5 Steelers players who can't afford to regress in 2023

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers need to get some worth out of Najee Harris

Unless the Steelers offensive line goes through a litany of injuries, the excuses for Najee Harris will likely need to stop this season. While not a perfect unit, this line has been rebuilt and has a lot of room to exceed expectations depending on how well Broderick Jones produces.

While Harris has a huge fan base given his hard running, he hasn’t been an efficient player so far in his career. While he has some decent-looking stats, he has benefited from a heavy workload and an added game each season. Do not be mistaken, despite the ok stats on paper, Harris has struggled to be an integral part of this offense. While you can blame the line for some of those reasons, Harris needs to take his game to the next level this year.

The pressure is certainly on. The Steelers have decided to focus on the running game this offseason despite the league being a passing-oriented one. While the passing game will still be important, the running game figures to be the core focus for the team. The line is built around this, and additions like Allen Robinson and Darnell Washington keep the running game as an option even when the offense has additional weapons on the field.

Frankly, Harris has no excuse besides an injury to not have a career year. The workload will be there, even if he shares some snaps with Jaylen Warren, and the line should be a far better unit at opening holes for him. My expectations are high for Harris this year.

If regresses though, this offense could be in free fall. Again, the team has taken the offseason to build this offense around the run game. If Harris proves to be inefficient once again, the offense will be thrown off its game, and I doubt they have the firepower to make up for it.