Steelers run first offense might be better than I thought

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) / Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
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The Steelers have made their intentions clear this offseason. Despite the league being dominated by the passing game, Pittsburgh is focused on a grueling run game and a stifling defense. This seems to be due to Kenny Pickett entering his second season.

While a lot of teams build around a rookie QB in year two with elite weapons, the Steelers have decided to instead build a reserved offense intent on protecting their quarterback and limiting his struggles. Run-heavy offenses aren’t uncommon, but I have been adamant that this isn’t the best way to win.

This isn’t to say that running offenses can’t succeed but for a team that should have its sights set on a Super Bowl run, this style of play has yielded questionable results. I decided to take a deeper dive into this and see just what realistic expectations should be.

It seems like a safe bet that the Steelers should finish as a top-eight rushing unit this season. Frankly, based on how this team is built right now if they don’t finish as a top-eight rushing unit, we might be in trouble. If everything goes as planned, the passing game will be secondary as the offense churns through Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.

What I have done is taken the top-eight rushing offenses for each of the past five years and tried to find some averages from them to help give some realistic expectations for the Steelers this season. I was surprised by the final results, as it certainly went against my bias and expectation for this team. With all of that said, here is the official study I did as to what to expect from the Steelers offense in 2023