Steelers among five offenses expected to make ‘big improvements’ in 2020

(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) Ben Roethlisberger
(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) Ben Roethlisberger /

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense really struggled in 2019. Here’s why they are one of five teams projected to take a big leap offensively this season.

Though Pittsburgh’s defense was a treat to watch in 2019, their offense was anything but. Led by inexperienced quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, the Steelers offense really struggled last year – ultimately finishing 30th in the league in yardage.

This is something that is expected to turn around in a big way in 2020. The return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as well as the additions of Eric Ebron and Chase Claypool could give Pittsburgh a massive boost on the offensive side of the ball.

Recently, Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton wrote an article predicting five NFL offenses that will make the biggest improvements in 2020. Obviously, the Steelers were not left out. Here’s some of what Moton had to say:

"The Pittsburgh Steelers fit into this category as an easy call. They lost Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2 of the previous season. He underwent elbow surgery, but the 38-year-old seems well on his way back to action for a full 2020 season.Roethlisberger has a young wide receiver group. JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson are headed into their age-24 terms, while the Steelers also selected Chase Claypool in the second round of April’s draft.Smith-Schuster has extra motivation to bounce back from a down season riddled with injuries before he hits the open market as a free agent in 2021. The Pro Bowl wideout has earned the benefit of the doubt after recording 917-plus yards and seven touchdowns in each of his first two seasons."

In addition to the return of Roethlisberger and the additions of Ebron and Claypool this offseason, there is even more reason to believe why Pittsburgh’s offense will take a major leap forward.

The Steelers have recently invested a lot of resources into their receiving corps and it is starting to pay dividends. Despite receiving less than desirable targets from Rudolph and Hodges last season, Diontae Johnson and James Washington really stood out in 2019. While Washington finished 21st in the NFL in yards per target and led the Steelers in receiving, Johnson was able to lead all NFL wide receivers in separation per target.

While JuJu Smith-Schuster struggled a bit last year as he dealt with some nagging injuries, giving Ben Roethlisberger weapons like JuJu, Johnson, Washington, Ebron, and Claypool will no doubt become a recipe for success on offense.

In addition to the Steelers, the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders were the other teams predicted to see a boost on offense in 2020. The Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray last year and added while adding WR DeAndre Hopkins and OT Joshua Jones this offseason, while the Browns beefed up their offensive line with former All-Pro Jack Conklin and first-round pick Jedrick Wills. The Broncos and Raiders both found talented young skills players in the draft this year.

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We already know Pittsburgh’s defense has been on the rise with the emergence of T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Ben Roethlisberger will not be asked to do as much as he was in 2018. If he can stay upright, there is no doubt the Steelers offense will improve by leaps and bounds in 2020.