I've got to keep reminding myself that we are two games into the 2023 season. Obviously, there's still more than enough time to turn things around, and the Pittsburgh Steelers could very well do so before their Week 6 bye. At the same time, I've seen enough from a few Steelers veterans so far, and I believe it's time for Mike Tomlin to make a change.
I've watched each of the first two Steelers games against the 49ers and Browns multiple times so far, and it's very easy to see which players aren't performing up to snuff. While most of the team has struggled early on, it is CB Levi Wallace and OT Dan Moore Jr. who are in a tier of their own below the rest of the players on the team.
Through two games, Wallace has surrendered a passer rating of 99.8 and had some big missed opportunities (dropping an interception and taking a horrible angle on a tackle that ultimately led to a 69-yard run last week). So far, he has graded out as the 96th-best cornerback among 98 qualifying players, per Pro Football Focus.
On the offensive side of the football, Dan Moore has been just as bad. While he has had two incredibly daunting matchups against Nick Bosa and Myles Garrett to begin the season, Moore has been bulldozed and has left Kenny Pickett scrambling for his life. Moore has a 23.0 overall grade through two weeks -- good for dead last among 71 qualifying offensive tackles.
It's time for Steelers to bench veterans and promote rookies
Ironically, there are possible solutions that Mike Tomlin refuses to turn to for help. Back in April, the Steelers moved up to the 14th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft in order to select George OT Broderick Jones. With the 32nd overall pick acquired from the Bears in the Chase Claypool trade, Pittsburgh nabbed Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. (who wasn't expected to be available.
Surprisingly, for as poorly as Moore and Wallace have played to open the season, Tomlin is sticking to his guns. Through the first two weeks of action, Moore and Wallace have combined for 262 snaps on their respective side of the football as opposed to just 25 snaps for Jones and Porter.
We know that Jones and Porter were drafted to help be the future of this team. Sure, in a perfect world, Tomlin wouldn't have to turn to his rookies this early in the season. But the veterans he is deploying each week are proving to be among the worst starters at their position in the NFL.
This is no longer your grandfather's football league. Teams are not given the privilege to redshirt their rookies as they learn and develop. This is a billion-dollar business, and Steelers fans need to start seeing results now.
I don't think Levi Wallace and Broderick Jones are quite as bad as their recent play might suggest. Either way, it's time to begin a new chapter in Pittsburgh by turning to our two highest draft picks. We all know the Steelers could use a spark.