4 major changes the Steelers must make before Week 2

Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenny Pickett / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Steelers need to go more vertical on offense

The Steelers offense looked like a well-oiled machine in the preseason, running over everyone and making plays over the middle of the field and deep down the field. Then, they turned up for their first game and reverted to how the unit functioned a year ago. Quick and short passes, inefficient running, and lackluster playcalling highlighted the Week 1 offense.

All of this happened even with the injury to Diontae Johnson. While Johnson can win vertically, he is also a regular threat in the short game. With him out, the team decided to utilize deep threats like George Pickens and Calvin Austin in the short game when both work better in a vertical offense.

The offense as a whole didn’t showcase what it had in the preseason (more on that later), but the sudden reversion back to the offense of old was not welcome. It limited the potential for a comeback as the offense was sluggish and inefficient. This team just couldn’t move the ball because of this limiting offense.

No, the Steelers don’t need to suddenly become an air raid offense, but there needs to be more of a focus on the deep passing game. Pickens has showcased a great ability to win contested passes deep while Austin is a speed freak. Not using either in that role was a serious mistake.