Do the Pittsburgh Steelers need an elite quarterback for 2022?

Joe Burrow goes to superbowl in its second season. Patrick Mahomes just lost to Joe Burrow in his 4th straight AFC Championship Game appearance to start his career. But those were just the two who made the furthest in the playoffs this year, the AFC also has Josh Allen who lost to the Chiefs in a shootout after tearing down the New England Patriots and their rookie QB Mac Jones. And then there’s Justin Herbert, who only missed the playoffs because of a misused timeout and an unlikely Steelers run to put Ben Roethlisberger in the playoffs in his final season.

Imagine if the Steelers hadn’t made that run and Justin Herbert Chargers made the playoffs as the No. 7 seed. You would have had Herbert vs. Mahomes, Allen vs. Jones, and Burrow vs. Derek Carr in AFC Wild Card games. It also emerges that the 30+ quarterbacks who made the playoffs, Carr, Roethlisberger and Ryan Tannehill of Tennessee combined for 0 wins in the AFC playoffswhile the oldest QB to win an AFC playoff game was 26.

The future of the AFC appears to be firmly in the hands of young QBs, and there’s no way the Steelers can compete without adding their own elite quarterback.

This argument is frequently used alongside pressure for the Steelers to sign or trade for a top veteran because Mason Rudolph can’t be in the same level as the names above, and I agree, Rudolph n It’s not on the same level, or even stage, as Burrow, Mahomes, Allen, Herbert or even Jones. You can add Lamar Jackson into the mix of QBs who are way above Rudolph on any tier list.

But on the other hand, this season can easily be seen as a warning against putting too much stock in a veteran QB to lead a team into the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers was the most likely quarterback to lead a team into the deep playoffs for years, but he hasn’t been that guy lately. He’s still great, but he’s going to need a good team around him. A bit like the LA Rams. They have great defense, top-notch weapons on offense and added Matthew Stafford to the squad to return to the Super Bowl. Mac Jones was in a similar place. The Patriots had a bad year, added talent alongside Mac Jones, and Jones didn’t need to be Joe Burrow to make the playoffs. Patrick Mahomes joined a team that already had a juggernaut offense, and although he made it to the AFC Championship Game four straight years, it ended in just one Super Bowl victory. Having two of the NFL’s best weapons and one of the elite-level QBs isn’t even a guarantee of winning it all.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Steelers have faced every AFC playoff quarterback in the regular season, as well as several top NFC quarterbacks. They faced Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, as well as Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr who made the AFC playoffs. And when you count the playoff game, they faced Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes twice apiece.

The Steelers beat Josh Allen Buffalo Ticketsby Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawksalthough Geno Smith was quarterback, Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens and Tannehill Tennessee Titans. They lost to Herbert’s Los Angeles Chargers by 4 as the defense lacked TJ Watt, Joe Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick. When Taco Charlton, James Pierre and Tre Norwood start in place of three of your best defenders, wins aren’t exactly likely.

Against the rest of the AFC playoff field, the Steelers went 2-4 in the regular season. Playing 6 games against playoff teams is not an easy schedule, and 3 of their 4 losses have been to the Chiefs and Bengals, the two teams that have played in the AFC Championship Game. Those 3 plus the playoff game were 4 of 5 games the Steelers lost by 10+ points, the other game they lost by 10+ was against Aaron Rodgers. Packers.

I also think it’s important to revisit TJ Watt’s season and the ridiculous split of the Steelers record when he was healthy and when he wasn’t in 2021. When Watt played 60% of the snaps, otherwise said when he was healthy enough to play the entire game, the Steelers were 9-2 in the regular season. Losses to Green Bay and Cincinnati came as he returned from injury and not 100%. When Watt failed to play 60% of the snaps, the Steelers were 0-5-1, with their other loss to the Bengals and their regular season loss to the Chiefs in that category.

When TJ Watt was healthy against the Chiefs in the Wild Card game, the Steelers defense held the Chiefs to 5 straight scoreless drives to start the game and scored their own touchdown. In other words, they directly beat one of the best offenses in the NFL without the help of the offense.

If the Steelers could have gotten offensive production, some decent drives, maybe a TD and a FG, and got the defense in the half with just 6 drives in the first half, the Steelers could have considered a lead of 17-7. in the second half. If they could have resisted the Chiefs’ third quarter push, they would have started the 4th quarter probably trailing the Chiefs by just a few points, heading into the quarter where the team was at its best.

That’s a lot of speculation, but it shows the hope a lot of Steeler fans have and why a lot of people are pushing the Steelers to seek a top quarterback right now. It’s easy to hope the defensive line comes back and plays sane, the offensive line is improving with rookies entering their second year and by then a good QB might be enough to get the Steelers to that level of game. Making it a legitimate contender for the next few years.

If you look at the Steelers and say the line is 2 down from pretty good, not super great, but good enough, and the defense only needs one or two more things to be great, then that’s makes sense. I think this thought process is common among people who watched the Steelers offense and saw Ben Roethlisberger’s deteriorating physical ability as the biggest problem. Ben Roethlisberger was a great leader in his last season, and his intelligence and experience made him a great game manager, but the team needed him to be more, they needed someone to do big plays from quarterback, and while he could throw off the shackles of time periodically and bring back some of Ben Roethlisberger’s old magic, it wasn’t very often, and it wasn’t some something the team could count on.

If you look at the paragraph above and largely agree with it, then going all-in for a top quarterback makes sense. Spend some of that free agent money and some of the draft capital to fix the line, add a smart guy or two to defense, then dedicate the rest of the team’s resources to adding a quarterback. – prominent rear.

On the other hand, excusing two losses to the Chiefs and two losses to the Bengals by an average of 23 points by saying that TJ Watt was less than perfectly healthy for three of those games is not the most argument. convincing that the Steelers are close to competing at this level. It’s not like the Steelers went 1-3 against the AFC’s top two teams, or were close in most games. They were beaten soundly in each of those games and weren’t close to competing in the second half of any of them.

If you look at the Steelers offense and think there are serious issues with the offensive line that require a major investment to fix, and you’re not comfortable hoping that the defense will just be healthier this coming season, so you’re probably not interested in investing quarterback resources.

I lean towards the latter case. As sad as it makes me to think of Cameron Heyward retiring without making it to the Super Bowl, I don’t see the Steelers being one or two pieces away from a fight. I want to set up the Steelers’ next quarterback for success, and that means substantial investments in the offensive and defensive lines before moving on to their next quarterback of the future.

Which side of the fence do you land on?

Survey

What should the Steelers do about the quarterback job?

  • 11%
    Go right away, they’re not far away.

    (60 votes)

  • 77%
    Invest in the team, go for the cheap quarterback for 2022.

    (404 votes)

  • 8%
    I don’t care about the long term, I just don’t want Rudolph/Haskins in 2022.

    (46 votes)

  • 2%
    I don’t care, I’m a Bengals fan now.

    (14 votes)


524 votes in total

Vote now

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