3Rivers’ training camp wishlist: The Steelers offense

With the Pittsburgh Steelers now in training camp at Saint Vincent’s College in Latrobe (Penn.), it’s the perfect time for me to reveal the first part of my Steelers camp wishlist: the offense. In this quick-hitter, I’ll go over the things I most want to see on the offensive side of the ball from Pittsburgh throughout the official training period.

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Pickett’s improving progression to a high level

Quarterback Kenny Pickett got his first shot at being a starter in the NFL relatively early during the Steelers’ 2023 regular season, and the offense was very raw. By the second half of the season, Pickett had overcome some early challenges and showed fans that he could maturely handle the assignment.

This summer, I want to see the young signal-caller show improved progression from week to week. After viewing off-season training videos of Pickett, it became apparent he’d been putting on muscle and working on his throwing releases and footwork a lot.

Those mechanics become muscle memory that all NFL quarterbacks need to develop if they’re going to be consistently successful in their professional career.

Those who can’t lock that in tend to exit the league early, and I’m hopeful that Pickett can continue to receive guidance from veteran quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky, as well as coaching and training staff that benefits him long-term. Camp should reveal whether Pickett has the ability to build off-of his previous, limited experience in the league.

My wish is that Pickett, who says the right things in interviews, will not only steadily improve his game but progress at a rate that sees him perform at a high level physically and mentally.


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A clearly-defined receiving corps

The Steelers have a slew of talent, both young and experienced, at the receiver position in camp this year. That, to me, is a bonus.

Last season, it seemed that due to poor offensive output, the receiving corps was pretty much set personnel-wise, but was not as clearly defined as it was during previous seasons from week to week. Outside of George Pickens having an exciting break-out rookie season, there were inconsistencies across the board when it came to other receivers on the roster; it wasn’t just Diontae Johnson who had an off year.

My wishlist item regarding this group is that, among the talent available, the Steelers will not only see the cream of the crop rise to the top but that roles in the offensive scheme will become clearly defined.

Who has more success on the outside? Who will play the slot? Which receivers run the best routes, are elusive, have the surest hands? I want to see all of those things in practices until the picture of what the group will look like during the season becomes crystal clear.

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An offensive line that opponents will have to respect

The offensive line was an area the Steelers invested in, heavily, during the off-season, including in the 2023 NFL Draft. With smart money sunk into improvement, it needs to happen as soon as possible.

Camp is the perfect time to build that offensive line group into a formidable front that opponents will have no choice but to respect in both run-blocking and pass protection.


The line is one area where I want to see competitiveness for “starter” status from tackles to centers to guards. I am excited to hear news, already, that rookie Broderick Jones is competing and Dan Moore isn’t giving up a spot without being challenged.

The Steelers need personnel on their offensive front that are not only willing to earn their spots the old-fashioned way (hard work, discipline, a focus on mechanics, etc…) but grow into a cohesive unit through the kinship borne of battle. The trenches must be defended and not overrun.

This is a unit that appears to have the right mentality and mix of talent to meld and grow one that opponents will not be able to write-off. They need to become the baddest dogs in the yard to give the Steelers the boost they need offensively in 2023.


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