NFL preview: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers will make the playoffs no matter who their starting QB is
The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t had a losing season since 2003 when they finished with a 6-10 record, and they are unlikely to break this streak.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will start the 2022 NFL season with a new starting quarterback after 18 consecutive seasons with Ben Roethlisberger as QB1, but that doesn’t mean it will affect their playoff aspirations even if Kenny Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph are still fight for the starting job.
The Steelers acquired Pickett with their first-round pick from the last draft and Trubisky in free agency on a team-friendly deal. In this case, a scenario in which the former Bears and Bills QB works as a bridge a la Tommy Maddox with Roethlisberger is believable.
Additionally, Matt Canada’s offensive system will protect any quarterback with Najee Harris’ running game and Diontae Johnson’s receiving corps, Chase Claypool and rookies George Pickens and Calvin Austin III.
However, the main reason the Pittsburgh franchise is has a chance at the postseason is its defense. Although in 2021 they allowed 361.1 total yards and 23.4 points per game, the unit led by T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick promises to be better in 2022 due to the coordinator change and key additions in free agency.
Teryl Austin will be the new defensive coordinator after spending the last three years as manager of the defensive backs. Austin served as CD for the Detroit Lions from 2014-2017 and for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018 before coming to the Steelers.
Another success for Pittsburgh during the offseason was the signing of free agents outside of Trubisky. Before leaving the team, Kevin Colbert, the former general manager of the Steelers, reinforced the offensive line with James Daniels and Mason Cole, the defense with LB Myles Jack and CB Levi Wallace, and the special teams with punt returner Gunner Olszewski.
Finally, head coach Mike Tomlin’s team hasn’t had a losing season in almost 20 years. The last time was in 2003, the year they went 6-10 and drafted Big Ben.
Record in 2021: 9-7-1
Stadium: Acrisure Stadium
Super Bowl Titles: 6 (IX, X, XIII, XIV, XL and XLIII)
Head coach: Mike Tomlin
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Canada
Defensive Coordinator: Teryl Austin
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