Quarterback change was the first domino to fall for the Steelers but they could look to apply some more changes soon.
Big news came out of the UPMC Sports Complex recently as Mike Tomlin announced that Kenny Pickett would be the Steelers starting quarterback against the Bills. One should imagine that this means the rookie will be the starter for the remainder of the season and beyond. It’s the right call, no matter how nice a guy Mitch Trubisky is.
That was the biggest position that needed a change going forward. Other spots are still questionable right now as other parts of the lineup have been underperforming. Demotions happen in the NFL as players continuously fight for depth chart positioning well beyond the end of the pre-season.
Arthur Maulet could be out of the lineup when the team is healthy
Cornerback is one of the toughest positions to play in football. Arthur Maulet is a backup slot guy that can do a couple of good things, but those things do not contain covering the opposition’s receivers. He showed this failed trait on Sunday against the Jets as he continuously got picked on when New York needed yardage.
Right now, this cornerback has only gotten starting time because injuries have piled up. He will find it hard to get starting reps once this secondary gets healthy as he fails at the basics of the position. Maulet has shown the ability to blitz the quarterback and play the run well, but that is about all he offers.
Robert Spillane could be benched for a rookie waiting in the wings
Devin Bush has gotten the brunt of the inside linebacker speculation and slander this year. The Steelers have an issue behind Myles Jack and Robert Spillane is one of them. Bush has not played great, but Spillane has been the worst starter, or role player, on this defense thus far. It has been ugly as teams constantly attack him in coverage.
The coaching staff seems to be the issue here as they love to put him into the game on coverage downs. Spillane is only effective in stopping the run and he is running out of time. Mark Robinson was climbing the depth chart in the pre-season, and he could be looked at to take over Spillane’s spot at some point this season.
Gunner Olszewski could be the next starter being replaced in the lineup
Special teams are an important element of football as it determines the field position battle. Both punt and kick returners are vital with their ability to make quick decisions that will benefit, or in this case negatively affect the team. Gunner Olszewski was a great special team contributor to the New England Patriots before coming to Pittsburgh.
He signed a one-year deal to hopefully boost the Steelers return game, but that has fallen off the rails. Olszewski has fumbled a couple of times while returning the ball and has lacked in his ability to get the team better field position. This receiver has also become mismanaged in the offense after having a pre-season that seemed to be promising, which could lead to him being cut and the club turning to Steven Simms to take over.
Tyson Alualu could be further demoted after being replaced as starter
Many thought that Tyson Alualu would become a big factor in lessening the blow of missing Stephon Tuitt. Perhaps those expectations were too high for this Steelers veteran after he suffered a season ending ankle injury in 2021. The early portions of the schedule have not been kind to the veteran defensive lineman as he was recently demoted as the starter at nose tackle.
Things could get uglier for this player at his current output. Alualu has not been the same player and it looks like father time might have just claimed his next victim. Both Chris Wormley and DeMarvin Leal look like they could garner more snaps and take them away from Alualu going forward.
Chase Claypool could see his snaps on the Steelers offense drop
Receivers on this roster are plentiful right now, and the depth could cause some shakeups moving forward. George Pickens will turn out to be a star for this offense, which could lead to Diontae Johnson not being the number one target soon. Chase Claypool is coming off another nearly inexistent performance against the Jets.
His days of being the next big target for the Steelers offense are long gone and things seem like he could be a bust soon. Claypool refuses to use his big body to attack the football in the air and use his natural advantage. If he continues to fail to make catches like he failed to do against New York, which led to an interception, he could be demoted and someone like Calvin Austin could earn snaps in the slot over him.
The Steelers are in a tough spot right now and will have to make some changes to have better outcomes. They made Pickett the starter at quarterback, but they could always make some other announcements further down the line.