Steelers: Evolution of the Offense


Over the last few years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have transformed into a completely different team. Players have left for free agency, veterans have retired, and even players who are still young have retired, or maybe that’s just Jason Worilds, but still, the team is not the team that won super bowl XLIII.

Back then, the defense was the focus. Players like Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, James Farrior, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, LaMaar Woodley, Ryan Clark, and so many more players that have since then retired, or left for another team, led the 2008 Steelers to the super bowl.

The defense has lost its thunder, but the offense has truly picked up some steam.

The Steelers have truly become a wide receiver factory. Over the last few seasons, Pittsburgh has managed to take almost any draft pick, no matter what round, and transform them into a superstar.

In 2009, the Steelers drafted Mike Wallace in the 3rd round, and he instantly became a star by his second season, accumulating over 1000 yards receiving in 2010 and 2011.

The next year, the Steelers grabbed Emmanuel Sanders in the 3rd round, and Antonio Brown in the 6th round, and both of them have truly become special. Sanders went to his first pro bowl this year after leaving the Steelers for the Broncos, and emerging as a huge threat.

Dec 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jamell Fleming (30) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 20-12. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown on the other hand has emerged as one of the best receivers in the league, and finished 1st in receptions and receiving yards in 2014.

In 2013 and 2014, the Steelers brought in more additions to the team by drafting Markus Wheaton in the 3rd round, and Martavis Bryant in the 4th. While Wheaton hasn’t emerged as a star or anything, he has been a steady receiver for the last two seasons, and has earned himself a slot position on the team. Bryant on the other hand has surfaced as a huge red zone threat, and a great compliment to Antonio Brown.

Overall, the team has struck gold countless times throughout the last few drafts, and hope to strike it again with their 2015 3rd round selection, Sammy Coates.

During the early 2000s, Running backs Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker brought a strong ground game that the Steelers needed. Following their retirements, the Steelers struggled in the run game, attempting to fill the void with players such as Rashad Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, and Isaac Redman, but to no avail.

In 2013, the Steelers drafted Le’Veon Bell. Bell has materialized into one of the best running backs in the league, if not the best. In 2014, he shattered team records one by one, and finished 2nd in the league in rushing yards, and 2nd out of running backs in receiving yards as well.

Another important part of the offense is the offensive line. Last year, the Steelers hired Ex-Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak to command the offensive line. After allowing 43 sacks in 2013, the Steelers cut that number by 10, only allowing 33 in 2014. The young offensive line, commanded by center Maurkice Pouncey has potential to continue improving year by year.

Finally, the center of the offense, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Entering his 12th season as the Steelers shotcaller, Big Ben is coming off the two best seasons of his career, last season being his best. While concerns loom around his age, Roethlisberger has continuously to play at a high level, and could very well be in his prime.

Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense finished 2nd in the league yards wise, just behind Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The Steelers offense averaged just above 27 points a game, but Ben Roethlisberger believes they can top it. In a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger set the Steelers goal at being  “able to put 30 points on the board in every game.”

With the offense the Steelers have put together throughout the last couple of years, and young players just starting to emerge, nothing is stopping the Steelers from achieving their goal.

Next: Steelers' training camp: Senquez Golson's setback

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