The Pittsburgh Steelers must make some adjustments in order to have a chance this year, and these players need to start seeing more snaps soon.
The Steelers have a plethora of issues on both sides of the ball right now as they try to figure things out and get out of the current two-game losing streak they are in. After falling to the Patriots and Browns in back-to-back weeks, most of the talk has revolved around Matt Canada and Mitch Trubisky, and fans are wondering when we could see Kenny Pickett take the field.
These are all very valid talking points — considering how the offense has performed to date. However, their issues stem beyond just a potential offensive coordinator or quarterback change. Based on what I’ve observed so far after watching each game several times so far, there are some changes that should be made when it comes to divvying out snaps.
Pro Football Reference has charted player snaps counts and percentages over the first three games. Here are the players who must see their snaps increase very soon:
Jaylen Warren: 28% of Steelers offensive snaps
At this point, it doesn’t matter that Najee Harris was the 24th overall pick in the draft last year. Jaylen Warren has been better than anyone could have expected so far. When it comes to efficiency, Warren is heads and shoulders ahead of Harris right now. Just last game, he also had a thoroughly impressive reception that was negated by a penalty.
Harris should still garner a majority of the snaps, but in an effort to keep both players fresh, this should be more like a 60/40 split in favor of Harris — especially considering he was recently recovering from a foot injury.
DeMarvin Leal: 19% of Steelers defensive snaps
I do worry that DeMarvin Leal might not ever be stout enough as a run defender. However, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t see more than 19 percent of Pittsburgh’s total snap count on defense. In today’s league, teams pass the ball more than ever before, and Leal can be an asset getting after the QB from the interior. Considering how others have struggled on the defensive line, Leal’s snaps should increase.
Jamir Jones: 12% of Steelers defensive snaps
I am not the world’s biggest Jamir Jones fan, but I really don’t like what I’ve seen so far from Malik Reed. The Steelers traded for Reed just before the cut-down deadline, and with Watt injured, Reed has seen a bulk of the stats. While 29 defensive snaps is a small sample size, Jones has been the more impressive player of the two, and should at least be splitting work with Reed while Watt is out.
Levi Wallace: 49% of Steelers defensive snaps
When the Steelers signed Levi Wallace in free agency, I didn’t envision his role as only a part-time player for Pittsburgh. While I don’t think Wallace is a top-notch cornerback, he’s undoubtedly better than Arthur Maulet — who has been a liability in coverage throughout his career. I would like to see Wallace’s snaps increase and Maulet’s continue to go down as the season marches forward.
Isaiahh Loudermilk: 0% of Steelers defensive snaps
This might be the biggest immediate change the Steelers should make. During their first three games, the Steelers have made Isaiahh Loudermilk a healthy scratch — not even giving him the option to come in and help out on defense. Meanwhile, Tyson Alualu has been very poor to begin the season and Larry Ogunjobi just isn’t a great run defender. The team could really use Loudermilk in the defensive line rotation. It’s time to activate him.
There are others who you could make the case for as well, but with struggling players ahead of them, these five Steelers need to see their snap counts increase soon.