Steelers Study Notes, 9/29/21: Is the Offense Correctable?, Rader Over Ebron, and Boyd’s Words Won’t Be Forgotten

By Jeremy Hritz

The Steelers got embarrassed. Got it. Check.

The time is now to move on to Green Bay and focus all attention on improving and the team giving their best effort to move to a 2-2 record. It’s not going to be easy, especially when battling an elite QB like Aaron Rodgers, but to quote Mike Tomlin, such is life in the NFL. As the team gets ready to begin preparations for the Packers, here is my Wednesday edition of Steelers Study Notes.

  • The game plan heading into this season was to be run-centric and to build a conservative passing game off of that. Three games in, there is no running game, and horrifyingly, an offense that is more abysmal than it was last year. The poor play goes beyond individual performances, and schemes and coaching are all eligible for harsh criticism as well, but the most important question is whether or not what we are seeing on the field is correctable. The most important area for growth has to be the offensive line, as more holes for the running game and more time for pass plays to develop are the cure for what ails this team. Is this possible with the available personnel? Is there a trade that could boost the offensive line? Or is this just a process that has to unfold naturally, with the outcome uncertain, yet possibly, there is no improvement possible? I find this hard to believe, and while the improvement may not result in a massive boost to the offense, even a minor jump could help this team be competitive.
  • I don’t remember seeing Steelers Nation so fast to condemn a season this early. Just from a law of averages perspective, don’t expect the Steelers to be this bad every game. 
  • I’ll reiterate: it’s time to move on from Eric Ebron and to showcase Pat Freiermuth. Ebron’s snaps lead to nothing but frustration and stalled drives. Bring back Kevin Rader and roll with Pittsburgh Pat and Zach Gentry. Avoid the morale killing letdowns from Ebron’s consistent dropsies. 
  • Is the problem with the new Matt Canada offense is that it is too complex? I know I’m searching here, but Ben did reference it took a lot of prep time for him to learn. If it was that challenging for him as an 18-year veteran, how difficult is it for those rookies on the offensive line? Maybe simplifying things across the board and reinstating the no-huddle are two steps this team can take right away to improve. 
  • Don’t think that the Steelers will forget about Tyler Boyd’s comments anytime soon. The Steelers do play the Bengals one more time this season, which Boyd may have forgotten. I’m just sayin’…
  • I understand that Roethlisberger is not playing well, but man, he getting crushed in the media from all angles. I’m not sure there is anyone out there who believes he can still play at a high-level. I know Ben has always embraced the underdog role, but now he is Uber-underdog. His response on Sunday will be telling. 
  • Tomlin didn’t share too much in his press conference noteworthy, other than acknowledging the poor play of his team but also the ripe opportunity to respond to the adversity in front of them. Some may interpret his even-keel approach to be tone-deaf, but what benefit or confidence would his players take from a sky-is-falling mindset?
  • Tomlin did indicate that TJ Watt, Alex Highsmith, Diontae Johnson, Kendrick Green, and Juju Smith-Schuster could return for this Sunday’s contest which is tremendous news. This team has faced a slew of injuries, and getting these important pieces back on the field would be super-helpful to the team. 

That is all Studians! Make it a great Wednesday!


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