety set and how it will be implemented by defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. With the signing of Keanu Neal and the re-signing of Damontae Kazee to go along with Minkah Fitzpatrick, this could be a very interesting mix of talent and provide a ton of options in the secondary of the Steelers’ defense.
With that said, I do strongly believe that if the Steelers can get on an early winning streak and stay healthy they will be a strong contender, enter the playoffs, and go deep into the postseason. If I were a gambler, I would take those odds, regardless of what Las Vegas is saying before training camp even gets started.
The Steelers will not be a punchline during the 2023 season. Bet on it.