Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

In the course of the bye week, we questioned what adjustments the Pittsburgh Steelers offense would make with a purpose to attempt to flip issues round for the second half of the season. Whereas it wasn’t precisely fireworks, they did transfer the ball and put some factors on the board, tying their season-high of 20 factors in opposition to the New Orleans Saints. 

After rolling by means of the All-22 this morning, listed here are a number of the takeaways from the movie room. 

Welcome Again, Najee Harris

Saying that this sport in opposition to the Saints was Harris’s better of the season could be an understatement. Within the first half, the second-year working again broke an enormous 36-yard achieve on a cutback with the Steelers working cut up zone from the shotgun, working over defenders within the course of. 

Harris merely seemed extra decisive on the day, understanding when he wanted to be affected person and when he wanted to place his foot within the floor and get north. 

As if averaging practically 5.0 yards per carry wasn’t sufficient, Harris additionally stood out in go safety. 

There have been two separate events the place he was capable of establish and neutralize free blitzers up the center. His solely goal got here on a wheel route close to the tip zone which might’ve been caught, however he was nonetheless capable of be an element within the passing sport as a consequence of his blocking. 

After a disappointing sophomore marketing campaign thus far, here is hoping this efficiency catapults him again on observe. 

Diontae Johnson and George Pickens Tore Up Man Protection

Coming into the week, I discussed that the Saints performed extra man protection than any staff within the NFL and that led me to feeling fairly assured that the Steelers receivers would have their manner. 

As a consequence of components exterior of their management, the numbers weren’t actually indicative of how a lot bother these two brought about the Saints’ boundary corners. 

Johnson tormented Saints nook Paulson Adebo a number of instances all through the sport and Pickett hit him on a go ball down the proper sideline within the second half for his or her longest play from scrimmage.

The e-book has been out on Johnson for fairly a while as he is well-known at this level for being the most effective separators in opposition to man protection. However we won’t neglect about George Pickens both. With him within the fold, Pittsburgh legitimately has two receivers that may beat press protection with ease, and that is a luxurious that not many groups are lucky sufficient to own. 

Whether or not it was working in breaking routes or making an attempt to win vertically, Pickens had a formidable day on movie regardless of a restricted variety of targets. With two dynamic weapons on the skin, Pittsburgh is in fine condition for the foreseeable future.

Kenny Pickett’s Uneven Day

Pickett’s day was up and down for a plethora of causes. 

Let’s begin with the positives which principally revolve round Pickett’s potential to make performs as a runner. The rookie caught the Saints of their patented 2-man look within the second half and determined to name his personal quantity, to the tune of a 23-yard run. He additionally transformed on a few quarterback sneaks which moved the chains. 

He was correct and decisive on fast sport passing ideas which he struggled with at instances in opposition to Philadelphia. Doubtless a degree of emphasis from the teaching employees, he took excellent care of the soccer. After a harmful go on an out path to Pat Freiermuth early within the sport, he performed clear soccer and did not flip the ball over for the second time all season.

Whereas it was good to see Pickett air it out a bit extra on Sunday (7.7 common depth of goal), the outcomes weren’t nice when he did, as he was simply 1-5 on throws that traveled additional than 15 yards down the sector. 

He is nonetheless a bit hesitant to drag the set off on throws in between the numbers or into tight home windows down the sector. The Saints did a pleasant job throwing a bunch of pre-snap disguises his manner which brought about some confusion as you’d anticipate from a rookie. 

General, he left a few huge performs on the sector however did end together with his first constructive EPA (anticipated factors added) sport as a starter, which is progress nonetheless. 

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Kevin Dotson’s Struggles Proceed

Personally, I am previous the purpose of hoping that Dotson returns to the promising participant that he seemed like as a rookie in 2020. Even when we aren’t anticipating an affect participant at this juncture, it is not unreasonable to ask for high quality play. We’ve not gotten that a lot this season from Dotson and this week was extra of the identical, sadly. 

Move professional has sometimes been the place Dotson makes his cash, however there have been instances in opposition to the Saints when he seemed misplaced and confused. 

On first down, he was crushed for a sack contained in the pink zone the place he was caught lunging and off steadiness. There was a minimum of one different time the place it seemed like he was at fault by way of not understanding his project and sliding the mistaken manner in go professional. 

The left facet of the offensive line may be very clearly bogging this unit, and if the Steelers are going to show this factor round this season, that should change. Regardless, upgrades and left deal with and left guard needs to be excessive on the precedence listing for Omar Khan within the offseason. 

Some Props for Matt Canada 

Within the effort of being honest, Canada (and whoever else was concerned, doubtlessly Mike Sullivan) deserves some credit score for his play calling and the sport plan, each of which had been rock stable. 

It wasn’t something ground-breaking. They did not gentle the world on fireplace or something, nevertheless it was progress nonetheless. 

This was essentially the most that I’ve seen crossers applied into the offense for the reason that Patriots sport in Week 2. In his post-game presser, Pickett talked about that they ran extra in breaking routes which had been evident on movie even when the outcomes weren’t all the time there. It appeared like they had been additionally extra bunch receiver seems to be, reducing the sector in half for Pickett. He even referred to as a play-action play from the gun the place the linebacker bit on the faux and Pickett threw proper behind him.

There have been additionally loads of half-field triangle reads for the quarterback which made life fairly simple for Pickett within the fast sport. They ran the spot idea a number of instances, the final of which went to Jaylen Warren on third down within the pink zone that resulted in a primary down. 

On the finish of the movie session, I got here away with the notion that Canada gave Pickett the required solutions for the seems to be he was seeing on the vast majority of snaps which is what you lengthy for in an offensive coordinator. If not for missed alternatives down the sector, they may have scored a minimum of yet one more landing. 

The entire issues above are what we have been begging for. There’s nonetheless an extended approach to go earlier than anybody ought to start clamoring for him to return for a 3rd season, nevertheless it does not really feel honest to not acknowledge the progress post-bye week. 

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