The Steelers have set the 2022 roster, but does it have what it takes to contend for another Lombardi Trophy?
With the Steelers having finalized the 2022 roster, my first thought was this: Is the roster as it is currently constructed capable of winning a seventh Lombardi Trophy? The last time the Steelers won the Super Bowl was during the 2008 campaign.
What that means is this: We are entering the fourteenth season without a Super Bowl victory. For Steelers fans, that is an eternity. During the decade of the 1970s, we had grown accustomed to not only contending for but winning the Super Bowl to the tune of four victories over the span of six seasons.
Honestly, we probably could have won six Super Bowls in a row had it not been for injuries to key players during the 1976 and 1977 seasons, but that is neither here nor there for the purposes of this discussion.
Suffice it to say that the Steelers rosters of the Super Bowl-winning teams had holes as do the rosters of non-contending teams, but those holes were overshadowed by the talent at key positions. Does the 2022 roster ‘feel’ like a Super Bowl contender?
The Steelers offense has question marks at key positions
When you look at the offensive side of the ball, what do you see? Are you a ‘glass half empty’ person or are you a ‘glass half full’ person? I would like to think that I am an optimist, but I have serious reservations about certain position groups.
First, I think it is a foregone conclusion that Mitch Trubisky will the week one starter at QB, but if he does not play well, would Mike Tomlin be inclined to ‘pull the plug’ immediately or would he be inclined to allow Trubisky to work through his struggles?
Of course, if Trubisky struggles, the cause may be the play of the offensive line and not necessarily the play of Trubisky. This particular O-line group is the most suspect I have seen on paper in decades. No disrespect to any individual player but in my forty-three-plus years of watching Steelers football, this group is concerning.
Because the O-line is suspect, in my opinion, that could adversely affect the ability of the running game to get back to where Steelers fans are used to seeing it, which is this: When we are trying to protect a lead in the fourth quarter, we can run an opponent into submission.
The Steelers defense could be a top-ten defense in 2022
I do not think it is a stretch to proffer that the defense can and probably will finish in the top ten in 2022. With players like T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, there is really no reason why we cannot be a ‘top-flight’ defense, unless the play calling is just absolutely terrible, which I do not think will be the case.
The concern for me is that the depth behind Watt, Heyward, and Fitzpatrick is suspect at best. We recently traded for Malik Reed, but we frankly have no idea how he will fit in or how quickly he will become comfortable with the scheme.
To take it a step further, the depth at linebacker may be the most suspect I have seen in years. For a team that runs a base 3-4 defense, the linebackers, outside and inside, are the heart of the defense. Does the group inspire confidence, or does it invite skepticism?
The Steelers may have a rough road ahead in 2022
To wrap up this discussion, here is all I will say: The Steelers have won six Super Bowls. The goal every year is to win another one. That goal has not been realized in over a decade. Will 2022 be the year that we bring home another Lombardi Trophy?
I have no idea. Could the Steelers win the Super Bowl? Sure. Could the Steelers finish with a losing record? Sure. Since anything is possible, is it possible that this roster will take us to the promised land? Yes, but somehow, I do not see that happening.