5 under-the-radar Steelers storylines we hope Hard Knocks covers

HBO's Hard Knocks would be wise to follow these five Steelers storylines in 2024.
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

If you haven't heard yet, the hit TV show from HBO, "Hard Knocks," will be covering the Pittsburgh Steelers during its in-season installment, along with the rest of the AFC North. This marks the first time "Hard Knocks" will follow all the teams in a single division.

With the AFC North poised to be among the best, if not the best, divisions in the NFL this year, this series promises to be must-watch TV. For Steelers fans, it's an especially momentous occasion, as it will be the team's first appearance on "Hard Knocks." Following an exceptionally busy offseason and facing one of the toughest schedules in the league, this series is set to be one of the most entertaining when it premieres.

For the Steelers, here are five particularly compelling storylines that HBO should consider covering throughout the course of the show to captivate the audience.

A look inside the QB competition and offensive meetings

With a completely new quarterback room and an almost entirely revamped offensive staff, training camp and the upcoming season are bound to be rife with QB controversy. Fans and the media will be buzzing all season long with opinions on who should be taking snaps under center.

A potential quarterback change during the season could become the biggest storyline, providing an inside look at the perspectives of both Justin Fields and Russell Wilson, as well as the coaching staff’s decision-making process.

Additionally, an inside look into the offensive team meetings will be fascinating, especially with new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, QB coach Tom Arth, and wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni. For a team that has struggled on offense for years, it will be intriguing to see how these meetings unfold and whether the offense can finally turn a corner.

We will get an exclusive glimpse at the improvements being made, the dynamics of every practice, and the intricacies of game planning and installations.

Patrick Queen preparing to face his former team

After spending the first four years of his NFL career with the Ravens, Patrick Queen made a significant move this offseason by signing with the Steelers in free agency. Since joining Pittsburgh, he hasn't shied away from discussing his reasons for the switch and has since compared his time in Pittsburgh in a more positive light than his tenure in Baltimore. Some of his remarks have left Ravens fans feeling uneasy.

With the Steelers playing the Ravens a couple of weeks after the show debuts, it will be intriguing to see how Patrick Queen himself, along with the Steelers and Ravens, approach this matchup. Given the history of intense rivalry and physical play between these teams, fans can expect a game filled with aggressive and hard-hitting action.

Mike Tomlin's presence under the HBO spotlight

It will be fascinating to see how Mike Tomlin adapts to having cameras follow him throughout the season. Tomlin has never been particularly fond of interviews and press conferences, preferring to let his actions on the field speak for themselves.

However, away from the formalities of the press room, he is known to possess a vibrant and personable personality, with his sound bites and quotes often regarded as some of the best in the sports world.

The prospect of a camera crew documenting his every move during what is sure to be a demanding season is likely not something that excites him. One can't help but wonder whether viewers will get to witness the fun-loving and charismatic side of Mike Tomlin that his players and colleagues often speak about, or if the stresses and pressures of the job will bring out a more serious and stern demeanor.

As the season unfolds, it will be intriguing to see how Tomlin navigates this new dynamic and whether the cameras capture moments that reveal different facets of his character beyond what we typically see in brief media interactions.

George Pickens under a microscope

George Pickens has garnered significant scrutiny for his on-field demeanor and off-field antics. As we closely observe his personality, reactions, frustrations, practice habits, and game-time conduct, it's evident that Pickens is often described as a volatile personality, prone to public displays of frustration.

With cameras capturing his every move this season, the spotlight intensifies on whether he will maintain composure under the scrutiny of cameras this season, or if we will witness the familiar diva behaviors often seen on Hard Knocks over the years. This upcoming season marks a pivotal moment for Pickens as he enters a contract year with the Steelers.

The stakes are high as he aims to prove himself worthy of a new contract.

Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ Watt's drive of not having won a playoff game yet as Steelers

Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ Watt, two standout players for the Steelers, have yet to taste playoff success in Pittsburgh. As the upcoming season approaches, there's heightened attention on their determination to break through and achieve that elusive playoff victory.

HBO has a unique opportunity to delve into their journey, capturing their frustrations as leaders and top-tier NFL talents who have yet to reach their postseason goals.

HBO could offer an intimate look at their perspective over the years, detailing the challenges and near misses that have fueled their desire for playoff triumph. By following their story through the season, HBO could build anticipation towards a potential playoff push, showcasing the competitive yet often frustrating reality of their careers as Steelers.

This approach would not only highlight their individual journeys but also provide a compelling narrative of resilience, ambition, and the relentless pursuit of success in one of the NFL's storied franchises.