In the NFL, it's about how you're playing at the end of the season that matters. So my question is are the Steelers on the right trajectory?
Ben's not taking sacks. We're protecting the line with play calling. JD is running violently and the Oline is getting more violent as a result. We're converting 3rd downs. There's a lot moving in the right direction. Red Zone scoring is what we need to work on for the second half. DD returning could be a big boost to this offense if he comes back at the end of the season.
This unit is the big question mark. 2 young guys are on the upswing - Keenan and Cortez. Some of the younger guys are getting reps - Hood, McClendon, Heyward, Worilds. And they seem to be playing sound and safe and are now ranked #2 as a unit. Crappy teams come into the playoffs and create turnovers that lead to points. The question is can we create turnovers? That's the key in the playoffs. The key might be the young DLine. These guys need to step up down the stretch.
Special Teams: ?
Sushi's kicking the best he ever has. Our Punter's one of the worst - although, he's punted fewer times than any other starting punter in the league and half of his punts are inside the 20. Our coverage on KOs is bottom of the barrel. And our Punt coverage is middle of the pack, which is bad given our bottom of the barrel punting which should help our coverage with shorter kicks. Our return game is hamstrung with yellow flags. But we've got potential. Our KO returns are good. Our punt returns are middle of the pack.
So the net of it, we've got some work to do. We've seen similarities with the 70s Dynasty where Bradshaw had to carry this team to its 3rd and 4th SuperBowls. When I look at this team, it's all on Ben.
If Troy comes back and plays as well as he's capable that would be a big boost. Those 2 are our hopes for this season. Can 2 guys carry a team to a SuperBowl? Can 1?