The 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers season was a tumultuous and disappointing one. There were some bright spots and low spots and we are here to review and give an outlook moving forward into 2019.
The Pittsburgh Steelers season was filled with many ups and downs. The team had a good enough roster they should have made the playoffs and failed.
The team’s offense was talented enough, even without Le’Veon Bell, to make a deep run and they came up short. The shortcomings lay in the last position grouping of this three-part series.
The defensive side of the ball was high in the statistical rankings but any true sports fan knows, stats only tell part of a team’s story. The on field production was good and much improved but situational football is key and the defense and special teams failed more than you can if you want to make the playoffs.
These last three position groups had their moments but, overall, they had a lot to do with the team missing January football. The end of the 2018 season review is below and trust me, it is painful to review.
The Steelers have not fully recovered from losing Ryan Shazier to a spinal injury that has possibly ended his career. They did not do enough to help replace the athleticism and speed he provided in the linebacker room.
T.J. Watt was one of the lone bright spots in a group that seems lackluster since Shazier’s injury. He recorded a team best 13 sacks and provided great edge pressure that helped get the Steelers in a tie with Kansas City for the top team in sacks with 52.
He and Bud Dupree switched sides from 2017 and it paid dividends in 2018. Dupree did not have the sack success Watt had, but he did show a lot of improvement in his game.
He only compiled 5.5 sacks in 2018 but he could easily have had double digits if not for holding penalties against him to keep him from getting his sacks.
Dupree was also consistently in the backfield much more than he was in any previous season. He is due around $9 million next season and I believe they will uphold the decision to pickup his option, even at that high price tag.
Inside linebackers struggled all season, mostly in pass coverage. Vince Williams and Jonathan Bostic are thumpers in the middle but Shazier supplied the lightning to Williams’ thunder and that was missing with Bostic alongside him this season.
L.J. Fort could supply some lightning with his speed over the middle and did well in coverage aside from having to try to cover Keenan Allen in the game against the Chargers. The Steelers need to look to the draft to revitalize the youth and speed Shazier had there.