5 bold predictions for Pittsburgh Steelers offense in 2020

Benny Snell #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Benny Snell #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers
James Washington Pittsburgh Steelers(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

James Washington is held scoreless

James Washington had a strong season in 2019, as he finally developed as a deep threat and was a consistent target for both of the backup QBs. While his role isn’t likely to diminish, his red-zone production could. For starters, as a deep threat, Washington doesn’t have Mike Wallace like speed, instead of using his great hands and body placement to win deep. That may lead to big plays, but it doesn’t translate to long TDs necessarily.

As well, with the drafting of Chase Claypool, Washington could lose out on red-zone snaps if the Steelers opt for the taller and more physical receiver. Washington is meant to go deep and get big plays; Claypool is better suited to go up and make the contested catch in the red zone. As well, Claypool is the better blocker (given his size, that should be expected), meaning he can serve multiple roles in the red zone.

While Washington being held without a score all season is bold, it shouldn’t shock anyone if he only scores once or twice. Expect him and Roethlisberger to connect on a few deep balls, but don’t expect to see all of those end with Washington in the end zone. While his yardage and yards per receptions should be similar to his 2019 numbers (if not better), his scoring opportunities are likely to decrease. He seems poised for a good season yardage wise, but his upside in the red zone isn’t there.