The Steelers have been subjected to much media press regarding their quarterback room, but that shouldn’t be the talk of the town entering Week 1.
One of the biggest topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers today has been its decision to name Mitchell Trubisky the starter to open their regular season.
This was seen as a questionable move to some, as Kenny Pickett—a 1st-round pick—is supposed to be the one to ultimately succeed Ben Roethlisberger, and showed the early potential to do so by having an outstanding preseason stretch.
However, Trubisky saw some promising moments of his own in the said stretch and has the most starting experience of anyone in the Steelers QB room.
Lastly, to combine those truths with the fact that Pittsburgh’s schedule has a harsh welcome in store regardless of who gets the nod, there is ultimately nothing else to question when seeing Trubisky be declared the starter.
With all of that said, the QB situation has officially been put away until further notice, and quite frankly, it should be when considering another pressing matter entering Week 1: the Steelers defense.
What makes the Steelers defense so concerning?
The capabilities of Pittsburgh’s defense were a big question mark coming into this season, and the two beatings that it endured against the Cincinnati Bengals were a big reason as to why. Since the pair of AFC North rivals will be opening their season against one another, this could be a defining moment in regards to how well the Steelers have built themselves up.
Think about it: the main problem with losing to the Bengals as badly as Pittsburgh did in 2021 wasn’t just the fact that it hurt fans to watch, it was the fact that it was all in spite of the former’s offensive line concerns colliding with the latter’s defensive playmakers.
While the passing defense appeared rather limited on paper, it was statistically more capable of making an impact last year than, say, the rushing defense—but one wouldn’t have known that when looking at Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow’s completion percentage and touchdown count against it.
This time around, if Pittsburgh still can’t manage to contain the Bengals enough to keep the game remotely close, a slap in the face will be dealt to all of its fans who spent the entire offseason watching the team acquire big-name free agents like LB Myles Jack and CB Levi Wallace, followed by drafting defensive SEC studs such as Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal and Mississippi’s Mark Robinson.
Now all of this brooding is not meant to indicate that the Steelers are not allowed to lose this game, nor is it supposed to declare that they never will. In fact, they proved last season that they are very much capable of coming out strong when they downed the Bills in Buffalo (and the team has only become better since then).
And losing the game is acceptable when remembering who exactly the Bengals are today. Current AFC contender or not, they are the conference’s defending champions, so a handful of improvements on what is still a very unproven squad is nowhere near enough for someone to reasonably anticipate a Week 1 victory for Pittsburgh.
However, the aforementioned point still stands: if the Steelers fail to show any noteworthy rise in defensive formidability against a team that still has issues on the offensive line, then they could already be telling Steeler Nation that it’s in for another long year.