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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Potential faults in this study for the Steelers

This study is a very general look trying to establish some trends to apply to this offense for the upcoming season. In no way does it guarantee results, as a myriad of other issues could come up and impact what the final result is from this season.

For starters, this study assumes the Steelers are among the top eight rushing offenses in the league. On paper they should be, the team hasn’t been in the top eight since 2007. While the offense is built around a run game, that doesn’t guarantee top results.

Harris hasn't been a notoriously efficient back. While he should be running behind the best line of his pro career, he still needs to prove that he is more than just a plodder. As well, Matt Canada doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, and rightly so given two lackluster seasons as the Steelers offensive coordinator.

I also say this: the success of the team will still rely on Pickett and how he progresses in year two. While there is a track record of success around a consistent run game, most of those teams still had above-average quarterback play. While Pickett progressed as a rookie, he also struggled in a lot of circumstances and needs to play better in year two.

Finally, while not a flaw in the study, the top-level success is less than ideal. While I was surprised to see so many rushing offenses succeed, the status quo seems to be about one or two games in the playoffs. Top rushing teams have been Super Bowl competitors and champions about 20 percent of the time over the last five years.

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Again, I was surprised by the results of this study. I expected a lot more mediocrity, but if the Steelers can throw together a good year on the ground, odds are they will be a relatively successful team in 2023.