Without their veteran quarterback, the Steelers would sign Mitchell Trubisky and draft Kenny Pickett for 2022.
These two will compete for the starting job in Pittsburgh.
It also means that a Steelers playoff appearance isn’t automatic.
So with new leadership at quarterback, what are realistic expectations for Pittsburgh in 2022?
A Floor Of 6-11 Could Happen If They Have Issues At Quarterback
The Steelers have an interesting schedule for 2022.
Assume Mason Rudolph is the Steelers starting QB in 2022. What is the teams record based off this schedule? pic.twitter.com/nh7wiGALXP
— Steelers Network (@SteelersNetwork) February 6, 2022
They face six playoff teams, with ten games being against teams that were 9-8 or better in 2021.
Two of their division rivals, the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, weren’t above the 9-8 mark last season.
That accounts for another four games, which they barely won last season.
With the Browns improving at quarterback during the offseason, the games against them might prove difficult.
However, even if they split the series with the Browns, they have other hard games.
If Trubisky or Pickett can’t get the offense working, the Steelers defense might crumble under pressure.
If Trubisky Or Pickett Shine, Steelers Could Shock With 9-8 Record
For the Steelers to get nine wins, they need the easy wins against the Panthers, Falcons, and Jets.
The victories against the Ravens and Browns like they had in 2021.
The Steelers will sweep the browns and the ravens again next year. #HereWeGo
— kedon slovis szn 💙💛 (@sportst11027581) May 7, 2022
However, they’ll also need two more wins against their tougher slate of games.
The Colts, Saints, and Eagles give them the best chances of winning two more games.
With the Dolphins and Raiders bulking up their team for 2022, it’s not likely they will win those games.
Teams like the Bills, Patriots, Bengals, and Buccaneers won’t let the Steelers sneak in a win.
However, for that 9-8 ceiling, Pittsburgh needs flawless play from Trubisky or Pickett in each game.
Without what, the Steelers won’t reach this ceiling in 2022.
Pressure On Steelers Defense To Keep Them In Games
With new quarterbacks, Pittsburgh needs a Steel Curtain like performance from their defense.
It was back in the 1970s when Pittsburgh’s defense dominated and earned that Steel Curtain nickname.
For 2022, their defense needs to go back to those roots to keep games close.
The pressure is on them to perform, as Trubisky has a history of putting his defense’s back against the wall.
To keep them out of those jams, the Steelers need to force more turnovers, or at least hold teams to field goals.
However, last season saw the Steelers rank 20th overall in defense.
Without improvement, Pittsburgh will see more of a 6-11 record than a 9-8 one.
Trubisky Shoulders Burden To Win Games
Pittsburgh is a team that is normally in the playoff hunt each season.
However, they had Big Ben to help them make those playoff appearances.
Now Trubisky takes over the job of helping keep Pittsburgh a playoff team.
But can he do it with the pressure on him?
He can if the stories of coaching are the problem behind his errors as quarterback.
He has a great team of coaches in Pittsburgh to help guide him.
If it was coaching holding him back, the Steelers coaches can help him shine and have a winning record.