The Steelers built to protect their new standard
One of the common talking points for Steelers fans is the high standard this organization has had. From giving coaches time to work kinks out to the long history of success and Super Bowls, the standard has long been revered in the city of Pittsburgh.
That standard has seemingly fallen in recent years, as the defense of the team and the coaches has become “hasn’t had a losing season” despite almost no playoff success in the past ten years. I give credit where it is due, it isn’t easy to win games at the NFL level, but to hang your hat on the fact that we have done just enough to avoid a losing season is silly.
The team has been building itself to protect that standard as well. While it is hard to fault the team completely for holding on to Ben Roethlisberger for as long as they did, their plan after him was pitiful. Instead of taking some risks, the goal was to be uber-conservative in this new era.
The Steelers invested heavily in the running back position, going against the grain of the modern NFL. While Najee Harris has found success, it hasn’t turned into team success to this point. The goal shifted from scoring points to limiting other teams in that regard and doing just enough to squeak out a win.
This isn’t to say a potent running game isn’t a good thing to have. When you are building your roster to rely on the running game with little else to hand your head on though, that becomes a problem. The NFL is in an era of big plays and high scores. Going counter to that can help you win some games, but will likely limit the overall success your team has every season.
In an era of Blitzkrieg and fast-moving offenses, the Steelers were still building trenches to hunker down into.