For a team that started the 2020 NFL season 11-0, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ current perception seems to be one of skepticism and disappointment.
With the kind of start they got off to, they were supposed to run away with the top overall seed in the AFC, and at least make an appearance in the Divisional playoff round.
However, the end of their season did not go as planned, as they lost on Wild Card Weekend at home to the Cleveland Browns.
Pittsburgh is certainly not far away from challenging in the AFC in 2021, but there have been a few areas where the team may have missed out on solidifying.
3. Backup Quarterback
Onward And Upward. pic.twitter.com/a4RE6qVbqT
— Mason Rudolph (@Rudolph2Mason) January 3, 2021
While this need for the Pittsburgh Steelers likely won’t play too large of a role in their 2021 season, there’s a chance that not addressing the backup quarterback position will come back to bite the team.
They could have done one of two things; either bring in another young signal caller to compete with Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins for future snaps, or bring in an established veteran who can win games if Ben Roethlisberger missed time.
The Steelers didn’t go either route, and will likely head into training camp with one of the least inspiring insurance options in the NFL.
— Devin Bush ll (@_Dbush11) October 11, 2020
Whether it’s “Mean” Joe Greene from the 1970’s, Kevin Greene from the 1990’s, or James Harrison from the more recent generation, the Steelers have been known for their excellence at the linebacker position.
That proficiency in the front seven has been a staple of the roster for several decades, and was a large reason why Pittsburgh got off to such a hot start last season.
However, two of their stalwarts at the position went down with crushing knee injuries.
While Bush is still on the roster, it would have behooved the Steelers to beef up that position while he recovers from an ACL injury.
The chances are promising that the Steelers will be able to develop someone to replace Dupree and fill in for Bush, but their inactivity leaves them thin at that spot at the present time.
Dupree’s absence might end up being a big loss for the Steelers, but perhaps no departure will be felt more than Maurkice Pouncey’s.
The veteran center, who played his entire career with Pittsburgh decided to retire in February.
It wasn’t just Pouncey’s institutional knowledge or camaraderie with Roethlisberger that made him an extremely valuable part of the franchise.
He was one of the best centers in the NFL for the last decade, making the Pro Bowl nine times, and the All-Pro team twice.
Pittsburgh was likely never going to adequately fill that hole this offseason, but their transactions at the positions leave the pivot position on the offensive line as a large question mark.
They brought back reserve center B.J. Finney, but he’s never been a consistent starter in his career.
Pittsburgh drafted Kendrick Green in the round three of the NFL Draft, but entrusting a rookie with that responsibility on a win-now team is a shaky proposition.