Steelers who deserves a lump of coal for their 2023 performance

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14) / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers needed more from Patrick Peterson

The Steelers entered the offseason with some question marks at cornerback. Those questions intensified after Cam Sutton signed a big-money deal with the Lions in the offseason. While a top draft pick was used on Joey Porter, the team also inked veteran Patrick Peterson to a deal to be a more direct replacement for Sutton.

People seemed really happy with this move on paper. Peterson was still playing at a relatively high level (and he is a well-known name given his history in the league). With a high investment in Joey Porter in the draft, having a veteran around to help bring him along also seemed like a wise idea.

I was skeptical of the signing from the onset though. Cornerback tends to have a pretty steep regression as players get older due to failing athleticism. Peterson was also coming over from a Vikings team that ran mostly zone defense, which likely helped disguise his declining athleticism.

My biggest concern was his perceived role. The Steelers seemed content to have him as a one-for-one replacement for Sutton. This means both outside work as well as snaps in the slot. Despite his tenure in the league, that was something Peterson hadn’t ever done.

He also came to the team talking. A lot. While being confident in your team and your own ability is great, providing the opposition with some bulletin board material isn’t. This is especially true if you can’t back it up, which has been the case for the Steelers this season, unfortunately.

Peterson hasn’t been the worst cornerback on the team, but his play has been worse than you expected. Add in the talk and his first season here has been a letdown. Frankly, I can’t envision a way that he ends up playing through his second year with the team unless they really want his veteran presence.